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King Fung Garden or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Jellyfish

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King Fung Garden or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Jellyfish

Ernie Diamond | May 3, 2006 11:52 AM

So of late, my approach when selecting places to go out consists of challenging my girlfriend's palate with the oddest food items I can concieve. Full disclosure; the tactic works well in Chinatown, (duh) but equally well with promises of morcilla, cockscombs, sweetbreads, amourettes, etc. Like two kids unable to stop "double-dog-daring" each other, such talk quickly ramps up and strangely, only seems to excite her more. Therefore, with promises of Jellyfish Bell and Sea Cucumbers (renamed "Mouth Butt Sea Pickles" by her, due to their evolution of a curious digestive system ), we braved the driving rain and set a course for Chinatown.

Now, our aim isn't just to gross each other out over the dinner table, but to find things that we hadn't had before. I picked King Fung Garden because I had been before, was excited for the menu and had a hankering for Szechuan Pork w. Bean Curd.

The place was too busy (eight diners) last night for the awkward approach, "surprise me." So left to our own devices, we placed an order for a few standards; Peking Ravioli, Scallion Pie and Szechuan Pork w. Bean Curd. We couldn't find Sea Cucumber (damn you, fate!) but found Jellyfish Bell, Vegetable w. Black Mushrooms and Rice Cake with Picked Cabbage and Pork.

First to arrive was Rice Cake w. Pickled Cabbage and Pork. This one had me thrown. At first, I thought it was the wrong order. Rather than my vision of a cake of rice stuffed with pork and something resembling kimchee, it was a plate of shredded pork, vegetables and coin-sized slices of thick rice noodle, dense and chewy. I was enjoying this to the point that I was sharply repremanded by my GF for eating too fast.

In the midst of the first course, our plate of quivering shredded Jellyfish dressed with sweetened vinegar, cucumber and scallion arrived. We loved it! She compared it to seaweed salad. As the meal went on, we regularly tucked back into the plate for its refreshing effect.

The Ravioli, Vegetables w. Mushrooms and Scallion Pie, as expected, were delicious. No surprise there. The ginger dipping sauce and crisp Scallion Pie refreshed nearly as well as the Jellyfish while the Ravioli proved worth the price of admission.

I meant to ask them to make sure the Szechuan Pork was plenty spicy because it seems to me that they default to bland unless specifically asked. Needless to say, it could stand to be spicier. Despite this, we both really loved it.

At this point, the waitress was openly laughing at the amount of food we were trying to tackle. Though we grew painfully full we kept diving in until eventually having to throw in the towel.

In spite of some regional numbness ascribed to MSG, KFG has won a convert in my girl. Food was great, service was amazingly fast for everything being cooked to order and for $35, we could feed a pre-op Star Jones on just the leftovers.

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