The Perfect Bite
St. Johns Magazine's exclusive reviews of Local Restaurants by Local Foodie Lori Allen
4660 US Highway 1 North, Saint Augustine, 904-377-8570
by Lori Allen
Ok so I know you must have gone by this place a million times and had various thoughts of stopping by to give it a try and then thought otherwise. I know I did and I’ve been here a long time! The place I’m talking about is the building with the big red letters HONG KONG heading towards St Augustine airport if you are going north on US1 and just past the airport if you are going south. The building doesn’t appear to be much so you think I’ll just head up US1 a little further…well you just need to put on those brakes and pull on in! If this place doesn’t say China Town, I don’t know what does! When you open the door you are immediately transported to those hidden gem, really good basement restaurants in China Town, NYC. So I thought that this would be a great place to bring our 210 tasting group. As I loaded up the van I told them that we are going to try a unique place tonight so get ready to enjoy the experience!
Our group is the sharing kind so we started off with some apps or often referred in Chinese restaurants as Dim Sum….crispy Vegetable spring rolls, shrimp dumplings, crispy roasted duck dumplings, spicy steamed pork buns and skewers. Everything was a new adventure in taste and freshness. The rolls were crisp, light and filled with fresh veggies. The dumplings were soft and melted in your mouth and the skewers had so much Chinese seasoning on the meat that kept it tender and you reaching for more.
They served us Miso and Wonton soup next. The bowls were HUGE! The miso soup came highly recommended and we all could see why. It was packed full of mushrooms, seasoned tofu and herbs all in this light delicate broth. So good! And the wonton soup was stuffed full with pork wontons and scallions that brought tons of flavors to every bite.
By this time you would have thought that we would have been full but luckily we share everything so there is always plenty of room for the more. Main dishes consisted of chicken fried rice and vegetable fried rice to start. These were not your typical fried rice dishes they both were loaded with bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, carrots, green onions and even chopped peanuts in the chicken one. This gave the rice so much more depth and richness that you could easily have just eaten this and been very satisfied. Green bean and chicken dish was next and this dish had rich dark sauce flavored with ginger, hoisin garlic with crisp snappy green beans. It was very popular but probably our favorite dish of the evening was the most unusual one, it was the pumpkin chicken. That’s right pumpkin! When combined with chicken, carrots and a light sauce it takes on the likeness of maybe a turnip but has more mild sweeter taste. I think that we all need to add pumpkin to our stir fries this fall! Who knew?? So be adventurous and stop on by…try something new or stick to your staples either way you will be enjoying some really authentic Chinese cuisine. Xiǎng!
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Lori Allen is a local who moved from the Boston area to attend Flagler College and never left. She is a family person that loves the beach, football, working out and finding new places to try. Her love for food comes from her northern background and her love of cooking as well as meeting new and interesting people. She has never met a stranger nor has she ever been afraid to try an intriguing place. (Check out all her reviews on stjohnsmag.com)