We had just finished our Alcatraz tour and were totally ready for some rich filling food. We built up even more of an appetite walking our way over to Chinatown where Jill found us a place that turned out to be a highlight of our trip.
Kam Po Chinese Barbecue is a small corner restaurant on the less touristy side of Chinatown. They feature roast meat of all sorts that hangs glistening with golden brown goodness in their open kitchen. From the moment you walk in you’re met face to face with chicken, duck, and pork of all kinds.
Behind the counter is an ancient man quickly chopping away in a methodical manner as though he’d been doing it for decades – which I am sure is the case. Every motion is deliberate and exact dissecting each carcass the same way time and time again.
We watched as he chopped up some pork belly and place it in a tray next to him for further fabrication. He didn’t look up for a moment, just on to another piece of pork.
We were seated and promptly given menus that were thankfully in both English and Chinese. We made our choices based on what we saw upon entering – roast pork, roast duck, spare ribs and beef with fried noodles.
Roast pork was fantastic. Crispy outside and moist inside. It was cut just right and was served simply with no sauce – none needed. It was tender and extremely pronounced in flavor. It rivaled other crispy Chinese style pork we’ve sampled in Chi-town.
Before being prepared for the guest, it begins as a whole belly of the pig hanging from a hook atop their meat counter for all to see. It was remarkable. To think to fry the belly whole like this – genius.
The roast duck was well cooked, again, chopped into just the right size pieces and the duck meat itself was flavorful and juicy. The legs were larger than other roast duck we’ve enjoyed. A nice treat for only $5.10 – as were pretty much all the roast meat dishes.
Spare ribs were an item we don’t usually order. They often contain a lot of gristle and cartilage and are a pain to eat with little meat as a reward. At Kam Po their spare ribs are thick and tender with plenty of meat and little to work through. An excellent choice, and it seemed this was the place to sample this porky item.
Jill loves her fried noodles with marinated slices of beef. Their version was spot on and only a couple bucks more than the pork dishes at a mere seven dollars. Portion size was ridiculous and the quality of beef was surprisingly good even for an Americanized Chinese restaurant. Made her a happy girl.
All in all we spent just over twenty bucks and left feeling like kings. You do yourself an injustice if you visit an unfamiliar city and don’t venture off the beaten path for a bite to eat.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!