Sunday, August 3

chung king restaurant, monterey park

chung king restaurant front

i've been wanting to try this restaurant forever. i first found it online in some reviews on a whim when i was craving spicy sichuan ("szechuan") food. i think i was always waiting for the right time to come, but today i was feeling very decisive. we wanted to get brunch and when neither jone's nor little next door sounded appetizing, i said, "let's go to chung king!!"

chung king restaurant

this is the extreme opposite of going to little next door, sitting on the sidewalk, and watching pretty people order tiny portions while sipping on a $12 mimosa like drink.

sichuan appetizer

cold appetizers. i didn't realize at first but you can go right up to the counter and order this (they are all out and displayed, under heat lamps) before you order/while you're waiting for your food. we chose the beancurd skin (i don't know what it's called in english but that's what it is in chinese), pickled green beans, and roasted peanuts. the peanuts have the most amazing flavor: a little oily but very well seasoned and with a hint of sweetness. the pickled veggies are a favorite of mine. when i put this in my mouth i was whisked back in time to the days when i was a kid and my grandma would make this for us. she would pickle all the vegetables herself in her kitchen, sichuan style (both sides of my families are originally from sichuan).

fried chicken with peppers

this is one of my favorite sichuan dishes. whenever i was in china at a restaurant that had this, i would make my parents order it even though NO ONE ate it but me. it's basically little pieces of battered, fried chopped chicken stir-fried with a ton of red peppers. you don't eat the peppers. but my favorite thing about this dish is digging through the peppers which make a dry rustling noise in order to find the little pieces of chicken.

there's also sichuan peppercorns in here, which give the dish a unique kind of "numbing spicy" flavor (called "ma la" in chinese). eventually there wasn't much chicken left - just bits of fried batter, which i have to admit are good nonetheless.

fried chicken with peppers and plate

here's a close up of the peppers. i love the homely plate that this dish was served on. at this point in the meal i started feeling really nostalgic about past years/months/weeks/days spent in china. i really wanted to be in my grandma's kitchen at that moment.

stir fried potatoes

this was the dish that sent me over the edge with nostalgia. it's thinly sliced potato strips, stir fried with peppers and vinegar. this is called "tou do si" and growing up, my parents would make it for me all the time. they usually skip the chili peppers and use green bell peppers instead. this version was very tasty and it made me crave the version i used to have all the time at home.

i loved everything here and really want to come back again soon. but my stomach was complaining a little after this because i ate sooo much spicy food all at once. as far as authenticity goes, this place is one of the best i've encountered here in l.a.

chung king restaurant
206 S Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 280-7430
cash only!!