King Tsin, Berkeley

First of all, I am so glad to have this site set up as an alternative to CH*W. Thank you!!!

I went to King Tsin last nite for the first time since the new ownership. I used to be there often for lunch, but as the quality started to decline, so did my patronage. Last nite did not disappoint. Except that I was with a friend who can’t handle spicey food :frowning: so our selection was limited.

First, they offered a complementary serving of cabbage kimchi. It had a nice kick.

Then we delighted in the charred cabbage. Much the same as China Village. It was perfect: depth of flavor, just enough of a charrred flavor and a fun presentation for the table.

Duck sauteed with ginger was light, but flavorful. Perfect for those who can’t handle the heat of other dishes on the menu.

Then my fave: bittermelon with pork. To my palette, it was identical to the one I always have had at China Village – which is to say, excellent. (ps on the menu, it’s listed as bittermelon with beef, but I prefer to substitute with pork.)

Also, the container of hot sauce on the table was really really great. I’ve never had one like it --deep flavor, dark rich color – so I really don’t know the name or how it’s made. Suffice it to say: yummy.

The bad news: There was a dearth of diners.
The good news: There was a plethora of parking spaces.

ps There’s a full bar.

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I don’t think we are censoring the word “Chow”. :relieved: That would be weird.

Good to read about this review. I don’t think I have ever been to this restaurant before.

I wasn’t thinking of censorship. I was just playing with how folks on Chow refer to Yelp…

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Thanks for the tip about the hot sauce— I bet it would go great with their large sesame bread (zhi ma da bing), which King Tsin does a great job at (CV hasn’t been able to make it right since the fire).

How did your friend do with the bitter melon?

Since she doesn’t eat red meat, it was all mine!
In fact I’m gonna go heat up the leftovers now…
(with brown rice!!!)

Thanks. Ever since I heard (way late!) that my favorite waiter and some of the old CV folks took over King Tsin I’ve been itching to go. I’m on a spice-restricted diet right now, but once that’s lifted…

Bittermelon, one of my favorite during summer days, they use black bean source?

Yes black bean sauce. They really do an excellent job.
I eat it whenever it’s on a menu – chinese or Indian. And King Tsin is great.

Indian, I have never eaten an indian bittermelon dish, which indian restaurant have this?
Bittermelon omlete is really good too, easy, we cook it all the time at home in summer days.

yes that’s my usual home preparation: bittermelon and eggs. or with tofu…
perhaps this should go over to a recipe thread…

Glad to see that people are talking about King Tsin. It’s a real gem. Sometimes there are no other customers there, a real shame.

The food is absolutely delicious. I loved the cumin lamb and I’ve also had the charred cabbage mentioned, which is really delicious. All the dishes I have had there have been fantastic.

Please patronize King Tsin! For my benefit, yours, and the rest of the world.

a bunch of East Bay Ch-ers are having lunch on 10/17. I’ll report back.

King Tsin
Five of us had a very nice dinner. First time here for us under the new management. I recall coming here in 1968 but it’s changed a lot. We were recognized by the new owner; he called me by name! We’ve seen him at China Village and later at Ancient Szechuan. He told us several times that he had the chef from China Village.

We started with #23 Spicy chili Pepper Fish Fillet in Chicken Broth ($16.95) which was very good but could have served ten people; we were so full that we could not order much more and took a lot of food home. We had
#210 Sesame Flat Bread ($6.95) which was not at all flat – it was very puffy;
#177 Eggplant with Spicy garlic Sauce ($9.95);
#112 Cumin Lamb ($13.95);
and one dish from the “specials” whiteboard at the front, wok-fried kale ($9.95).
All the dishes were excellent but the kale was outstanding – good wok-breath, and intensely dark green.
$10 corkage fee.

Sadly the place was mostly empty on Saturday night. Everything was delicious and it was a pleasant place to eat.

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Wok fried kale? Sounds great— does anyone else do that?

I attended a private dinner here a few Saturdays ago. I was very pleased with the meal and was glad to share it with a bunch of people who were unfamiliar with the restaurant or China Village.

Some tips that helped the meal:

  • We pre-ordered all but four of the dishes to ensure that the kitchen would not be overloaded with our two tables of eight people.
  • $40 all inclusive with an insane among of leftovers. Better to over order, provided you can pace yourself. This ensures everyone can get a taste it everything.
  • we requested clean plates after the cold dishes

= Must get =
3 Sliced Bacon-cut Pork with Garlic Sauce
16 Rainbow Salad with Mustard Sauce aka double skin
140 Home-style Five Spicy Braised Pork Shoulder (special item, Best to order ahead)
119 Szechwan-style Spicy Boiled Beef
209 Sesame Bread (don’t finish this too soon – – you need to soak up the juices from the boiled beef)

= Very good =
1 Mouth-watering Spicy Cold Chicken
2 fuqie feipian Husband-Wife Meat slices https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuqi_feipian
9 Five Spice Bean Curd
Signboard item : charred kale (not especially charred, more like a kale version of Chinese greens sautéed with garlic)
? Umami frog: The abundance of Sichuan peppercorns is what stood out the first time I made this dish. This time the variety of mushrooms is what I most enjoyed.
55 Steamed Whole Bass (special request) : this was reportedly overcioked at the other table, but ours was delicate

= Fine = ( others liked these a lot)
212 Water Dumpling in House Spicy Sauce
184 Dry-cook Green Bean garlic sauce
177 Eggplant Spicy Garlic Sauce
23 Spicy chili Pepper Fish Fillet in Chicken Broth ( chili’s took on and acrid taste compared to when I’ve had the dish here or at China Village before )

The following were not good versions of these dishes:
209: Green Onion Pancake
40 Prawn with Honey-Walnut ( A reminder to eat the pinenut version again at Beijing restaurant in San Francisco )
99 Chongqing Pepper Diced Chicken— oily, too much coating, and not enough charred pepper flavor. maybe their version made with chicken wings is better?

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Is the honey-walnut prawns dish of Chinese origin? I don’t think I’ve seen it anywhere except CV and KT.

You’d think it was a Chinese American dish, but it’s either of Hong Kong or Taiwanese origin (I can’t find the thread narrowing it down, but see http://www.chowhound.com/post/honey-walnut-prawns-origins-551111 ). It’s at a lot of Cantonese and Chinese American restaurants, sometimes with wasabi added (I’ve had it that way in Singapore)

I don’t recall eating honey walnut prawn in HK and a quick search didn’t yield anything either. Don’t know about Taiwan.

It’s a cheap/easy version of the classic Velvet Chicken. Which is Cantonese, I believe. Some enterprising cook figured out that American mayo is basically the same stuff mit sugar, and off it went to become all the rage.

But it’s really much better WITHOUT the crappy sugar, done at home. I do it with chicken cutlets, pan-sauteed, all the time. Makes a fabulous piccata.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold