It is eight o’clock at night, we are walking along Jiangxi Lu in Qingdao and a huge BBQ smell fills our nose. Then we see it, little red tents built up on the side of the road one after another, a Chinese man or woman standing in front of it fixing BBQ on a long and narrow charcoal grill. Little tables are set up under the tents with even tinier stools for the guests who want to eat dinner at the BBQ.
They have tons of different skewers of meat, fish or veggies which are seasoned heavily with cumin and other Chinese spices. Yummy!
Chinese Street Barbecue, called shao kao (烧烤), is especially popular at night and you can find it on every corner all over China. Big crowds come together, ordering many different skewers and beer drawn out of a big barrel. You can’t always be sure how long the meat has been sitting out, so if the weather is really hot it is always good to be careful; you don’t want to have to make a trip to the hospital! But for the most part it is safe, and it is quite a treat so go for it. It is great for dinner and a midnight snack after partying. Most important of all: it’s a unique part of Chinese culture!