All of us are always looking for a good deal and, in the case of us food bloggers, nothing beats a cheap good meal. Be it ridiculous portions or ridiculous price, we have to try it once. But, given there is always balance in things, have those criteria mean *something* will take a hit. According to Sherman, Po King, a Cantonese in Kingsway, is one of those places, where the food is decent, portions are big, the room looks nice but there is something that makes him not recommend it. Since going to a dim sum place by yourself is the equivalent of going to a gunfight with a sword, I checked with Elaine (of Parker Pages) if she and Chris would be game to visit it (in a way, also to test their luck on getting a table in such places!).
By just sheer coincidence, we were both driving along Kingsway when I noticed Elaine (Chris was driving) and, eventually, we both pulled into the parking lot behind the restaurant, though, due to some “interesting” maneuvers, they first and I got there about a minute or so after them. And, guess what? They were almost the first in the line in the restaurants by the time I walked in! It is at this point where that *one* thing that stops Sherman from recommending Po King hits us: The “Dragon Lady”. I know this sounds a bit strange that a Chinese will make reference to this phrase but, truth is, everybody agrees (specially Chinese) with this description. So what is the issue here? As soon as they see Chris as the first person in the line, she shouts (in a really quick pace) “do you want to share (a table)“. At first, Chris look bewildered. WTH she said?! But, me knowing better I told Chris the Dragon Lady was asking if we wanted to share a table. Since none of us cared, we were guided (actually, hurried along with another party) to a table in the back. Did I say she was yelling at another customer not to sit on a specific spot and almost yanked him from that sit? I will admit that I haven’t seen this type of behaviour in a restaurant in a long time and, of course, there is no way I condone it. Regardless, after the tea pot was left on our table, we still had to ask for a couple of times for chopsticks, plates, tea cup and so on. While we could have ordered the food at that point, we were still looking at each other as if trying to tell each other “WTH happened???”. In a way, that set the pace of the rest of the meal… (On that note, pictures are sub-par because I was afraid the Dragon Lady would notice I was taking pictures and would then cut of my head for doing that!).
Yes, I chose to overall skip commentaries of the food, even the description, because, well, given that state of “shock”, I am not sure how that would have worked. However, I can confirm some of the characteristics of the dim sum served: in some cases, (ab)use of baking soda to give some texture to some meats, each morsel seemed to be abnormally large and so on. Taste-wise, it was OK, it wasn’t the best in the world but… Did I mention we ran out of tea several times and we were conveniently ignored? When asked for napkins, we were given a bunch and, rather than hoard them, we pass it to the other customers in the same table?
In the end, while I have a really thick skin and can usually handle issues like this, I will have to agree with Sherman that, sure, it can be cheap (total meal was ~$30) but I would rather pay a bit more to have a more quite meal. It is possible that at Po King you will get that if you end up getting the whole table for your party but what are the chances? Now, given what happened, I am not sure if I am willing to give it a second chance to prove me wrong.