Having been to King Chef in Banawe, it was a no-brainer for me to try one closer to my home. The branch in SM North The Block paled in comparison to the vast size of the space the restaurant had in their Banawe branch, and it had this awkward L-shape. Initially, we were to be seated in one of those cramped tables where the next table was so close, but we requested to be seated in one of their banquettes, which turned out to be a good idea.
The bird’s eye dumplings (P170), which were my favorite from my previous experience, arrived at our table first. Unfortunately, the dumplings were placed in the steamer basket too close to each other that they stuck together after getting cooked, and it resulted in torn wrappers and less than desirable parcels. The flavors, however, were still magnificent, with the plump shrimp and a hint of vegetables.
Since it was my first time trying their roast meats, I opted to order their meat platter (P600). It featured some barbecued pork asado, some soyed chicken, and supposedly some Peking duck but was changed to smoked duck as the Peking one was not available. The chicken was a bit bland, and frankly, quite forgettable, unless you paired it with some sauce. The barbecued pork had a very strong five spice flavor, which made me enjoy it far more than the chicken. It was the smoked duck that took the cake for me; I loved it. The platter was also served with some century egg, which I surprisingly didn’t dislike, widely different from my first time trying it. Overall, this platter was a very good value for money.
The crispy noodles (P400) were indeed crispy. The server asked whether she should mix the noodles with the vegetables and the sauce sitting atop, but I opted not to as I wanted the crunch. The flavors were clean and the texture was just phenomenal. I also appreciated the bounty of seafood toppings.
The taro puffs (P160) came later as it was a fried dumpling. I honestly didn’t enjoy this one, but my mother did. To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of taro in the first place so not being a fan of this one did not come as a surprise. I have to commend them though that the coating stayed crisp during the duration of our meal.
Finally, we had two sweet treats to end our meal. Of all the Chinese treats, it was buchi (P110) that I missed the most during the pandemic. However, all the places I’ve been to which were supposedly serving buchi were always out of stock. Luckily, this Chinese restaurant had them available. At first I was surprised to find out that the salted egg bombs (P150) were actually a dessert, because from the menu I thought they were something savory. But after all those months of craving, these sesame-crusted sticky rice balls were more than welcome. I first tried the salted egg bombs, and I loved the sweet glutinous fried dough as it encased the funky, fatty salted egg. The buchi was good too, but the salted egg bombs were top-notch. I think that I also enjoyed them because they were freshly fried, and the textural contrast was still present as we consumed these desserts.
The service was a bit lacking compared to the one in Banawe, but the food remained stellar (and affordable too). All in all, this was another successful visit to King Chef.
Until next time, happy eating!