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boozings – Kowloon Taxi At Kong

Welcome back to another installment of boozings, where we try all of Philly’s Top 15 Drinks! Next up we go to Kong, for the Kowloon Taxi. It is concocted with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Ketel One vodka and cranberry juice, mixed with muddled fresh ginger and orange slices, and served straight up in a martini glass, garnished with stirrer full of candied ginger.
I was actually dreading having to drink this because I’m not the biggest fan of ginger. I like when ginger is used as a flavoring (ginger powder, crushed / minced ginger), but I don’t actually like it being visible in my food. There’s nothing I dread more than biting into a hunk of ginger. The pickled ginger that comes with sushi? I don’t touch the stuff. That’s why I was so surprised to like this drink. Seriously. This ginger-phobe liked this ginger based cocktail! It’s very gingery and spicy, but not in the campfire way that the chile infused drink was. It’s spicy in the gingery way. And incredibly strong as well. As I kept on drinking it, the ginger flavor became less offensive, and I really started to enjoy it. I still did not like it when I actually bit into a hunk of ginger, which thankfully only happened once. And the candied ginger that came on the stirrer, I even took little bites of that and enjoyed it a little bit. But I still can’t see myself ever just eating candied ginger for fun.

I’d never been to Kong before but on this monday night, it was completely deserted, which made me a bit sad. The place is beyond beautiful. I have read mixed reviews about the food, which is probably why the place was so empty, but perhaps the location in Northern Liberties isn’t the best for a place like Kong. If this place was in chinatown, it would probably be packed every night.

Ok, 8 down, 7 more to go!
Kong on Urbanspoon

Chinese In Maryland – Jesse Wong’s

Before heading home, in order to avoid the traffic on 95, I grabbed a quick bite right near the customer. There’s a big fancy strip-mall with all kinds of stuff, so I randomly selected Jesse Wong’s. It was either this or california pizza kitchen, quizno’s, or panera. I always pick the non-chains as much as I possibly can. snowboarding, the hunger set in and I had to eat. This place is large and kind of fancy. It’s definitely not your typical chinese joint. It’s definitely trying to be upscale. There’s a large sushi bar in the middle. It’s an open kitchen so you can see all the hubbub. This place is trying so hard to be fancy, there’s even a dude playing the piano! It’s a little crazy.

I could hardly make a decision. I wasn’t sure whether to go for chinese or to go for sushi. I kept going back and forth. Then when the waitress showed up, I just decided on chinese. So I ordered some hot & sour soup. This was an extremely large portion of soup. For $3, you get so much soup! I liked this a lot. It was extremely flavorful. I’m a big fan of hot & sour soup, and it’s definitely a soup that you either like or dislike. This one I liked, despite it being the darkest and most opaque hot & sour soup I’ve ever had.

For my entree, I got the chilean sea bass in a spicy black bean sauce. This was so good! It was a nice sized hunk of fresh chilean sea bass (you could definitely taste the freshness) in an extremely savory sauce. The fish was lovely and flaky and the sauce was perfect for it. It was a bit on the salty side, but not in a bad way. The fish came on top of three pieces of broccolini. It was the perfect accompaniment. Service was ok. Prices were a bit on the high side for chinese food, but not overpriced. There were plenty of items on the menu that were very affordable, so there’s something for everyone. All in all, a nice surprise.

Jesse Wong’s Kitchen
118 Shawan Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030
(410) 329-1088
Jesse Wong's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Han Dynasty In Royersford

We’d been trying to get out to Han Dynasty for what seemed like months. But trying to coordinate schedules around the holidays can be rough. But we finally made it out to Royersford the other night to eat some tasty chinese. It’s in a nondescript strip mall. Once you get inside it though, you notice something immediately. The place is a carbon copy of Sangkee Asian Bistro in Wynnewood. I mean seriously. The layout is the same, the floors and tiles on the walls are the same. The table layouts are the same. They have the same bar with the tv’s. They have the same waiting area. It’s an exact copy. The only difference is that there are no persian rugs on the walls at Han Dynasty and the light fixtures are different. That, and of course, the food! This place cracks me up because they have an “americanized” section and an “authentic chinese” section in their menu. How great is that? We ordered everything from the “authentic chinese” side. And everything was ordered in chinese by our two chinese speaking dining companions. It was awesome to witness. I had NO idea what was being ordered, and I loved the mystery of it all!

So, here we have the mystery dishes. In the front is some kind of beef with hot sauce. See all the crushed red peppers on top? Yes, this dish was hot. There was also cabbage under the beef. Loved this. I especially loved the cabbage! Behind that is double cooked little pork riblets with leeks and black beans. Not spicy here, and quite delicious.

Ok, we are moving over to seafood now. Sliced fish with tofu in wild pepper sauce. Spicy and awesome! But spicy in a way completely unlike the beef dish. So nearly as hot, but the taste was very different. And I loved that.

H/A selected this next one – the mayonnaise shrimp, or “hup toe ha”. I’m not sure if this was even on the menu, but he ordered it anyway and it showed up! It’s battered large shrimp served with a sweet mayo based sauce. It’s quite good!

Last, but certainly not least, the baby bok choy in garlic sauce. We wanted to get the chinese okra, but they were out of that, so we just got them to make it with baby bok choy instead. This was beyond good! It was super garlicky and just perfect. I love simple veggie stir-fry dishes like this.

Service was good. After we ordered the food, it came out super duper fast! And they let us take as long as we wanted. We were there a long time, so long that everyone from the kitchen eventually came out to the dining room to have their own dinner! E said that chinese restaurant do not close until their last customer has left. I think we may certainly have been there beyond their official closing time, but they did not kick us out! And I can definitely appreciate that.

I love chinese from my neighborhood take out place as much as the next person (shout out to Pak Yue!) but eating this type of authentic cuisine is so much better. I wish I could do this at every ethnic meal! Everything is ordered in the country’s native language and I have no idea what I’m about to eat. And then I just get to enjoy it!
Han Dynasty on Urbanspoon

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