In Austin, there’s a handful of Asian cuisine but one, in particular, I am so grateful for is Din Ho Chinese BBQ. It is the only OG Cantonese-style restaurant in the metro area.
As an ABC (American Born Chinese), I was not raised speaking either Cantonese or Korean. But in our household, my dad would take us out to a family and friends gathering every once and a while in a Cantonese-styled restaurant. A special dinner like this is to celebrate something huge – either a milestone or a pat on the back for working so hard.
I would never dare to eat a full-on Cantonese-style dinner by myself, let alone with my boyfriend. There is just too much food! Luckily enough, we found amazing friends who have the same tastebuds, so we have been able to eat this kind of family-style meal a couple of times now.
Eating dinner like this brings back good childhood memories. I remember I always looked forward to eating lobster served Cantonese style. When I was around 16 to 18 years old, I remember trying the American way of eating lobster at Red Lobster, served with a smack load of butter, and I had no idea what I was eating. It was almost like the taste of lobster was non-existent.
Prime Location on US-183 & Research Blvd
This restaurant is in one of the plazas in the middle of a busy hub of other Asian shops and restaurants: Ramen Tatsuya (Japanese), Pho Van (Vietnamese), Coco’s Cafe (Taiwanese for Bubble Tea), etc. After you eat dinner, I highly recommend for you to pop right next door to Coco’s Cafe (if you still have room in your belly), for some bubble tea!
Here are the essential dishes to order for a Cantonese-style dinner. Ask for steamed rice and hot tea (jasmine, pu’er, or chrysanthemum)
Live Double Lobster in Ginger Onion (Ginger, Scallion & Garlic)
You can order the typical serving of this Lobster dish, which will give you two lobsters. But, if you are with a party of 4 or more, you’ll want to order the Double Lobster, which will provide you with a total of four lobsters. This dish is a banquet classic but can also be a messy entree. Definitely eat this stuff with people you feel comfortable with to get a little messy because you’ll have to dig in there to get the meat out of the claws!
Fun Fact – Also, “live” is used and referred to when the lobsters are in a fish tank, and they will scoop it up and cook it for you immediately. It is used to show that the restaurant has fresh seafood, and it’s not frozen or thawed. I could not figure this out for ten years during my teens and had no idea why my parents were saying “Live Lobster” or “Live Fish” for ages. I always thought they were trying to say “alive” rather than “live.” Now I know.
Chinese Style Pork Chop
[Note from Cee – I am absolutely appalled at myself. Somehow I did not take a picture! Sorry, I’ll update this blog post when I go there next!]
This dish is breaded with sweet sauce and onions. If you have ever had Chinese American takeout, this is the authentic version of Sweet and Sour Pork. In Chinese, it’s literally called “sugar and vinegar spareribs” and is one of the best-known rib dishes in China. You might have seen this in other Chinese menus called “Peking Pork Chops.” This restaurant serves it boneless. However, if you go to different restaurants, they usually have a bone attached to the meat.
Combination Flat Noodles
I can make this at home, but it tastes completely different at a restaurant. The hot fire from a wok makes the noodles taste completely different, the flavors are so deep, and when it touches your tastebuds, the silkiness of the flat noodle itself is so inviting. Combination in this restaurant includes BBQ pork, roasted pork belly, chicken, and shrimp, which are all stir-fried with a variety of vegetables and brown sauce.
Every Cantonese restaurant cooks their greens really well because it’s a basic dish. I can’t really say much here, because it’s just an expectation that their greens taste good and not too oily! The greens pictured in below is my friend’s favorite: Snow Pea Leaves stir-fried in a light garlic sauce!
Other common green options are Chinese Broccoli (gai lan in Cantonese), Watercress (sai yeung choy in Cantonese), and Bok Choy!
Would I come back? Yep, no brainer. I’m looking forward to the next milestone in our friend’s group, so we can go back and celebrate big! Below is a quick Google map on how to get to Din Ho Chinese BBQ and this restaurant has been added to my Austin Collection on Yelp for easy access on the go!
Further reading & recommendations:
- Eat Jajangmyeon and Tangsuyuk at Lai Lai inside H Mart’s Market Eatery
- Damma Restaurant Brings Authentic Korean Food to North Austin in H Mart’s Food Court
- WHERE TO EAT IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
- Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill for Southern Comfort Food | Restaurant Review
- Korean Spinach Side Dish Banchan (Sigeumchi-namul &) Recipe
- LA Kalbi Korean BBQ Recipe (aka Galbi / 갈비 / Beef Short Ribs)