5829 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95824. (916) 456-8888
"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe..." There's something about dim sum that brings out the kid in me. Maybe its the dizzying array of delicious dishes to choose from as they whiz by on pushcarts or maybe it's that the purchases are tabulated on miniature golf-like scorecards? Regardless, I always look forward to when my friend Judy visits from Fresno and takes me out for some dim sum.
Our last visit to King's was on a hectic Saturday and despite the restaurant appearing to be quite busy we were seated right away at a roomy table. Tea was served immediately and we were in business. I'm fairly new to the dim sum game but Judy's an old pro and I love to hear her order various goodies in Chinese. Like a busy fish market, fingers are pointed, orders called out and heaps of small bamboo baskets are placed on our table to be sorted out later. Somehow we usually we end up with enough to feed a small country rather than six adults and two small children. This last dim sum expedition was no different. The steamed gai lan drizzled with oyster sauce was cooked to perfection, the yeung ngai gwa (eggplant with shrimp paste) made me call out for seconds and my new favorite-- jellyfish salad was crisp with a slightly spicy aftertaste, reminiscent of kimchi. Yum! We also ordered the standard dim sum fare- steamed shrimp crepes, fung jeow (chicken feet--don't knock it until you try it with some sriracha),congee (rice porridge), yeung tseng gwa (green peppers stuffed with shrimp paste), char siu bao (BBQ pork buns), pork shu mai, har gau (shrimp dumplings), wu tow goh (taro cake), steamed meatballs and spareribs. Everything was piping hot and fresh. My friend's young daughter took a special liking to opening up the lomai gai, which resembled a Christmas gift (lomai gai is a glutinous rice mixed with pork, wrapped in a lotus leaf) so we ended up with several orders of it, all of which were consumed. My only disappointment was the xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) which were served without the requisite spoon and ginger/vinegar sauce.
As for King Palace itself, it's a bit tired and worn looking from the outside but nothing a little "rouge and lipstick," wouldn't fix. The dining room is clean, quite large and a bit over-decorated in gold and lucky red, but it does lend to a festive atmosphere once you get accustomed to it. Most tables are round making it easy for large groups to share their bounty as it spins around and around. I found the prices to be reasonable (I think the most expensive dish we had was around $3.00!). Also, even though many of the staff members did not speak a lot of English, they were friendly and eager to help during our visit --empty dishes were cleared quickly and my water was consistently refilled. Halfway through our meal, the manager (owner?) came over and chatted a bit which I thought was a personable touch.
I heard somewhere once that the Cantonese phrase "dim sum" loosely translates to mean, "touch the heart." After my visit to King Palace, I think they should change the meaning to also mean, "expands the stomach." I'll definitely be back for more dim sum. With no long wait, ample parking and good food ... I think New Canton's got some stiff competition.