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Gourmet Kingdom Carrboro Odd Dish Evaluation

I've often puzzled over the carry out menu at Gourmet Kingdom. I try not to order too safely, but I have a hard time remembering what else to order. Let's not talk about the "classic" dishes such as twice cooked pork, Kung Pao Lotus root, dan dan noodles, ma po tofu. I know those are good. What are the interesting dishes that you've tried off the beaten path?

I've been intrigued by the app called salt & pepper hair tail, but for some reason, perhaps the name, the dish never makes the final cut. I just ran the name through Google translate. Hair tail=octopus. Who doesn't love fried cephlapod?

Dish Z6 Bean Noodle with ground pork is also known as Ants on a Tree. I know this recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbooks, though I've never made it. It's a regional classic.

I've ordered the following cold apps: Beef & Tripe Medley, Shredded pig tripe in chili sauce, Shredded beef tripe in chili sauce. They may all be the same dish. Cold sliced offal in chili oil. Always tasty, but can be messy.

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  1. I don't have the numbers but there are a few that come to mind right away. There is a szechuan fish with tofu that comes in a broth with lots of szechuan pepper - gives the tongue a nice tickle and is really tasty. The tofu is soft as a cloud. We love it. The cilantro lamb is tasty, and not as spicy as the cumin lamb, if you want something on the table to offset the spiciness of other stuff. That said, I do wish they'd use a nicer cut of lamb in these dishes. I often find them to be a bit gristley (sp?). The green beans are top notch, and so is the eggplant. I'd stay away from the squirrel fish which is overly sweet and somehow tasteless at the same time. Also wasn't thrilled with the duck (and I'm a big duck fan) - forget the name, but it is some sort of braised dish. We were surprised by the jellyfish - it was cool and refreshing. I don't think anyone was in love with it, but it was a pleasant sort of palate cleanser.

    As an aside, I made F. Dunlop's Ants on a Tree once. Now, you should probably keep in mind that I used ground turkey instead of pork which might have changed the outcome, but it was the only recipe of hers that hasn't worked for me. The noodles were a gloppy mess. I've gotten better with rice noodles so the outcome would probably be different now, but as I remember it that wasn't the only problem with the dish.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Ages ago I had a slightly simplified Ants on a Tree recipe where I also subbed in ground turkey. I loved the results and I have no idea where that recipe is or where it came from. The Chinese restaurant that used to be where Soo Cafe is now (blanking on the name) used to do a decent version of that dish and I miss it. Next time I make it out to GK I'll have to remember to order it.

      1. re: rockycat

        I've had only good results for FD's recipes aside from this one. But it was completely not a success. Feel like I may have made one from a sort of random "cook this quickly" type book and subbed some other kind of noodle and it was better but still not great. And I LOVE Asian noodle dishes. Not sure what the problem is.

        1. re: rockycat

          Rockycat, you are thinking of Fortune Palace.

      2. Items I have had from Gourmet Kingdom include the griddled prawns, the jellyfish (which is just cool and tastes like cucumber), the rice cake, congee, boiled fish in szechuan sauce, Tai an fish, pecan shrimp is different, both tea duck dishes, salt duck, . I have duck tongue from other places and the little bone in the middle is a pain in the tush. I have yet to order off the specials that they list in the restaurant on the dry erase board. The eggplant is delicious too. I think next time I'm going to have to go with pig kidney. Maybe you'd like to try that. If you've not had bitter melon, that is definitely an interesting taste to aquire, but I would suggest ordering it with something you could mix it into.

        4 Replies
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          I had no idea they had congee!! I love congee!

          1. re: LulusMom

            Its a sweet congee. It was extremely hot and took forever to cool down.

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              Huh, sweet? Maybe I wouldn't like it so much. Thanks for the warning.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Y3 桂花酒酿 Osmanthus flavor cultured sticky congee

        2. I get jealous every time Gourmet Kingdom comes up. Somebody tell them we need this in Charlotte!!

          7 Replies
            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              Yes, one of the few Chinese restaurants I like but no Szechuan AFAIK.

              Great Wall does have a new menu but I haven't been since they added it.

            2. re: billyjack

              Great Wall of China also started a new Chinese menu. I believe the chef is from Dynasty before the last time they closed down.

              1. re: vttp926

                With the right cookbook, Sichuan cooking is not difficult. CLT has good ethnic markets so coming up with ingredients isn't difficult either. Fuschia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice is a good overview.

                1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                  Really? Do you know how many different techniques and flavor combinations there are to Szechuan cooking? The cookbooks may replicate some facsimile but don't tell that to someone from the actual province.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    Tom is right. I use her books often, and I have definitely found that I get the real deal at home. It takes some shopping for ingredients, but once you have them it isn't tough at all. My favorite of her books is probably Land of Plenty, which I think is the one that focuses especially on the Szechuan region. Her books were cookbooks of the month twice, and the archives of that will give you some idea of what she covers, etc.: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/494660

                2. re: vttp926

                  Yes the food critic for Charlotte Observer said to check with Great Wall South.

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