This, in a head-on, crackling mahogany nutshell, is what brought me & my old Chowhound crew in to China King, based on a rave from critic-ever-in-the-know MC Slim JB.
And this is what kept us there, long after the other diners had disappeared into the neon-smeared Chinatown night: toothy, slurpy, deeply saucy Shanghainese chow mein with shredded pork;
crisp-bottomed potstickers that slid down with only the slightest jaw work & weighted with perfect, juice-squirting little spheres of more ground pork;
thick yet bouncy—more flaky than eggy—wedges of scallion pancake;
soup dumplings filled with, you guessed it, more pork, compliments of the patient-&-sweet-as-could-be house;
& then some, including snappy gailan (Chinese broccoli) & brothy bok choy.
Still, the centerpiece was just that: an imperial succession of duck parts in all their gilded forms—
from the ribbons of browned skin, glistening with mouth-filling oils—the fatty bits melting practically on contact—& wrapped with smears of hoisin & stalks of fresh green onion in crêpe-thin pancakes boasting just the right amount of satisfying chew
to the meat shredded fine & tossed with crisp-tender bean threads, carrots & scallions in an authoritatively simple stirfry
to the…oh wait. To the palate-cleansing soup with its carcass-based broth, I’d say, except we’d already stuffed ourselves so silly we didn’t actually make it to the final course; that went home with the others as takeout.
‘Twas well over a decade ago that I first dug for ducky treasure at King Fung Garden; that the former owners are leading new expeditions to glory, with as much aplomb as ever, at their latest haunt is solid proof of that most comforting of adages, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.