It has been a while since I last hit up Banawe Avenue in Quezon City (now dubbed as the “second Chinatown”) for a meal. Why? I live in Binondo, at the heart of the first and original Chinatown in Metro Manila, Philippines. Delicious, authentic and solid Chinese food to us is just within an arm’s reach. In rare occasions though, we also try and venture out to discover snazzy Chinese restaurants outside our perimeter and see if the trip would or won’t be worth the trip.
Yesterday was one of those times. We recently heard that King Chef has opened a new branch in Banawe called King Chef Dimsum Kitchen following the success of its flagship branch. What else could we have had at this restaurant? Dim sum (点心), of course! 😛
As a culinary adventure, eating dim sum is a casual affair that’s better enjoyed with a large bunch of people. Especially since King Chef serves over a hundred different kinds of dim sum, you would want to try more—without having to spend more individually and take more than your body can absorb at a time. It also feels fun and rewarding to anticipate and converse about the dim sum with friends/family once the bamboo steamer is lifted and the food is revealed.
King Chef Dimsum Kitchen offers price discounts on its dim sum during these hours: Morning Tea Time (8AM-10AM), Afternoon Tea Time (2PM-5PM) and Late Night Tea Time (9PM-12MN) daily. If this sounds good to you, take advantage of their promotion and plan for a dining schedule now. 🙂 Here’s a sneak peek and review of the food according to my taste buds.
Review of King Chef Dimsum Kitchen (Banawe, Quezon City)
Apparently, King Chef Dimsum Kitchen is where community feeding sessions can be held in mass. This is a restaurant meant for big groups, with square tables that can be easily merged together. If you need a venue for birthday parties and any other celebrations, this Chinese banquet hall has got you covered. The interior design is aesthetically pleasing without much frills. I’m contented with the cleanliness of the space, bright lighting and decent furniture. The place can get a little noisy when it’s filled with more customers but that’s fine with me as I’m already used to the certain festive bustle or the 热闹 (re-nao) ambiance in most Chinese restaurants.
King Chef Dimsum Kitchen’s menu is organized into categories: Congee, Steamed Dim Sum, Fried Dim Sum, Noodles and Soups, Rice Toppings, Breakfast Sets, Lunch Sets, Rice Rolls, Drinks and Desserts. Everything is characterized by the food’s distinctive taste and the great care taken in its preparation. If you’re a dim sum novice, the key to ordering properly—a lesson not better learned the hard way—is to order at least one from each category.
Over 30+ dim sum were served to us, but I have carefully selected only those that appealed to me the most:
Crispy Duck Wantons (PhP 120 regular/PhP 68 promo) featured the concept of fried pork wanton balls, except that the fillings are changed to duck meat. Pan-fried to a light crisp, this was quite a contentment as the duck meat was perfectly minced inside. Get this as an appetizer or an entrée. However you choose to go about it, make sure it’s on the table. It’s nothing short of amazing!
The Shanghai-style Xiao Long Bao (PhP 150, 6 pieces) was good but not as delightful as the others that I’ve had. I thought it’s a litlte dry and lacked on the soup, but that’s maybe because we didn’t eat it at once. For that matter, a return visit and reorder would make a justification.
The Beancurd Roll (PhP 105 regular/PhP 62 promo) was dense and so good that I didn’t bother to know what’s stuffed inside (ground pork? shrimp? mushroom? veggeis?). That rarely happens. I just managed to swallow the half portion entirely and nodded my head in the affirmative: yes, it’s delicious! 🙂
Looking cute and awesome, the Carrot Rolls (PhP 90 regular/PhP 62 promo) are not actually carrots but rolls which are only made to look like carrots. Don’t get fooled. 😆 Points are definitely added for creativity. These are filled with lin yong (lotus seed paste)—the same primary ingredient in traditional mooncakes. I would have preferred it to have a stronger dose of carrot flavor to match expectation somehow.
Another aromatic dim sum dish was the Pumpkin Balls (PhP 90 regular/PhP 62 promo) which stood out for me also because I would never have expected that it’s also stuffed with linyong inside. The texture was fine and smooth like butter and the taste was not too sweet, so there isn’t anything bad to say about it. I bet kids would love it. It’s perfect for Halloween!
When meat meets vegetables to form a dumpling, good things happen. This is exactly the case with the Chiu Chow Style Kuchay Dumplings (PhP 95 regular/PhP 62 promo). I enjoyed a plump piece of it and appreciated the mix of flavors and textures in one bite. Wrapped in soft rice paper wrapper, the dumpling wasn’t far too heavy-handed on the kuchay, so for those who are members of the “anti Chinese chives and coriander community,” please don’t say no to this right away. Give it a try!
Doused in sweet soy sauce, the Vegetarian Rice Rolls (PhP 95) were thick, chewy, and not too sticky. They’re made with vegetables including my favorite enoki mushrooms (Japanese golden mushrooms)! 😀 I really miss eating enoki mushrooms because they’re hard to find here in local groceries and markets. This is one of my favorites.
Having that squidgy slightly sweet inner wall, the Ham Soy Kok/ Ham Sui Gok 咸水角 (PhP 95 regular/PhP 62 promo) or fried pork dumplings were wonderful. Some people describe it as tikoy (glutinous rice cake) with gorgeous savory pork filling inside. Everyone of us liked it, thanks to the savory crisp and chewy mochi-like skin.
The Hakaw (PhP 110 regular/PhP 68 promo) or shrimp dumpling is one of my staple orders at every dimsum restaurant I go to. This version hasn’t disappointed at all. The prawns used inside were clean and fresh with a natural sweetness that’s hard to resist. The dumpling skin was thin enough to keep the fillings wrapped and not fall apart upon the first bite.
If you want something similar to hakaw but then something more unique, take the Bird’s Eye Dumplings (PhP 110 regular/PhP 68 promo). It’s made with bouncy prawn, asparagus, carrot and fish wrapped in translucent skin resulting to a savory taste. I think of it as the old school hakaw with differing textures and a hidden bonus.
An explosion of sweet and slightly salty flavors, the taro used in the Taro Puff (PhP 120) was fresh and refined. Drizzling a piece with the sweet sauce enhanced the natural taste of taro. I like adding chili sauce for a complete knockout as spicy food often wake up my senses and increase my appetite. The taro puff is a timeless classic that has been nicely done. Overall, it’s complete and well-balanced with the almost bland-tasting outer crust layer (nest).
By the look of it, the Beef Wanton Noodles (PhP 190) was just another bowl of standard Chinese noodles, except that this noodle and soup dish dominated in a head-to-head battle against being soggy, over-salty version some of us are used to getting. With a bit of spicy kick on the broth, these are great noodles with solid bites of protein and vegetables along the way.
The Bola Bola Congee (PhP 130) tasted rich and velvety. It was very fragrant, cooked Cantonese-style that’s boiled until it’s mashy and rather soupy. Coming from a Cantonese family, I have always liked this type of congee since I was younger and shall love it most probably for the rest of my life. It’s warm, soothing and memorable.
For desserts, the Mango Balls (PhP 85 regular/PhP 62 promo) brought that subtle sweetness that lingers in the mouth. They’re basically a doughy treat of mango mochi filled with a small mango piece inside and sprinkled with coconut flakes. The presentation was mediocre but these mango balls are a great way to end a fulfilling meal.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
With “dum sum” forming part of its name, we’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good meal at King Chef Dimsum Kitchen. Price range is around PhP 80-PhP 150 for most items, and this is actually not bad given the high quality of ingredients used and creative presentations of food. If you’re hunting high and low for the best dim sum restaurant in the metro, note that King Chef must be included in the list.
Mon: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Tue: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Wed – Sat: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Sun: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm
Other branches: King Chef Seafood Restaurant
- 987-989 Banawe St, Quezon City 3527534 | Call 4136619, 4414177, 6977781 or delivery hotline 4104919
- 2F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila | Call 7208594, 466 5765 (read my review here)