New Chow Find: Kowloon Restaurant Sesame Balls (MSP/Dinkytown)
Just stumbled across a new chow find down the street from Hong Kong Noodle on University Ave in Dinkytown (University of Minnesota)
Kowloon Restaurant is in a rather dreary strip mall but has the benefit of free parking. Their menu has the usual suspect American "egg roll/egg foo yung/fried rice" plates and cream cheese wontons but also has a couple of authentically Chinese items - most popular among the Chinese students appear to be the various hot pots.
The gem, in my opnion, are the freshly made sesame balls - they are listed as an appetizer and take a while to make but the wait is well worth it. If you've ever had these at the dim sum restaurants, they are the same thing but more sublime - deep fried sticky rice balls coated with sesame seeds with a sweet filling. Coming right out of the fryer, they were better than anything we've had at the dim sum restaurants or at the
Asian food stores where they are sold with a yellow mung been filling and tend to be chewy and rather non descript. These sesame balls rival anything we've had in Asia with a soft but firm to the tooth texture with the right balance of sweetness.
Give it a try - the other entrees aren't as good as those found at Hong Kong Noodles or Shuang Cheng but these sesame balls are worth it. In fact, we ended up getting an extra order to go - and at $3.95 for six, they are a great bargain!
935 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN - (612) 623-3888
This is very good to know, especially because Kowloon is within walking distance of my house. Sounds like a traveling dinner is in order - first course at Village Wok or Jasmine Orchid, main course at Hong Kong Noodle, and a leisurely dessert at Kowloon.
Oh, and a nitpick to clarify the location - it's where University Ave and Washington Ave meet, which is technically Stadium Village, not Dinkytown. (Someone looking on University Ave in Dinkytown would find only the Purple Onion cafe.) I tried adding a Places link for Kowloon, but nothing is available. So I added a link for Hong Kong Noodle, which is just steps away.
Hong Kong Noodle
901 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
We were introduced to Kowloon last year by a U of M postgraduate and found it to be delightful. We tried Village Wok a decade ago and resolved to never, ever go back. The dishes were horrendous and service was typical of university environments - the staff learned that the tips were going to be small no matter what they did, so they do nothing. Hong Kong Noodle was disappointing on two recent occasions. The food was prepared sloppily and every dish tasted pretty much the same.
Kowloon was a real surprise. My wife and I just came back from a very satisfying dinner. Their tomato beef and egg was comfort food from my childhood in Taiwan. My wife loved the duck made with taro, a house specialty that evoked memories of growing up in San Francisco Chinatown for her. We also had a dish of Chinese broccoli, which was cooked extremely well. (I think they blanch the thick stalks before cooking so the dish was crisp with a soft core. ) Unpretentious would be the best description of the dining ambiance, but the service came with a smile.
I hadn't read about the sesame balls, so that's for our next trip.