Ming’s Bar B Q holds a special place in the hearts and stomachs of many Cantonese barbecue-loving Atlantans. The cooking is consistent and the menu is rife with virtually every Cantonese dish imaginable. The Buford Highway location has little ambiance, however, which makes it a hard sell for less adventurous diners.
This past spring, a new location opened in the emerging Asian culinary paradise of Duluth. The new Ming’s Bar B Q (2131 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, 770-623-9996) is much larger and the decor is more modern than the original’s. The Duluth Ming’s features a glass-walled room dedicated to barbecue, where rows of Peking duck, Char Siu (honey barbecued pork), soy sauce chicken, and other items hang side by side. The menu has all the greatest hits, plus a new section inspired by the contemporary teahouses of Hong Kong. Look for items such as Chinese-style french toast covered in syrup and butter, baked fish on cream corn, congee, a bevy of tea-based drinks (including Hong Kong-style milk tea), hot grapefruit juice with honey, “French-style” coffee, and Ovaltine for the kiddies.
Since the restaurant specializes in barbecue, it's the focal point of many dishes. Glistening mounds of young chow fried rice reveal chunks of honey-barbecued pork, juicy baby shrimp, peas, carrots, fluffy scrambled egg and chewy Chinese sausage. Or forgo the rice and get one of the barbecue combination platters. Don’t miss the soy sauce chicken, which comes with a tiny dish of sauce that oddly resembles chimichurri except it's made with ginger and green onion.
The dry-fried beef chow fun is an exact replica of the original Ming’s version, which aficianados widely consider the best in town. The wide and flat rice noodles intermingle with incredibly tender pieces of beef, bean sprouts and green onion seasoned with just a touch of soy. The al dente noodles are dry-fried, meaning they are stir-fried without any gloppy sauce, rendering them slightly crisp around the edges and smacking of the “kiss of the wok."
Heaping platters of tiny plump clams are covered in earthy fermented black bean sauce, which plays brilliantly against the brininess of the bivalves. And like most Chinese restaurants, it’s in your best interest to inquire about the specials or any additional vegetables procured that day. If they have the snow pea leaves, get them. They’ll cook them any way you like, but a simple dance in the wok with some fresh garlic is the best way to enjoy the crunch and grassiness of this exceptional green.
If you happen to be around the restaurant on the later side of the evening, they offer a special menu after 9 p.m. every day (they are open seven days a week), serving an ever-changing assortment of items such as meatball hotpots and salt and pepper duck tongue.