There are a number of Instagram users that give me serious #foodenvy. Not only the food in their photos looks amazing but the places seem like they would be fun and totally worth a visit. Some of them are out of town (in which case I have to add a pang of wanderlust to the whole equation); however, (lucky us) some of them are in New York. I usually try to check the places they eat and assess before hand if they would be kid friendly and then make a mental note (or take a screenshot) to check out the place.
One of the instagrammers I follow is New York based freelance art director @chubbychinesegirleats. Her feed if full of deliciously curated photos of both local and foreign delicacies. So when she posted a photo of a BBQ roasted pork filled cheong fun taken at King’s Kitchen last weekend, I knew we had to go. Immediately. I did some research on the web and as most of the reviews were positive and I needed to take care of my Chinese food cravings, I convince the family to spend part of our Sunday in Chinatown.
The girls didn’t need too much convincing to go. They both love the Sara D. Roosevelt and the Seward parks, which are less crowded than some of our local parks, and they already know Doughnut Plant is really close by, with their favorite doughnuts: blueberry for La Petite Wasabi and tons of chocolate for Little Sous Chef, and my loved (and usually needed) iced Vietnamese coffee. They are also well aware that we can get dumplings nearby. The ride into the city was surprisingly easy, taking into consideration the sad and scary events that hit New York City two weekends ago. We got off at East Broadway and headed towards King’s Kitchen, passing by another of our favorite spots, Lam Zhou, a greasy spoon that serves handmade noodles and dumplings.
Although it displayed rows of hanging glazed ducks in its window, the outside of King’s Kitchen seemed too bright to me to be one of those eateries, only known to Chinatown insiders. I’m pretty sure we must have walked by it a number of times and never have paid attention to it. When we got there, around 1.30pm, the place was bustling with people and there was a line, so we had to wait for about 10 minutes, which was not awfully bad. The wait went by fast while we looked at all the dishes being served (and talking about ordering everything).
On the right side, there is a long counter with beautiful bamboo plants that serves as the take-out order station and pick-up location. There are rows of tables to the left that never seemed empty and in between waiters go back and forth from the kitchen in the back carrying all type of goodies. All the decor there is in this place (apart from the plants on the counter) are a big TV screen in the back and photos of food on the walls. The place is pretty packed and busy, so I wouldn’t recommend a stroller, not even an umbrella one.
Photos by David Castillo
We were seated by the window and offered a menu (which basically is a take-out menu). La Petite Wasabi wanted to order “Chinese chicken” (her name for one of Dad Vivant’s favorite dishes, General Tso’s chicken) and was a bit disappointed to know that they didn’t serve it here, so we decided to play it safe and ordered the fried wonton, along with the Three Choices BBQ Combination with Rice (chicken, pork and duck) and the rice noodle roll with shrimp, the primary reason for our expedition. Unfortunately, this place doesn’t serve any alcohol (an iced cold Tsing Tao would have gone perfectly with this), but they do serve coffee, tea, Horlicks and Ovaltine (of all things). La Petite Wasabi devoured the wonton and even ventured with the sauce; Little Sous Chef loved the BBQ pork and the duck, which she chowed down with copious amounts of rice, declaring how delicious the food was. The chicken was just OK compared to the other two meats (or maybe is it because I am biased against chicken?) and the shrimps in the rice noodle rolls were fat and juicy, but not flavorful enough for Dad Vivant. As if we didn’t have enough with that, we went for seconds and ordered the roasted pork on rice, which was delicious and that reminded me of my childhood in Taipei, and the rice noodle with beef, which was tastier than the shrimp one (I loved both, Dad Vivant and the girls favored the former).
The single unisex bathroom is in the back to the left side, by what looks like a modern art installation of an altar, a security camera screen and some extra chairs. It is bright and ample, not great but not as bad as some other restrooms we have been to in the area. It doesn’t have a changing table, but the black vanity could be big enough to change a little (non wiggly) baby.
We were very impressed with the food, which we all loved, and the overall cleanliness of this place. Plus, being very affordable doesn’t hurt. Now I am curious about their breakfast fried dough, and given that it’s open since 7.00am, it might be stop before going to work… It will most definitely be a stop on our Chinatown excursions.
92 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Monday – Sunday: 7:00am – 10:30pm