BBQ Restaurants in Asia

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Contents

Introduction

BBQ in Asia! No, not Korean BBQ. Not grilling hamburgers or hot dogs at the beach. This is American BBQ, with meats cooked low and slow over smoky woods.

Our family moved to Singapore in 2013, and the pickings were slim when it came to proper BBQ here. Some restaurants served what they called smoked pulled pork sandwiches, but what turned out to be pork cooked in a crock pot with some liquid smoke added and a bunch of sauce mixed in. Before we moved here, we had a blog where we reviewed the BBQ restaurants we came across on our travels around the southeast US. At first, the pickings seemed to be slim. But in the last few years, more BBQ restaurants have opened in Asia - and the quality has steadily improved.

American-style BBQ in Asia

It's important to understand that your expectations have to be set appropriately here. In Texas and North Carolina, there's easy access to high quality beef and pork. In Asia, much of the quality pork and beef are flown in from other countries, often frozen. And when you get the meat, it's a different quality/cut than what you'd get in the US - it most often comes from Australia. I smoke pork collar in Singapore because it's very hard to find pork shoulder, and it's always frozen solid when I get it. Even when it's not frozen like the Australian packer cut brisket I smoked last weekend, it was still previously frozen before the butcher thawed it.

Then, you have to consider that you don't run across post oak, hickory, mesquite, or apple trees very often in large parts of the region. Those classic smoking woods are usually imported. And because that costs money, restaurants using those woods will sometimes use gas/wood combinations or wood pellet smokers. I use wood pellets at home - either Bradley electric pellets or just straight wood pellets in a tube or maze tray. You do see some local adaptations, in Malaysia some pitmasters use mangrove wood. And in some areas, it's easier to find traditional woods - in China, Korea, and Japan pitmasters use locally grown oak and cherry wood.

In short, you have to understand that you can't compare American-style BBQ to what you find in Asia - the regional limitations make it very difficult to produce the same product here. But if you can put your BBQ snob tendencies aside, you can find places to satisfy your smoked meat cravings here.

In the future, a fusion of local tastes will mix with the American BBQ style and we will see Asian BBQ styles. In Malaysia, demand for pork BBQ is low due to religious custom, but in its place you'll often find pulled smoked lamb sandwiches instead. And while you won't find oak and hickory growing in Southeast Asian climates, there are lots of local trees that may show promise for smoking meats over - mango, pomelo, rambutan, papaya, or even durian may become to Asian/American BBQ what oak and hickory are in the US.

What is this list?

It's a list of BBQ restaurants I'm aware of in Asia. I try to add links to their websites, social media (usually Facebook), what meats they smoke, what kind of smoker they use (if known), and any other bits of information that could be useful. I also add a short review if I've eaten there.

I can't vouch for all of the restaurants here, but I stand by my reviews as accurate for the time I visited. It's important to understand that BBQ isn't a cook-to-order product - it takes hours to properly smoke meat, and restaurants have to anticipate demand. Too little meat and they have to turn customers away when they run out. Too much meat and they may be serving older meat that has dried out/been reheated that won't be nearly as good as the fresh stuff. BBQ restaurants have good days and bad days, and it's possible to have a phenomenal meal one week and a below average one the next, just based on the day/time of day you visit and the quality of meat they received.

What is good BBQ?

People have their own opinions on this, these are mine, and are the core principles I base my reviews on just so you know where I'm coming from when I review a restaurant.

  • Moist (but not too moist) meat.
  • Tender texture, brisket sliced against the grain.
  • Nice bark on the outside. Pulled/chopped meats should have outside meat mixed in.
  • Good solid smoke flavor, but not too much that it has any bitterness.
  • Sauce on the side - the meat must be good enough to eat alone.
  • Brisket: Untrimmed, keep the fat on.
  • Pork: Remove any large fat clods that don't fully render.

What else 'ya got?

I have a listing of BBQ Supplies in Asia if you're looking for a smoker, wood, or related goods.

The List

Bangladesh

Dhaka

The Smokes

Bhutan

I have yet to find or hear of any BBQ restaurants here.

Brunei

I have yet to find or hear of any BBQ restaurants here.

Cambodia

Kampot

Texas BBQ Cafe (CLOSED)

  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket sliced or chopped), Pork (pulled, ribs)
  • Notes: Closed in 2017.

Siem Reap

Old Market Smokehouse (CLOSED)

  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket), Pork (pulled shoulder, St Louis ribs), Chicken, Duck
  • Smoker: Custom built gravity feed smoker.
  • Closed in 2015.

China

Beijing

Home Plate BBQ (2 locations)

  • Web: http://homeplatebbq.com/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket, sausage, pastrami), Pork (pulled shoulder, sausage, rib tips, spare ribs, baby back ribs), Chicken, Duck, Boudin

Chengdu

Home Plate BBQ

  • Web: http://homeplatebbq.com/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket, sausage, pastrami), Pork (pulled shoulder, sausage, rib tips, spare ribs, baby back ribs), Chicken, Duck, Boudin

Nanjing

Bubba's Texas Style Barbeque * Saloon

Shanghai

Blind Pig Bourbon & Smokehouse

Bourbon Cookhouse (2 locations)

Bubba's Texas Style Barbeque & Saloon (2 locations)

Bulldog Bar-B-Q

Stubb's BBQ (CLOSED)

  • Web: http://www.stubbschina.com/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket), Pork (ribs), Chicken
  • Notes: Closed. Supposedly an offshoot of the original Stubb's BBQ in Austin TX, though you never know...

India

Indonesia

Bali

Holy Smokes BBQ

Smokehouse Bali (CLOSED)

Jakarta

Frank's Bar & Smokehouse

Holy Smokes BBQ (2 locations)

Up In Smoke

  • Web: http://www.upinsmokeindo.com/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket), Pork (pulled, baby back ribs), Chicken, Sausage (wild boar, beef/jalapeno/cheese)

Tangerang

Holy Smokes BBQ

Yogyakarta

Holy Smokes BBQ

Japan

Tokyo

Hatos Bar

  • Web: http://hatosbar.org/
  • Meats: Pork (pulled, baby back ribs, belly)
  • Smoker: Custom built local.
  • Woods: Hickory

Smokehouse

Yokohama

Bashamichi Taproom

  • Social: https://www.facebook.com/Bairdbeerbashamichi/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket), Pork (sliced shoulder, ribs, belly), Chicken, Lamb (chops)
  • Woods: Cherry
  • Notes: This is a Baird Brewery taphouse, not a dedicated BBQ restaurant. Baird beers are great!

Korea (South)

Seoul

Aboutjins Barbecue Kitchen

Austin's Smokehouse (2 locations)

Linux' Bama Style Barbecue (may have two locations)

Manimal Smokehouse

Redsmoke Barbecue

Rusty's Smokehouse (CLOSED)

Ryan's Smokehouse

  • Meats: Pork (pulled, belly, ribs), Chicken, Sausage

Suwon

Lion's Share BBQ

Wonju

Sweet Oak Kitchen & Smokehouse

Laos

Vientiane

Roadhouse BBQ & Grill

Malaysia

Due to the strong Islamic cultural influences here, you won't find much smoked pork (though I'm aware of at least one exception). In exchange, Malaysian BBQ restaurants often swap in pulled lamb. You'll sometimes find mangrove and other woods used here. Almost all of the BBQ restaurants I'm aware of are in West Malaysia, information on potential places in the East are a little sketchy.

Johor Bahru

BBQ Lamb JB - Smokehouse and Grill

Kuala Lumpur

Burnin' Pit

Mom's BBQ

Miri

Big D Burger (CLOSED)

Petaling Jaya

Beard Brothers' BBQ

Shah Alam

Karnivor

Meat Cartel

Mongolia

I haven't found any American-style BBQ here yet.

Myanmar

I haven't found any here yet.

Nepal

I haven't found any here yet.

Pacific Islands

Guam

The Smoking Pig

Pakistan

Karachi

The Pit

Peshawar

No specific places to mention, but the local smoked lamb is hugely popular throughout Pakistan, so you should be able to find something easily.

Papua New Guinea

I haven't found any here yet.

Philippines

Manila - Makati

Holy Smokes BBQ

Mighty Quinn's

The Smoking Joint

Russia (Eastern)

Yes, parts of Russia are in Asia as well.

Vladivostok

Delo v Myase

  • Web: http://meatmatters.ru/?
  • Meat: Beef (smoked brisket), Pork (pulled), Sausage, Lamb, Duck
  • Wood: Birch
  • Notes: Also known in English as "It's All About The Meat"

Singapore

In Singapore, the limitations mentioned in the introduction are amplified - there are no large supplies of smokable trees, no cattle or pig farming- so everything is imported at sometimes great cost. This can be reflected in menu prices as well as in the shortcuts some restaurants must take to remain a going concern (you won't stay in business long if you have to pay to import cord after cord of wood for a 100% wood smoker).

General opinion: The top three BBQ restaurants (in no particular order) are Decker BBQ (Robertson Quay), Red Eye Smokehouse (Kallang), and Meat Smith (CBD). Decker is my favorite at the moment.

CBD

Meat Smith

  • Web: https://meatsmith.com.sg/
  • Smoker: Southern Pride
  • Review: Very good smoked meats, but probably the priciest option in Singapore. I need to revisit to make a proper review.

Changi

Little Island Brewing Company

  • Web: https://libc.co/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket)
  • Note: Not really a BBQ restaurant but I'm including it here because they take the time to smoke brisket, no small feat in SG. I haven't tried it yet so I can't comment on the quality of the brisket.

Joo Chiat

Smokey's BBQ

  • Web: https://smokeysbbq.com.sg/
  • Review: At one point this was the only option for BBQ in Singapore, there are now better options. Meats are served covered in sauce by default, and sometimes you get sauce on the brisket even if you ask for it on the side. Brisket is very wet, almost too wet, at times like it was stewed, and the texture can be off. Pulled pork has a good flavor but is dry. Ribs are OK, but also dry under the sauce.

Kallang

Red Eye Smokehouse

  • Web: https://www.facebook.com/redeyesmoke/
  • Review: A great BBQ spot in the east (Kallang/Lavender area). I need to revisit to make a proper review, but I spent far too much here on beef ribs and brisket the last time I was here, it's very good.

Orchard

The American Club

  • Web: https://www.amclub.org.sg/
  • Meats: Beef (smoked brisket), pulled pork, chicken, turkey
  • Smoker: Southern Pride
  • Note: This is a private membership club, not open to the public. BBQ smoker is located at the Grillhouse next to the pool. Most BBQ is served there, but as they run a central kitchen, other restaurants on the property (like the Union Bar) also serve some BBQ, though not the full selection of meats.
  • Review: Good but not exceptional BBQ. Everything you get will be reheated as they don't do a large enough volume to continuously smoke. The brisket is served with sauce on the side by default and is consistently moist and flavorful, though the portions can be small (S$26 for three slices and sides of small cornbread muffin and cole slaw). Pulled pork is pre-mixed with sauce, so YMMV.

Robertson Quay

Decker BBQ

  • Web: https://www.deckerbarbecue.com/
  • Smoker: A.N. Bewley
  • Review: Focused on Central Texas-style BBQ, good brisket and burnt ends, beef ribs served on weekends. Pulled pork is OK. Desserts are excellent! My favorite BBQ restaurant in Singapore at the moment.

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Taipei City

Baba Kevin's American Barbeque

Ed's Diner BBQ

Mighty Quinn's

Tony's Bar B Que Smokehouse

Thailand

Bangkok

Billy's Smokehouse

Devilish Chews and Brews

  • Web: https://www.iamdevilish.com/
  • Meats: Chicken (smoked wings), Pork (spare ribs, pulled, belly, sausage), Lamb (shank), Beef (smoked brisket)
  • Notes: BBQ is not the primary thing here, YMMV.

Feed The Beast

Meat & Bones

Roadhouse BBQ

Smokin' Pug

Timor-Leste

Vietnam

Da Nang

Smoky Piotr Meats

Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)