Binondo eats: King Chef's 'royal' lauriat
MANILA – It says a lot about the quality of its food that King Chef Fine Dining Restaurant, which has its beginnings as the humble Cantonese Soup Kitchen in Banawe, Quezon City, is now an undisputed crowd-drawer at the Lucky Chinatown mall at the very center of Chinese food in the country, Binondo, Manila.
Last Sunday, King Chef showed off dishes from its “Royal Menu” for a Chinese lauriat of specialty dishes with different flavors and textures.
The feast started with the Baked Seafood Apple, the Chinese version of seafood chowder, which is served and baked inside an apple -- a healthy swap to the bread bowl. This had the right amount of sweetness and the seafood (fish, squid and shrimps) and mushrooms melded beautifully with the coconut milk and taro.
A good contrast from the previous dish was the Sharksfin with Chicken Soup, which had a clear and tasty broth with pieces of sharks’ fin, ham, chicken and bokchoy. This soup usually served in special occasions.
From the restaurant’s live seafood selection, the Crystal Prawn Balls had fresh tasting shrimp, sautéed and cooked to perfection, and eaten with leeks, bell peppers, coriander and a very rich Chinese shrimp paste.
For the pork lovers, the Garlic Burst Spareribs will surely be a hit. With a crispy outer covering and tender garlic-flavored meat, dipped in a sweet-spicy vinegar sauce, these pork ribs are perfect with a cupful of rice, or enjoyed on their own.
Meanwhile, the Braised Bamboo Pith with Two Kinds of Mushrooms is a vegetarian’s delight. Bamboo pith tastes rather meaty when paired with enoki and black mushrooms and finished with oyster sauce. Strict vegans can opt to have this dish with vegetarian oyster sauce by request.
It was a slight surprise to find a dish with “Japanese” in its name in a Chinese restaurant but the Stuffed Eggplant, with its stuffing of fried shrimp ball, sizzled almost seamlessly into our lauriat in a hot plate with a “Japanese sauce” that is sweet and salty, almost reminiscent of an Asian barbecue sauce.
And perhaps ranking as one of my favourite vegetable dishes of all time is the French Beans with Salted Egg. Sinful and healthy, creamy salted egg yolks covered the stir-fried French beans, giving diners a great contrast of flavor between the saltiness of the egg crumbs and the freshness of the beans.
Ending the savory part of our meal was a bestseller from the Cantonese Soup Kitchen, the Satay Seafood Sotanghon in Hotpot, which had chewy sotanghon, fresh-tasting shrimp, squid and fish cooked in a satay sauce that had just the right spicy kick at the end.
For dessert, veering away from the usual, we were served Fruit Burst, a fruity icy soup with balls of melon, mango and watermelon plus fruit jelly balls. The dish was not only pleasingly colourful but it was a refreshing end to a full meal on a hot day.
Befitting its name, diners can expect excellent service, abundant servings with ingredients of the highest quality. From dimsum to hotpot to noodles and even a vegetarian corner, King Chef has something for anyone who wishes to experience dining like Chinese royalty.
King Chef Seafood Restaurant
2/F Lucky Chinatown