Chicken King: Worth Seeking Out
Chicken King Chinese Restaurant
10951 101 Street
Hours: Sun.-Thu.: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
You might easily miss some of the best Cantonese or Singapore-style Chinese food in McCauley if you only explore the 97th Street area.
While returning from a visit to previously-reviewed Eat-Sushi.ca, we noticed a sign saying “Chicken King” that’s hidden in plain sight across from the Royal Alex Hospital car parkade on the east side of 101st Street. None of us remembered seeing it before, so we gave it a try the next time we craved Chinese food.
While an easy walk from home, Chicken King shares a convenient parking lot with Barcode Karaoke Bar and Lounge. Inside the front door we found plenty of tables for larger groups and families as well as smaller tables.
After sitting down, we asked how long the place had been there, and discovered that they’d been open for just over a year. Right after things started reopening from the beginning wave of COVID, Chicken King launched their new restaurant. Then the next pandemic wave lockdown hit. So, they pivoted to online orders, and bravely kept their dream alive.
Chicken King offers both westernized and authentic Chinese menus, so our big family group was excited to sample from both. While deciding on dishes (there are so many choices!) we saw a steady of stream of takeout orders, and pickups by SkipTheDishes and UberEats, so I looked them up on my phone. Earning a 9.5/10 Skip rating, they must be doing something right.
We started with a classic Hot & Sour soup, which my sister-in-law absolutely loved. It was thick, tangy, and loaded with bamboo shoots, fungus, and tofu – perfect to warm us up. From the Chinese menu, we had poached chicken with scallion sauce. Being poached – just like an egg cooked in water – gives the chicken a whiter skin that doesn’t look as cooked as it really is, while the gentle boiling gives the chicken a softer texture that is delicate and delicious. Most of us loved it.
Lemon chicken from the western menu was made superbly crispy, so the sweet lemon sauce didn’t make it soggy. We were all impressed with the egg fried rice, because the eggs were done perfectly, with some firmness, yet soft and smoky too. Stir fried vegetables with garlic showed off the chef’s skills too – with cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, and celery, everything was cooked to be glistening and tender but not at all overdone. My only desire might be to add a little red bell pepper to mix up the colour a bit. But the Curry Beef was even better, with a gentle warmth, and green peppers as a nice counterpoint in colour and crunch – very much a comfort food. Warm happiness! And if spicy is your thing, the Kung Pao Chicken will be your new favourite. Look out for the red chili pepper bits – they’re fresh, piquant, and potent.
Chicken King is another hidden secret on the McCauley food scene that’s worth knowing about. It’s also super-handy when arctic cold makes you feel like ordering in.
_Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors. _