Melbourne's Best Snacks: Showtime BBQ & Dumpling Bar's yangrou chuan’r

Published on 9 September 2021

Photo: Showtime BBQ & Dumpling Bar's yangrou chuan'r (illustration: Esther Sandler)

So celebrated is the skewering and barbecuing of meat in China that the written character invented to represent skewered meat looks precisely like skewered meat: 串.

Originating from the country’s deep west, where the skewers look more like swords, chuan’r has become one of the Middle Kingdom’s most fancied street snacks, available just about wherever good times are had, and endemically so in the northeast. While the term ‘chuan’r’ covers just about anything you can poke a stick through, the most popular iteration by far is yangrou chuan’r – lamb skewers loaded alternately with meat and fat.

“Our chef marinates the lamb in a secret mixture, that’s what makes it tender”, says Showtime manager, Call Me. The skewers are then dusted with deceptively potent chilli powder and cumin seeds and barbecued on hot coals.

It’s simple fare, but like most of the Chinese street-food canon, it’s never better than when it’s served with a side of frenzied atmosphere. And with live karaoke performances blaring through the PA every night, Showtime has it in spades. At $2.50 per lamb skewer, the budget is there to push deeper into the chuan’r program, where sweet bean-pasted Chinese leek and enoki mushrooms headline the vegetal options, and a distinctively nose-to-tail approach will arouse the meat lovers.

Showtime BBQ & Dumpling Bar, 348 Clayton Road, Clayton

By Frank Sweet

You might also like