The differences between Chinese and western style barbeque’s aren’t as vast as I thought they might be (infact I’m only going to list two) and the Chinese may be on to something as the reasons for they’re style are rather sound.
The differences I will be referring to are going to be either personal or extremely stereotypic so my apologies if they don’t actually apply to you.
#1 Instead of just 1 guy manning the grill and drinking beers while the ladies fix the salads and side dishes inside while watching the kids, Chinese style BBQ gets everyone involved. Typically the head honcho will still be charge of the fire starting as it shows off his manliness. Then it becomes a fend for yourself free for all as everyone grabs a barbecue fork, sits around the fire and cooks their own lunch/dinner. I’ve been told by a wise old man (my grandfather-in-law) that this is so everyone can gather and talk together. This actually works quite well…even if you are the only English speaker at the fire…people will continue trying to talk to you even though they know that your Cantonese skills are minimal at best.
#2 The second difference would be the selection of food. While both cultures seem to agree that a barbecue isn’t complete without hot dogs, hamburgers are traded for fish balls and barbecue sauce for honey. I’m fact that was one of the shockers for me was that EVERYTHING gets a good layer of honey painted and the cooked on for a sweet crunchy layer. Once again these substitutions make sense as instead f having a grill you have an open flame with BBQ forks. It is much easier to skewer a fish ball and hold it over an open flame than a hamburger would be.
Aside from the 2 big differences listed above, the rest is actually quite similar. We all like to go out and enjoy the weather with some grilled meats and a few cold ones regardless of what those meats may be and how/who are cooking them.
Looks like the weather is finally turning all around the world as well so this may be the last BBQ of the season. Let the baking and roasting begin!