I just recently got back into town and after a bit of hesitation (I live in China and wasn't looking to eat Chinese food quite so soon) decided to go back to an old favorite, Chung King. In the past I found Chung King to be pretty much the best Sichuan in the area after Oriental Pearl closed, so I was hoping the quality hadn't gone downhill. I'm sorry to say that my meal was less than exceptional.
First thing I noticed when I walked in on a Saturday night was that more than half the patrons were white. I thought to myself, bad sign. My friend and I weren't that hungry, but we wanted a good mala kick, so we decided to order a couple of basics, the water boiled beef, and la zi ji (spicy fried chicken), as well as the dan dan mian. The noodles were a complete bore. I mean, they tasted right more or less, but they were completely unispired. Okay, fine, I'd never ordered them at CK before so I got over it. I was looking forward to the other two dishes, which had always been solid. Wow, what a letdown. The chicken was nothing like it used to be, well, that's not true, it was something like it used to be, a variation of its former self, and not a good one, like an aged Elvis or Michael Jackson impersonator. But honestly, it wasn't terrible, just not great. The shui zhu beef was ok, more or less, but just like the dan dan mian it was uninspired.
What has happened??!! Am I the only one who thinks this place has faded? Was this a bad night or has popularity ruined the joint? Should I go back and order all my old favorites or should I move on and be happy with my memories?
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