If it’s a sunny day and you’re in Richmond, I suggest following these 8 Easy Steps:
1. Fill a backpack with a picnic blanket, napkins, a water bottle, and your camera.
2. Gather a group of friends, preferably those with impressive appetites and a love of meat.
4. Go through the main entrance and walk approximately 12.9 seconds until you reach Parker Place Meat and BBQ on your right-hand side. It’ll be the shop with all the meat hanging in the window.
5. Order a variety of BBQ’ed meats. Go with the suggestions of your friendly butcher and buy a pound each of the roast duck, roast pig, and saucy roast pork, as well as a side of rice and an order of jellyfish, just for the heck of it.
6. Request cutlery and napkins. Receive too few napkins. Do not worry because you already packed your own during Step #1 and are going to be ok. Thanks, Step #1!
7. Find a park, spread your picnic blanket, settle down, and arrange your lunch.
Sound like a good plan? Trust me, it is. I found Parker Place BBQ thanks to my buddy Stanley (you the man, Stan!) and executed each of these steps down to the last detail with my friends Dana, Derek, and Brett.
Parker Place BBQ is a small butcher shop (the first I’ve ever seen in a mall) that sells fresh meat and a variety of ready-to-go BBQ’ed goods. Once you’ve decided on your order, watch as they fetch your food from the meat-scape to their right, lay it on a well-worn butcher block, and chop it decisively with a sharp, solid knife. The man who served us was patient as we fumbled through our order, even rushing over to make sure Brett knew his newly-purchased sausages had to be steamed before they’re eaten. It’s nice to have someone look out for your digestion system like that!
For $27, we left with a pound each of duck, pork, and saucy pork, a generous serving of rice, and significantly more jellyfish than we could eat. Our server got a little carried away with that one. It was more food than three people normally need, but Dana eats the equivalent of two large men, so we were fine. Just kidding, that would be Derek.
The food was incredible. The skin on the roast pork was like a really thick, salty, bacon-flavoured potato chip. Note the hole in the top of the container to prevent the steam from ruining its epic crunch.
The saucy pork might as well have been called “meat candy,” and although the bones in it were a little tricky to navigate, the duck could not have been juicier.
Then there was the jellyfish. This was the first time I’d ever had it, and I’ve since discovered this very interesting piece on its changing roles within the ocean’s ecosystem and our food chain. As the article points out, Chinese seafood-lovers have been dining on it for more than 1,000 years, but it’s relatively new to the plates of other cultures.
We all tried it, but found it to be memorable for its texture rather than its flavour. Brett said it tasted “bouncy,” which is just about the best description I could have asked for. Brett, give up chemistry and become a food writer, already!
With just meat, rice (and a little bit of jellyfish) for lunch, visiting Parker Place BBQ is obviously not something you’d want to do too regularly. But on a warm, bright day with a group of carnivorous friends, it’s just right. I forgot one step, however:
9. Allow for a good, long post-BBQ lounge session. You’ll need it.