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Gourmet Kingdom (Authentic Chinese in Carrboro) -Follow-up

suse | Feb 4, 201112:41 PM

Since I was the one who started the first thread just over a year ago, I thought I should do a bit of a follow-up. Buckle-up, ya' could get bumpy. And before I continue - a happy Year of the Rabbit to all of you! Since yesterday was Chinese New Year, I decided I had to have some real Chinese food, so off to Carrboro we went. It had been a while, but I can report that yes, it's still authentic. Authentic, however, is not always fantastic. We got there early because we knew the place would fill up and it did. I ordered way too much food, but after all, it was the new year and you're supposed to do that. The servers were very friendly and one even remembered me and gave me some good tips on what to order. They actually serve beer and wine now, which is great. With the exception of one spectacular dish and one rather good dish, the rest was so-so to awful. It was a lot like being in a not very good restaurant in China. The rice. I shouldn't even go there. While the steamed rice in most American Chinese restaurants is not soft enough because they're going to use most of it to make that atrocity they call fried rice here, the rice at GK was of the quality that would have thrilled only the peasants in the Chinese countryside during the Great Leap Forward under Mao when millions starved. It was the lowest grade rice one could hope to find in China. The quality of the ingredients was pretty sad overall. I could taste how bad the oil was that they had used for the stir-fried the lotus and twice-cooked pork (?yu xiang rou si). I love lotus root - where else could you get kung pao lotus root around here, but it was not great. The Tian Jin dumplings were such a huge disappointment on New Year's especially. I know this is a Szechuan place and it's not their specialty, but they were inedible and.... grayish and gross. I'm having painful flashbacks as I write. We barely touched them. The strange thing was that there was one dish which was spectacular and I ordered it by mistake - thought it was something else I had had there in the past which was also great. Szechuan-style deep-fried fish slices. It was light and amazing and sprinkled with just the right amount of ground Szechuan peppercorns. Truly outstanding. We had a few other dishes which left me seriously unimpressed. I don't know if I'll be back or not. While I love authentic Chinese food and I know a place like that isn't going to source local veg and happy chickens, there's a certain level of quality of ingredients that just has to be there.

Gourmet Kingdom
301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

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