Chuan'r, Chinese barbecue, originated in the Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia regions of northern China. It essentially consists of small pieces of spiced meat roasted on skewers. Lamb was originally the meat of choice with cumin as the most commonly used spice. Over time, as the popularity of this cuisine spread, it began to include skewers of many different meats, as well as vegetables and even seafood. It is now a common street food and you can see part of its evolution in the common Chinese-American dishes of teriyaki beef and chicken, which are usually served on skewers.
Back in July 2013, Chuan'r cuisine came to Boston through the Wow Barbecue food truck, founded by Steve Liu and Yi Peng. They were successful enough that in 2014 they opened a WOW Barbecue brick-and-mortar restaurant in Malden, serving a wide variety of skewers as well as other Asian dishes. Most recently, in March 2016, they opened a second restaurant, Wu Er Barbecue, in Brookline. The word “Wu-Er” translates as “one of a kind.”
They have 3 Skewer dishes ($8-$9), Beef, Chicken and Lamb, which come in an order of 4 with three dipping sauces. You can also order numerous individual Skewers, about 16 options ($1.50-$4), including meat, seafood, vegetables and more. You could choice items like Sausage, Cauliflower, Chicken Gizzard or Tofu. The skewers are cooked over a natural gas grill with volcano rocks to provide a smoky flavor. Their seasoning is cumin based, with the addition of salt, nuts and herbs.
Overall, the food was delicious, reasonably priced, and well spiced. The cocktails are delicious and this is one of the few spots in the local area which is truly passionate about Baijiu. Many of their Tapas style plates are excellent snacks for pairing with cocktails and beer. Service was generally very good, except our serve did forget one of our dishes and had to be reminded about it. I need to get to their Malden location, which has a slightly different menu. I recommend you check out Wu Er in Brookline, and you should try one of their Baijiu cocktails too.