Despite the name’s association with businesses Chinese, especially with 99 Ranch Market its anchor store, The Great Wall Shopping Mall in Kent also houses restaurants of other Asian nationalities. There are Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese restaurants inside, besides Chinese ones. Among them is a Vietnamese, or more accurately, a Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant, Húe Ký Mì Gia, that also calls itself a Chinese noodle house. A quick glance shows separate menu sections for egg noodle soups, rice noodle soups, bún (rice vermicelli salads), chow mein, chow fun and stir-fried rice vermicelli. There are also appetizers, stir-fried dishes and rice dishes. A restaurant like this one would expect to find in Little Saigon, and sure enough there is a branch there. But, there are lots of Southeast Asians who live in the South end—Renton, Kent, Federal Way and Auburn—and the growing number of restaurants that cater to their tastes is a reflection of this demographic. We had an early dinner here with friends.
The Fried Wonton (☆☆½) had the thinnest of skins. While crispy, light and somewhat oily with ground pork filling, they were unremarkable.
To have at least a semblance of ordering something relatively healthy, we ordered a simple stir fry of BBQ pork and vegetables (baby bok choy, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, onions and cilantro). The sauce was flavorful enough but the dish failed to impress (☆☆). The sauce was too watery, pooling at the bottom rather than coating the more than adequate amount of vegetables.
We had a choice of having our noodles crispy (Hong Kong style) or soft. The soft chow mein had much more vegetables than seafood, consisting of shrimp, squid, imitation crab and fish balls, but it was nonetheless tasty (☆☆☆), sauced very nicely. The fact that the vegetables were exactly the same ones in the stir fry leads me to wonder if the kitchen uses them in any menu item with vegetables. While they were perfectly cooked, it was monotonous. I’m of the opinion that bok choy is not a good vegetable for pairing with chow mein, or any other pan-fried noodles, because of its high water content. They are better suited for soups and stews.
The star of the show was Fried Garlic Chicken Wings (☆☆☆½), which our friends highly recommended. I can understand why. They were coated lightly with a garlicky and slightly spicy batter, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Simple and somewhat greasy yet delicious, meaty and addictive, the dish had a bonus of flavors in the little bits of batter that detached from the chicken and settled on the bottom of the serving dish, fried garlic mixed with green onions. Could the garlic stay put in the batter without making the batter too thick? Probably not, so I’ll have to content myself with nibbling on these tidbits instead. A superfluous sweet chile sauce was served on the side.
Huê Ký Mì Gia Chinese Noodle House
The Great Wall Shopping Mall
18230 East Valley Highway
Kent, WA 98032