Chinese Barbecue with a Southern Twist

Corrie and Shuai Wang serve up Chinese ’cue with Holy City flair at their latest North Charleston restaurant, King BBQ

A woman in a black top and a man in a red jacket smile in front of a Chinese bar with ornate patterning and a green wall


The Wangs at the King BBQ bar, with decor from China.

Names: Corrie and Shuai Wang

Home base: North Charleston, SC

Known for: In 2019, the husband-and-wife team opened North Charleston’s popular Jackrabbit Filly, where the Beijing-born Shuai melds heritage Chinese food with classic Southern ingredients. Now the pair have launched King BBQ, which introduces traditional Chinese barbecue to Charleston’s culinary landscape.

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Comfort food: Shuai: “We’re just trying to open restaurants that we want to eat at, and one of the biggest things I miss about growing up in Queens [New York] is the old-school Chinese barbecue—roast duck, ribs, and crispy skin roast pork.”

Common ground: Shuai: “The great thing about Chinese and Southern barbecue, meaning South Carolina and North Carolina barbecue here, is that they’re both very pork heavy. Our chef de cuisine [at King BBQ], Brandon Olson, grew up outside of Charlotte, and the Piedmont style is all vinegar based. But we made it a Szechuan vinegar ’cue, using peppercorns. It still has that sweet and tangy flavor but with a hint of Szechuan behind it.” Corrie: “Originally it was going to be us doing spins on standard Southern barbecue, and we just got a little bored. So it became this perfect blend of legit Chinatown-style barbecue crafted through the familiarity and knowledge of a Southern smokehouse.”

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Off the beaten path: Shuai: “North Charleston still has that almost small-town vibe to it. I know you can make more money downtown, but I don’t want to have to charge people an arm and a leg.”

Hail to the king: Shuai: “My last name is Wang, pronounced Wong, and in Chinese it means ‘king.’ The character in Chinese looks like the symbol on a tiger’s forehead. So we named it King BBQ, and our logo is a tiger with the symbol.”

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Teamwork makes the dream work: Corrie: “If we want to be a work environment where it’s not everyone leaving after six months, then we have to make it a place that’s worthy of staying.” Shuai: “The only reason I left New York was that I got burned out. I was overworked and underappreciated. I don’t want anyone to ever be in that position.”

The joy of cooking: Shuai: “Obviously, we want to make sure we put out the most consistent and beautiful dishes, but at the same time, I want food to be fun and playful.” Corrie: “We’re just putting a little more joy out there.”