Taiwanese Crispy Salted Chicken at Kung-Ho Chinese Cuisine (Bellevue, WA)

Crispy salted chicken (yan su ji) is so popular at Taiwanese night markets that it’s doubtful there are stalls that don’t serve it. Served as a snack, chicken pieces are cut up into nuggets and normally double-fried. They get their distinctiveness from a subtle five-spice flavor, batter of sweet potato flour and fried Thai basil leaves that accompany them. So, it was with some anticipation that I saw it listed on a lunch special menu taped inside Kung-Ho Chinese Cuisine‘s storefront window.

Oddly, there were no basil leaves but rather a sprinkling of minced and fried celery and green onions, which was in itself tasty enough, but hardly genuine. All other components were consistent with yan su ji, particularly the five-spice flavor and sweet potato flour batter. It is possible that the menu item is something else, which would be confusing since the limited English description typically refers to yan su ji. Served with two scoops of rice (a la Hawaiian-style), the crispy chicken satisfies (☆☆½). It’s even better paired with their house-made dumpling sauce that comes in a jar on every table, looking for all the world like some sort of pickled vegetables, full of minced ginger, garlic, green onions and what appears to be bits of a leafy green (bok choy?), all suspended in a slightly sweet soy sauce-vinegar blend.

dumpling sauce
Dumpling sauce

I’ve had better versions of hot-and-sour soup (☆☆½) locally. The soup (or egg drop soup) comes with most things on the lunch menu. Mainly the broth was a little too sweet and without much of a white pepper kick. Still, the soup was chockfull of lacy egg drop, tofu, shredded bamboo shoots, chopped straw mushrooms and shallots.

Hot and sour soup
Hot and sour soup

Kung-Ho’s forte may be its Taiwanese breakfasts, which is somewhat legendary in these parts. A Taiwanese friend of my wife’s recommended it. Breakfast is served only on the weekends.

Kung-Ho Chinese Cuisine
3640 Factoria Blvd SE
Ste H
Bellevue, WA 98006

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