There, I've said it. The thing that every Chinese person knows and what every non Chinese person is shocked to discover.
It is one of the few national cuisines that has been manipulated, adapted and exploited by non Chinese eaters. We have become accustomed to demanding a different quality of Chinese food, and in some extreme cases (such as Fortune Cookies) a type of Chinese food that doesn't even exist in China!
Such was my state of disdain with Chinese food two days ago when, in the back alleys of London's China Town, I stumbled across the quaint, green-trimmed establishment of Mr. Kong's. Its very unassuming name certainly didn't draw me in and since I was in China Town and couldn't tell from which restaurant which smell was coming, it wasn't that either.
What drew me to Mr. Kong's, however, was its impressive window display. On the main restaurant window, a collection of colorful food awards decorated the glass. Mr. Kong's has received recognitions and awards in some of the most prestigious places including Harden's, Square Meal and the Zagat dating from as far back as 1996 right up to 2010.
Intrigued and convinced that any establishment with that much clout was certainly not one to be missed, Mr. Kong's became our destination choice for a fulfilling London lunch. To be frank, the food is delightful. It is genuine, authentic Chinese food and one feels, when eating it, that it is uncommercialized. Mr. Kong's does not cater to the preconceived ideas of Chinese food: lumpy, salty masses of noodles, smothered in MSG.
On the contrary, Mr. Kong's presents elegant, traditional dishes served in beautiful china with attentive and friendly staff. As there were three of us in my party, we decided on the Set Menu for 3 People: soup, two chicken dishes (we substituted the beef), a pork dish, vegetables and fried rice. All three of us ate until we were full and at the end of our meal, food remained on the plates.
Mr. Kong's is situated just minutes from Soho, the main road in China Town as well as Trafalgar Square. It is family-friendly and, although its main dining room is intimate and compact, offering a mere eight tables, Mr. Kong's promises additional seating in the restaurant. It is definitely worth a try as it is quite possibly the best Chinese food in London.