If you like Asian food, then International City is your treasure trove of hidden gems. None more so than JLB BBQ And Restaurant. If this amazing eatery in the China Cluster does not win an award for the most confusing name, it will certainly be a top contender for most interestingly designed. Fashioned around the Pirates of the Caribbean, it has depictions of Captain Jack Sparrow everywhere, memorabilia such as swords and muskets on the walls, even private dining rooms with names like The Black Pearl. The interior of this place will simply blow your mind.
So will the food. Authentic Chinese to its core, it specialises in spicy Chongqing cuisine from southwestern China. JLB BBQ is probably one of the best Chinese propositions in International City…which by default makes it one of the best in Dubai.
We wasted little time with small plates moving quickly to their pièce de résistance, paper wrapped fish followed by a seafood platter to shame even the most elaborate Filipino seafood boodle fights I have seen.
The paper wrapped fish is something truly amazing. It’s served in a paper parcel sealed with wooden clothes line pegs on the top, the fish bubbling in juices visible through the translucent parchment. I kept expecting the parcel to fall apart but (obviously) it didn’t. The aroma which escapes with the steam when the parcel is opened is literally intoxicating – the fish perfectly cooked.
Fresh noodles were later brought to the table and ‘completed’ in the juices of the fish – unbelievable.
The seafood platter was equally amazing and included everything from crabs to oysters, prawns to mussels, all cooked in a spicy broth – OMG.
We stereotype Chinese food – hakka noodles, beef broccoli, kung pao chicken, mixed fried rice, etc. blah blah. So much more, Chinese cuisine is hugely diverse and immensely rewarding. And these days Chinese cuisine is very well represented in Dubai. The China Cluster of International City has become Dubai’s de facto China Town. Quirky Pirates of the Caribbean themed JLB BBQ is a case in point. If you like authentic Chinese, seafood and a little spice, you will love this place; it really is worth a detour.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.