Want the best Chinese barbecue shop in Sydney? No 1 BBQ House in Campsie is the business, which is why you’ll find a queue of customers spilling out onto the footpath no matter what time of day. And while the shop does a roaring trade in takeaway – the Lunar New Year queues are legendary – eating in is much more fun.
Just five tables dot the interior, mostly filled with single diners smashing down a plate of glistening roast duck or caramelised barbecue pork with rice. You’ll pay more to dine in than takeaway but it still makes for a bargain meal, with no washing up.
The menu is one A5 laminated sheet, but the best stuff is on the back – that’s the side starting with combination BBQ – a mixed meat platter of all the good stuff hanging in the front window. Pick what you want and then the man with the cleaver will chop it up with alarming speed and precision.
There are two dishes with no English translation. Intrigued? Ordering one will net you a platter of offal. The other scores you a soy sauce duck head. Both are a part of a Southern Chinese traditional dish known in Cantonese as lou mei, usually meat, offal or offcuts braised in an aromatic and slightly sweet soy-based master stock.
Go to town with duck tongues, pork liver or fatty pork intestines. Braised pigs ears are a wonder that deserve broader appreciation, contrasting a gelatinous outer layer against the gentle crunch of soft cartilage. And if you love tendon, you’ll be in heaven here. It's a neverending pile of soft and sticky luxury.
Get the soy sauce cuttlefish too. The orange tint comes from an added food dye but it's the texture that wins on all fronts, somehow both tender and crunchy at the same time. It's a phenomenon the Cantonese call “song”.
Free tea and complimentary house soup make this a perfect pit stop for a cheap and hearty feed. That's why it's number one.