Chinese for Chinese: Ka Won Seng

Many years ago, former New York author David Lida led me to Ka Won Seng, which he had learned about from a taxi driver whose sister-in-law was Chinese. The hand-scrawled note on the front door warns that “No hay comida mexicana, café, ni pan dulce” (we do not serve Mexican food, coffee or sweet rolls) thus warning “lao wai” – not Chinese – that this is not a Café de Chino. Closed during the pandemic, the dining room is back in full swing.

The pan-regional menu is Guangzhou-focused, although Sichuan options are also present; it is large, with many dishes not found elsewhere. The cold beef flavored with star anise is an aromatic and refreshing appetizer, as is the beautiful hen (cold steamed chicken served with sauces).
Soups include spicy and sweet-and-sour seafood, redolent of black pepper and Sichuan. Main courses include a range of beef, pork, chicken and fish dishes with many menu options such as tripe, pork and beef belly.
There is a superb Guangdong style fried duck – braised duck in ginger brown sauce covered with shallots. Steamed whole fish with ginger and shallots is a specialty here, fresh and cooked to perfection. Eggplant with fish syrup -eggplant with fish sauce- sounds strange, but it doesn't mean the fish is in the sauce, but that it is made in a sauce meant for fish: it's a perfect combination of sweet/sour and succulent strips of aubergine.

There are many choices for vegetarians, such as cold cold tofu, bathed in chili sauce, then covered in sesame seeds and scallions. Chinese vegetables they appear in many forms, perfect with chorizo ​​chino (Chinese sausage), as well as mustard and other seasonal vegetables – it's best to ask what's fresh. Ka Won Seng is one of the best Chinese options in town.

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