All right, I railed against going to this place for quite some time. Call me a snob, I don’t care. I just have this “thing” about hole-in-the-wall Chinese places….I’m suspicious. I can’t help it. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, and sometimes I’m not. There’s one very close to my house that we went to once and my eggroll had some sort of mysterious fluorescent pink meat in it. Never again.
Anyway, Philip went to a different hole-in-the-wall Chinese place in East Brainerd with a friend last week and loved it, so he wanted to try this one. One of my friends and her husband really like it and go there frequently, so I figured it was worth a shot. When we were racking our brains trying to think of something to eat on Saturday night, Philip suggested we go. So we did.
It was around 7:30 when we got there. There was one couple that was actually eating in the restaurant, and 4 or 5 people waiting for orders (2 more came in to pick up while we were there). The decoration was sparse, as you would probably expect, and they did have the required slightly creepy looking photos of different meals that are available hanging about the counter, like a menu. The menu is huge, but that’s generally pretty standard at a Chinese restaurant…..122 menu items plus “Chef’s Specialties”, “Special Combination Plates”, and lunch specials. Since we are partial to fried rice, we went for the special combination plates, which included the meat, pork fried rice, and an eggroll for $6.95. Philip got sweet and sour chicken, and I got sesame chicken. I won’t go into too much detail about what is available…it’s again pretty much the standard Chinese restaurant menu…plus you can check out the menu at the bottom of the post.
Philip took the first bite of the eggrolls….he’s a little bit braver than I am. Okay, he’s a lot braver than I am. Anyway, there was no pink mystery meat in the center of the eggrolls, just cabbage. We were in business. Since we had about 15 minutes from the time we got our food to the time we were actually eating it, it wasn’t overwhelmingly hot….just perfect. I’d be willing to be you’d burn your mouth eating one in the restaurant, though!
Interestingly, the sesame chicken smelled super-garlicky. It didn’t taste super-garlicky, though, so that was good. It was sweet, not overly sticky, and not spicy like you occasionally find (General Tso’s would be considered the spicy version of sesame chicken). I had two random pieces of broccoli, which I got a good laugh from. Philip’s sweet & sour was pretty much the average sweet & sour….not too much breading and not too greasy; that was a plus. The rice was fine, maybe not as sticky as I really like my fried rice to be. That’s the problem with making things at home…you end up liking what you make more than what you get at restaurants. I guess that’s why so many restaurants are terribly disappointing to me. Still, I didn’t have to cook this, and it’s nice to have the night off from time to time. There were not a ton of veggies in the rice…a few carrots, onions, and peas-but interestingly there was actually a fair amount of diced pork, which tasted pretty good. Can someone explain to me why the rice at some Chinese restaurants is yellow? Some, not all. I would love to know.
In the end, we had enough left over to have it for lunch today as well. Again, that’s always nice, and it makes me feel less guilty about the amount that I spend when I go to a restaurant. Of course, there were the requisite fortune cookies at the end of the meal, and our fortunes were so boring that I don’t remotely remember what mine said. I think Philip’s said something about going fishing. I was more intrigued by the one that Philip picked up off of the table where we were waiting….it said something about modifying your plans. But I digress.
Okay, in the end….China King is not the ultimate be all and end all of Chinese restaurants. It was decent food, though, and inexpensive, at least when you consider that we got two meals from it. I doubt will eat there often, but I am sure we will eat there again. Perfectly acceptable for a no-cook Saturday night.
China King is located at 5922 Hixson Pike, Hixson, TN 37343 (in the Publix complex, between El Metate and BiBa’s). You can reach them at 423-842-0666.