Snacking on Late Night BBQ

Find out where to go in Dongcheng for fourth meal or that late night snack with these two excellent barbecue locations. Choose between a formal setting or the more traditional sense.

Making it on time for dinner in China is often a challenge for foreigners. While the Chinese are disciplined to sticking to healthy eating schedules, western eating habits and timetables in general tend to be a bit more flexible. Even though the standard dinner time in China is usually kept within a short radius of 6 pm, there is an alternative dinner agenda that appeals to the late workers, party mongers or just the unsatisfiable eaters. Ranging in presentations from small street vendors to more established locales, Chinese barbecue has established itself as the go-to option for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

Distancing itself from the usual rice and noodle-based plates, barbecue is an authentic part of Chinese cuisine that you don’t often see at restaurant chains outside the country. Ample on spiciness levels and plentiful on the meat, barbecue poses an interesting alternative for dinner and late-night snacks.

First stop on the agenda was 900° in 33 Town, open from 5 pm to 2 am. Located in the first outdoor square you encounter when approaching from Dongcheng Road, 900° will be found on your left-hand side. The place has a large outdoor sitting area for when the summer allows it and an even greater indoor air-conditioned zone for those not used to the high humidity in Dongguan. As the restaurant is located in 33 Town, the venue offers well maintained restrooms, not a very common feature when it comes to street barbecue.

The chicken wings were served with extra crunchy skin and finger-licking spicy goodness all in one

That said, let’s hop into the main reason we are here, the food. Our order consisted of lamb skewers, chicken wings and grilled eggplant. The lamb skewers were served in traditional style, consisting of two pieces of meat on each end, enclosing a single piece of grilled fat in the middle. The fat is added to provide extra juiciness to the dish and was cooked and spiced just right. The chicken wings were served with extra crunchy skin and finger-licking spicy goodness all in one—a MUST for the wing fanatic. This dish comes in skewers of two, each coated with traditional Chinese spice and topped with sesame seeds. Finally, the veggies. As usual, the eggplant is grilled, sliced open and coated with traditional seasoning, green onion and quite a bit of chopped garlic. If you’re not one for garlic, we recommend asking the waiter to tell the chef to go easy on it, otherwise, be prepared to taste a very fresh eggplant cooked right on point.

Happy (Hao Zhi Wei)
Next stop was the popular Dongcheng Walking Street (Yonghuating), open from 5 pm to 3 am. Although not located on the actual Walking Street, Happy can be found by making your way to the back of Walking Street, taking a left on Dongping Street and walking all the way to the last corner on Dongcheng West Road.

To order have your phone ready and scan the QR code at the table. From there, choose the numerous barbecue options Happy has to offer.

Our order consisted of the same dishes. Happy offers only an indoor sitting area with air conditioning. The service was slightly subpar to our first stop but still a great option for a late night. Lamb skewers were also served with the traditional composition of four meat bits and one fat piece. This time the lamb was cooked well and juicy, but was lacking a bit of freshness. Regardless, a good after drinking option. The chicken wings were similar to the lamb, tasty and juicy, but the skin was not as crunchy or as spiced as we hoped for.

However, it was a completely different story with the eggplant: extra meaty, garlic quantity on point and spiced to perfection. The Happy eggplant takes the veggie award.

Regardless of where you live in Dongguan, your drinking habits, eating preferences or whether you’re an early sleeper or not, it’s safe to say traditional Chinese barbecue has a selection of dishes to please all.