King Tsin, Berkeley

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


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
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?


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 ). 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.

Finally got to try this place after reading about it here. The menu is huge, so it was helpful to have some suggestions here. The waiter was also helpful and suggested some interesting dishes that i’d like to come back and try with a group (for example, lamb hot pot). We ordered 4 things for 2 of us, and it ended up being enough food for 4 people. Portions are big.

Sesame bread was big and fluffy and I liked it! Most of the sauces we had were on the oily side though, so dipping wasn’t as ideal as if we had had a more broth-like sauce.

Eggplant with garlic was a nice version, but it was very oily. Huge portion.

Double cooked pork tasted like versions I had in China. Also a bit oily, but a really deep pork flavor along w/ spice from chilis and garlic.

Wok charred cabbage was served in a sauce that was bubbling over a flame. Good, and another huge portion.

Total bill was about $50 for tons of food. Rice was served on plates, which was awkward—bowls would have been easier to eat out of.

Will definitely try it again with a bigger group to order a more balanced bunch of dishes. What we got was good but heavy and greasy. Thanks all for the tips on this place.

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I’ve eaten here or from here a few times in the past year, but haven’t kept notes (my bad).

The wok-charred cabbage is quite good.

I liked the Umami Frog, but you do have to be prepared to pick out/spit out small bones.

The Steamed Black Bean Sauce with Fish Fillet arrives as pieces of fish atop squares of soft tofu. Huge portion.

Another fish fillet dish I order for takeout looked like a complex sculpture: the fish was not sliced all the way through, so it remained connected on one side. Dredged in flour/starch and fried, it looks very dramatic, although it was a little challenging to pull apart with chopsticks.

The “Roasted Garlic Pea Shoots” seemed to have stir-fried raw garlic rather than what I expected from the word roasted.

Why do some Sichuan restaurants refer to paocai as kimchi? They’re both pickled and spicy, but beyond that…

Unrelated to the food, compared with the wonderful place several blocks West, it’s great always being able to get a table here without having to stand in line – and I can hear myself think.

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

― Jonathan Gold