One thing about Chowhounds: They really are good at ferreting out the good stuff, even from places that are almost universally reviled, such as Saugus's Kowloon, known for its Tiki Lagoon dining room, and not much else. But lo! Amidst the plastic and kitsch, there is a wonderful thing to eat: the Saugus wings.
"I know that it's not cool to admit it, but I've got a lot of love for Kowloon," says Boston_Otter, a fan of the wings and the "awesomely tacky interior." InmanSQ Girl agrees: "I can't prove it, but I believe the sweet & sticky element is a mix of pineapple and maraschino cherry juice (or poor man's sweet & sour chicken sauce). They are surprisingly addictive actually....given the 'everything in brown sauce' nature of the rest of the menu."
"I will always have a little sweet spot in my foodie heart for Kowloon, no matter what others think," continues InmanSQ Girl. "They know who they are and own it unabashedly and have for over a generation. If you're looking for palate challenging authentic Chinese or impeccably balanced Thai, then steer clear, but if you're having a craving for sub gum fried rice, pu-pu platter, lobster in lobster sauce, and a scorpion bowl all while sitting on a ship with a frilly plastic lei around your neck, then they are the best in the state, no question!"
Besides, says InmanSQ Girl, Kowloon's owners, the Wong family, served her family happily and regularly back in the day, when the mixed-race relatives sometimes received poor treatment elsewhere. "Living in modern times, it is easy to forget what life used to be like and how racism could taint something as innocent as taking your little nieces out for lunch....and far too easy to forget the strength it took to be good people like the Wong family and my great aunt during those less enlightened times."
Kowloon Restaurant [North Shore]
948 Broadway Street, Saugus