Chinese cuisine

“Do what you love” and have food at China King

Heading off on my latest adventure, I decided I wanted some company and this time I invited Tribune staff writer Robert Creenan to join me at the China King restaurant in Bad Axe.

For almost an entire year of Grabbing Grub with Nunn, I avoided Chinese food. My reason is not that I don’t like it, because it’s not true at all. It’s because after eating Chinese food for nearly 40 years of my life, I’ve learned that every person and company has a different interpretation of flavors and recipes. I accompanied my friends and family to their favorite places, and each would have great food, but the taste varied enough from my Chinese place that I couldn’t get over it.

That’s until I learned the trick of ordering something completely different so you don’t know what to expect.

Robert started by perusing the China King menu, while I checked out the lunch buffet to see what the options were. In an effort to maximize our experience, I waited for Robert to order before deciding what to do. As Robert was my guest, I waited for him to place his order before deciding whether to choose a la carte or the buffet.

Robert opted for the kung bo chicken, which gave me the opportunity to take the buffet.

When I was younger, I loved buffets because I could eat until I burst. However, as I get older, I appreciate the buffet options because of the variety they offer. At China King, the variety of the buffet is further enhanced with freshness.

Chinese Restaurant King

162 E. Huron Ave, Bad Axe, MI 48413

(989) 269-2900

Meal: #10 Lunch combination – chicken kung bo, with wonton soup and an egg roll; lunch buffet and a cup of hot and sour soup; an order of crab cheese rangoons.

Total cost, excluding tip: $32.86

Lunch combos, like the one Robert ordered, come with an imperial roll and your choice of soup. Robert opted for the wonton soup, while I opted for one of my favorites – the hot and sour soup. To accompany our soups, I ordered one of my personal favorites, the crab cheese rangoons.

Within minutes of placing our order, the soups and rangoons arrived. Robert’s soup was bright and fresh, with a light broth, wonton noodles, lettuce and scallions. My soup was exactly what I expected, with a thicker broth rich in flavor with suspended cooked eggs. The first bite revealed the initial hit of savory flavor, enhanced with a vinegar flavor, followed by a slight spiciness.

My love for hot and sour soup is a perfect example of my approach to new Chinese restaurants. For most of my life, egg soup was my jam, but one day I went somewhere new and tried hot and sour instead. Since that day, I can count the times I’ve had an egg drop on my hand.

The crab cheese rangoons were fresh and unsurprisingly piping hot when they came out. Although they are served with sweet and sour, my favorite trick is to dip them in my soup instead. I love how the crab cheese rangoons are enhanced with a savory flavor.

Once Robert’s food arrived, I jumped in for my first trip to the buffet. For my first trip I grabbed an egg roll, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken and beef and mushroom. My favorite was the sweet and sour chicken, which is served without sauce and allows the breaded chicken coating to stay crispy and not saturated. I used the leftover sauce for my egg roll. The egg roll was interesting but delicious. I have never had an egg roll whose main vegetable was bean sprouts before.

Next on my fork was the beef and mushrooms, which had a mild, savory flavor that was enhanced by the mushrooms. The thinly sliced ​​beef was tender enough to almost melt in your mouth.

On the first trip, my least favorite selection was perhaps the sesame chicken, which was good, but lacked a bit of the flavors I expected. Although it wasn’t what I expected, it didn’t stop me from finishing it and considering it for the second round.

The second round was a slightly lighter dish with sautéed broccoli, carrots and mushrooms, green beans and onions, and a serving of Szechuan chicken with peppers, carrots, onions and mushrooms. More mushrooms – no wonder editor Eric Young doesn’t like Chinese food, but it’s one of my favorites.

The Szechuan was absolutely perfect. It had a solid umami flavor with excellent creeping heat creeping in from behind. At no time was it too spicy to eat, but once established the spice was always present.

Robert said his kung bo chicken had a solid spicy kick that hit from the first bite, but it wasn’t the spiciest he’s ever had and he got used to it quickly. He loved the variety of vegetables, especially water chestnuts and green onions, which added texture and balanced the flavors. The peanuts also added flavor and texture to the dish which he enjoyed.

It seems Robert’s biggest complaint was my order of rangoons, which filled him up prematurely and limited his ability to enjoy his main course. However, he didn’t hesitate to pack up his remains to leave.

In true Americanized Chinese style, we ended our meals with fortunes, and Robert’s was my favorite.

“Do what you love…”

The fortune was quite ironic for Robert, and honestly also for me. Robert looked at me and said “I guess I keep doing what I do, because I do what I love.”

I ponder his words for a minute before coming to the same conclusion. I, too, do what I love, which after all brought us to China King on this last trip.