I’m fascinated by the breadth of unusual ingredients in Chinese cooking, but alas, I don’t go for the intestines or chicken feet. Here are two local Chinese dishes that are unique and easy to stomach.
Peking Duck at Kim Wah Chinese BBQ
For about $26 you get plenty of food to feed two or even three people. The Peking Duck is two dishes: steamed buns and a big bowl of soup. The steamed buns come with neatly arranged sliced roasted duck breast. On the side are shredded scallions and Hoisin sauce to assemble your duck buns. The steaming pot of soup is a clear broth with the duck bones and bits of meat, which you can order with either napa cabbage or pickled vegetables added in. (I had the napa cabbage and it was light and refreshing.)
Kim Wah Chinese BBQ – 7080 Bandera Road San Antonio, TX 78238 – (210) 520-2200
Taro Root Special at Royal Inn Oriental Cuisine
You won’t see it on Royal Inn’s lunch menu; you may see it on the Chinese version of the dinner menu. Either way, ask for the Taro Root Special, or show your server the name of this dish in Chinese: 飄香. (It actually means “a fragrance that floats,” and has nothing to do with taro.) This highly unusual dish consists of a sweet spiced taro ring-shaped cake, filled in with seafood, chicken (you can also ask for just seafood), and vegetables (celery, bell pepper, baby corn) in a savory sauce, topped with cashews, all nesty and nice amid fried noodles, shredded carrots and cilantro. This dish comes with a side of steamed or fried rice, but eschew starchy excess in favor of the fragrant taro.
Royal Inn Oriental Cuisine – 5440 Babcock Rd, # 150 San Antonio, TX 78240 – (210) 691-0602