In 2008 husband and wife Tony On and Van Do opened a small mom-and-pop restaurant in the Hong Kong Supermarket shopping center in Norcross.
On was born in Vietnam but is of Cantonese heritage. Do, whom On met five years ago while living in Atlantic City, is from Saigon, Vietnam. They are proud parents of a 4-year-old daughter who will steal glances your way while watching the restaurant’s television.
Wong Kee BBQ and Peking Duck, typical of most Cantonese barbecue joints, features a front window case where On displays his roasted birds and slabs of pork. You can order a quick box of meat to go.
But you might stay for an affordable dish of barbecue plated on rice or one of the many other dishes on a menu worth exploring. Some are better than others, but none disappointed.
Husband and wife shuttle back and forth from the kitchen, alternating between cooking, serving and chatting with diners.
During one visit On disappeared into the kitchen to prepare our order of house fried rice ($7.99). It was a garlic-infused flavor bomb chock full of pork, shrimp and chicken. The rice was liberally seasoned with salt and pepper, and lightly charred onions scattered throughout added a welcome dimension of flavor.
I made my way through most of the restaurant’s barbecue. The best is roast pork and duck. As soon as you place an order, On goes to work with a large cleaver. He delivers thunderous blows clean through the bones down to his cutting board, and reverberations can be felt anywhere in the room.
The roast pork ($9.50) is a hedonistic dish of skin-on chunks of heavily marbled pig. It is roasted to the point where the outer layer of skin browns and blisters, developing air bubbles that suggest a textural union of Pop Rocks and pork rinds. Underneath that layer is fat, then tender meat, then a little more fat.
The duck, on the other hand, has been almost completely rendered of its fat. A thin and crispy layer of roasted skin is the only thing separating the rich meat underneath.
Don’t miss the restaurant’s Peking duck ($18.99 for a half order). After On hacks up the duck, Do debones it in the kitchen and plates it alongside puffy steamed buns, scallions, cucumber, celery and a sweet bean sauce. It’s all used to formulate mini sandwiches you won’t soon forget.
The one other dish that beckons is the braised oxtail soup ($8.99). It’s a large serving, slow-cooked for hours and rendered of its fat. The milky broth, subtly flavored with cooking wine, contains inch-thick sections of oxtail bone rife with meat and gelatinous tendon. The flavor may seem mild, but this dish is notable for its nutritional value, thanks to the abundant levels of protein and collagen.
Wong Kee BBQ and Peking Duck — with mom, pop and those unforgettable duck buns — makes a solid addition to the Atlanta dining scene.WONG KEE BBQ AND PEKING DUCK 5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Suite A3, Norcross, 678-205-0105 Food: Cantonese-style casual barbecue, including rice and noodle dishes Service: Good; communication could be a slight issue Best dishes: Peking duck, braised oxtail soup, house fried rice Vegetarian selections: A variety of vegetable-based soups, noodles and rice dishes. There are selections of tofu dishes as well. Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Sundays Children: Yes Parking: In lot Reservations: No Wheelchair access: Yes Smoking: No Noise level: Moderate Patio: No Takeout: Yes