Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chinese Barbecue Is Always a Royal Treasure

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chinese Barbecue Is Always a Royal Treasure

Article excerpt

MY feelings toward Asian cuisine are no secret. I think it's wonderful, regardless of style, type or country of origin. However, over the last few years, I have become slightly bored with the sameness of Chinese menus in the St. Louis area.

That's what makes the Royal Chinese Barbecue so special. From start to finish, it is unlike any other local Chinese restaurant I know, and I think the meals are outstanding.

From the outside, it looks as if it might be in San Francisco's Chinatown, where roasted and barbecued pigs, ducks, geese, quail and other edibles hang in practically all restaurant windows. On the inside, it's even more different. The menu does not offer egg rolls, fried rice, crab Rangoon and the like. As a matter of fact, there are no appetizers as such, though sharing a tureen of soup can provide a solution for those who - like me - hate to approach an entree on an empty stomach.

The Royal has a large menu, including a board that lists specials of all types. The English translations are skimpy, and getting more information can sometimes be difficult,though waitresses' English seems to be improving. I still don't know what "X-O" sauce is, but I have a feeling it may be a chef's secret, and it's so good I don't care.

Barbecued, or roasted, meat and fowl is a strong suit, but there are many other dishes, from simple to complex, all interesting and tasty. Portions are large, and dinner is in the range of $15-$18 per person.

The food is not highly spiced but is excellently flavored from the stock, meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and garlic. It seems more in the style of Shanghai or Hong Kong. Those who want it hotter will find flaming chili sauce on each table. Chopsticks are served, but forks are available for the asking.

Many dishes come with noodles, from either wheat or rice flour, and crisp noodles are often pan-braised and used as a base for fish or meat, or in Hong Kong-style chop suey.

The menu offers seven different soups, all with one or another type of noodles, plus shrimp dumplings, duck, pork, fresh shrimp and other delicacies. The shrimp dumplings were light and glorious, and the noodles quite good, all in a rich stock. …

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