Sherman's Food Adventures: May 2021

King's Kitchen

I have to be brutally honest with this post - the experience at King's Kitchen didn't start off well.  I noticed on IG that they were having an AYCE Dim Sum service for only one weekend, hence I decided to try it out.  Somehow, they were so swamped that our table number was mixed up with another.  Ultimately, I received 2 dishes in 1 hour.  Things were eventually corrected and I did end up with 10 of the available 20 dishes on the menu.  Since I really didn't get the AYCE experience nor did I actually get everything I ordered before I left, they didn't charge me.  I also ended up returning to try some of their takeout a week later because of the suspension of dine-in services (hence I couldn't have a do-over for their dine-in Dim Sum).  So for this post, I will talk about the food I did receive and also the take out meal that I was also comped for.  Now despite the negativity of the initial experience, the owner does care about her business and wants to do well. Regardless of the snafu, the main thing takeaway is that the food is good and definitely worth a try.

So we were served the Deep Fried Garlic & Shrimp Spring Rolls to start.  These were good with a golden brown crunchy wrapper that was further reinforced by nori inside.  The filling was properly-seasoned shrimp that had a nice bounce and was moist.  These were steaming hot and was accompanied by a big-ass bowl of Worcestershire sauce.  We noticed that the settings weren't really Dim Sum-style.

Next, we got a plate of Steamed Duck Webs, which was a pretty large portion.  We weren't sure if they ran out of steamers or this was just the way they served this dish.  No matter, it was prepared properly with tender and delicate duck webs that still held their shape.  Cartilage and fat underneath was tender but not melted.  Lots of garlicky sweetness to go with the equal parts of savouriness. 

From this point on, we waited for about an hour and then some of our other dishes showed up including the Rainbow Shrimp Dumplings.  If we overlook the colours (which were different), what we had here was legit Ha Gau.  The dumpling wrappers were thin and tender while still retaining elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was on point with bounce, sweetness and natural shrimp aroma.  

A bigger dish of sorts was the Stir-Fried Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage.  Compared to the steamed version, this exhibited much more aroma and caramelization due to the cooking process in a hot wok.  The sticky rice was chewy and well-seasoned while being appealingly nutty.  The Chinese sausage added meatiness and another layer of saltiness.  Normally this is a pretty oily dish, but it wasn't overly so.

As mentioned, the previous dish is very different than the Lo Mei Gai or Sticky Rice Wrap with Meat in Lotus Leaves.  It is true the rice is still par-cooked, but it is stuffed with ground pork and Chinese sausage, then steamed in lotus leaves until fully cooked.  Hence, the rice is wetter and softer while soaking up the ground pork and accompanying sauce.  This was good with rice that was soft and sticky, but not overly wet.

One dish we do not normally see on Dim Sum menus much anymore is the gigantic Goon Tong Gau or Traditional Assorted Seafood Dumpling.  Featuring a thin delicate wrapper, the dumpling was sitting in broth while stuffed with pork and seafood.  In days past, the dumpling would be in a steamer with all of the soup inside.  It would be a precarious situation to pick it up without bursting.  However, if you do find this dish now, it is served in a bowl so you can enjoy all the delicious soup without losing it to the table.  This one was good with subtle flavours and delicate ingredients.

Moving on, we had the Steamed Pork Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce.  This was another generous portion of food that featured meaty pieces of pork rib.  Not a whole lot of fat nor cartilage to be found.  I thought the texture was more natural meatiness rather than bouncy.  However, it was marinated enough that it wasn't dry nor chewy.  There was plenty of salty and garlicky notes.

Also served on a plate rather than a bamboo steamer, we had the Beef Meatballs with green peas.  Although the meatballs could've used some form of green inside such as cilantro and/or green onions, that didn't detract from the buttery texture.  These were light and loosely packed, so there was no denseness at all.  I enjoyed that the meat was not overprocessed where I got bits of beef texture hidden within the meatball.

Our last savoury item was the Pan-Fried Stuffed Tofu with shrimp paste and black bean sauce.  Despite the name, these were actually deep-fried, but that is how they should be cooked.  It resulted in a uniformly crispy exterior giving way to soft tofu and buttery bouncy shrimp paste.  There was more than enough starch-thickened sauce to provide a bit of moisture and saltiness.

I guess our de facto dessert was the Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Black Sesame Balls.  These were on point with a thin layer of crispy glutinous rice flour that was sticky and tender on the inside.  I've tried making these before and believe me, it is difficult to regulate the exterior thickness.  Loved the light crunch giving way to aromatic black sesame inside.

So at this point I had to leave because I had an appointment.  So after being there for over 2.25 hours, we only got 10 of 20 dishes we had ordered.  As mentioned, we were taken care of and welcomed back to get the right experience.  However, due to the suspension of dine-in services, we ended up going back for take out instead.  Seeing how we never got to try the Siu Mai (or Pork & Shrimp Dumplings), we got some to go.  These were legit with tender chunks of pork that had a nice rebound texture.  Strewn within was bouncy and moist shrimp.  These were seasoned properly and were just what you expect from a good siu mai.  We also had the Black Truffle Siu Mai and unlike many of the regular version with the truffle sauce on top, these were mixed into the meat filling.  Hence, the flavour was more balanced and uniform throughout.

Onto the dinner items, the Sweet & Sour Pork ate as good as it looked.  As mentioned by a few others, this was completely legit.  Even though this was take out and had been sitting for while before we ate it, the pork was still tender with just the right amount of batter.  The sauce was tangy and sweet where it was definitely tart enough for impact.

Although the Sesame Chicken looked very similar to the previous dish in terms of colour and sauce, it tasted remarkably different.  Yes, the sauce was tangy and sweet, but it also had quite the kick.  Too much at once and you might start coughing.  Now it wasn't scorching hot, but enough to be noticed.  The nuggets of chicken thigh were moist with a light exterior batter.

For our veggies, we had the Gai Lan with Beef.  As expected, the gai lan was a little soft by the time we got to it since it was take out.  But there is no way we will hold that against them.  As for the beef, there was lots of it and it resembled the pork spareribs.  They were tender but since it wasn't aggressively marinated, the slices of beef retained more of a natural texture.

We also got the House Special Chow Mein featuring fried noodles topped with a sauce consisting of BBQ pork, shrimp, squid, carrots and broccoli.  Since they packed the sauce separately from the noodles, we could still get the contrast of crispiness with the soften noodles from the sauce.  Pretty textbook version and great with a little bit of red vinegar.  Overall, King's Kitchen offers up authentic Chinese eats such as Dim Sum and Peking Duck in a part of Downtown Vancouver not known for such.  Obviously, it isn't possible to do dine-in for Dim Sum right now, but give their take out a try.  Well-priced and legit.

*Note: food was ultimately complimentary due to errors that were made, but this post was not an invite nor comped food was expected*

The Good:
- Authentic Dim Sum
- Legit Cantonese cuisine
- Reasonably-priced

The Bad:
- Overall service needs improvements
- Renovations would help

Search this Site