restaurants

Destination Chicago: Ken Kee Restaurant

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Ken Kee Restaurant, a small restaurant located in Chinatown with lots of yummy Cantonese and Hong Kong style dishes on their menu.

Two things that caught my eye!
1. Cheap prices!
2. Authentic Cantonese fast food (not the Americanized ones you find with names like “Happy Dragon Lucky Chinese restaurant”)!

The wait was long (well, we did have a party of 4-5). The restaurant was pretty crowded. The service is probably not the best out there, but a very typical Chinese restaurant. They’re not rude, but I think they just concentrate on serving the food rather than pampering the customers. It kind of makes you feel like you’re in Hong Kong or something.

Appetizer:

Deep Fried Man-tou
Deep fried buns served with a small plate of condensed milk on the side for dipping.

LOOKY: mouth watering (above average)
TASTY: if you weren’t so filling, i’d eat more of you (average)
Remarks: One of my favorite dishes to order during Dim Sum. These man-tou’s are much bigger than the ones they serve at Dim Sum, and also looks a bit more extravagant with the curls. The outside is extra crispy and the inside is soft like bread. I like to pick on my man-tou and dip it generously in condensed milk. The sweet condensed milk adds a lot to it, I feel.

Main dishes:
To accompany these dishes, we ordered a couple bowls of white rice! yeah!

Beef Stew
Cantonese styled beef stew. One of the common Chinese dishes.

LOOKY: drool inducing (above average)
TASTY: it’s like a party in my mouth! (above average)
Remarks: I’m a big fan of this dish. No matter where I order it, it always tastes great! It’s the texture of the meat. It’s the flavor. It’s my love for beef and any cow-related mystery meat that may lie in there. Goes great over rice.

Ong-Choy
Also known as water spinach. This Asian vegetable is looks like a child of a watercress and a spinach. In fact, it grows in similar conditions as watercress, and has the nutrition value like spinach does.

LOOKY: mouth watering (above average)
TASTY: can’t stop eating you! (average)
Remarks: I like these vegetables a lot. They are kind of rare to find, I think, and often are relatively pricier than other Asian vegetables. They taste similar to spinach but has a crunchiness factor to it. It’s often served with some bean curd (which alone tastes kind of weird, but goes really well with these veggies). It’s a very simple dish, but refreshing, tasty, and nutritious.
Sweet and Sour Fish Fillets
Just as the name suggests. Fish fillets with sweet and sour sauce, topped with some onions and peppers.

LOOKY: drool inducing (above average)
TASTY: lick on the lips (above average)
Remarks: The best part about this dish was the sweet and sour sauce. (Much better than the sweet and sour sauce they serve at Chinese take outs.) The fish fillets were covered in a light batter, which gave it a slight crispiness. But the sauce was delicious!!

Seafood In a Mini Wok
A mini wok sitting above a mini flame, filled with seafood (squids, octopus, etc.) and cucumbers and carrots like a little stew.

LOOKY: mouth watering (above average)
TASTY: one more spoon (average)
Remarks: At first I was pretty excited to order this dish. I saw some people at the restaurant eating it, and it really caught my eye. It’s a cute little wok with a small portable flame. It continues to light as it sits on your table, keeping the food warm. Other than that, it tasted like any other seafood mixture dish. Still tasty and good to eat. It wasn’t too heavy and it had nice ingredients. Even though I’m a big fan of seafood, honestly, I probably might not have ordered it if it wasn’t served in a mini wok.

Somewhat odd appetizer (yes… appetizer again):

Peppered Duck’s Tongue
Honestly I have no idea how this dish was prepared. It’s peppered duck tongues. Imagine peppered pork chops (which are yummy), but instead of pork chops, it’s like about 50 duck tongues.

LOOKY: speechless (???)
TASTY: interesting (average)
Remarks: Now here’s something I tried for the first time. It kind of caught me by surprise. First thing that came to my mind was “Damn, that’s a lot of dead ducks!”. Next thought was whether I’d want to try it or not. I’m very adventurous when it comes to food, so of course I’ll try it. The flavor was really good, but the texture was a little odd. I liked the pepper taste, but it makes you thirty. It’s tough to eat a lot of it by itself. The duck tongues were very chewy and dry, similar to beef jerky, but much much tougher.

I definitely recommend going to this restaurant for some authentic Chinese fast food. It seems to get pretty busy, and so the wait might be a little long. But, they’d happily scribble your name down on a note pad by the door, and let you know when your table is ready. It’s a bit crowded, but it adds to the atmosphere. The menu has pictures next to almost every dish, making it a bit easier to know what you’re ordering.
Oh yeah, they also serve pretty good smoothies and bubble tea.

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