A very famous Philadelphian once said, “Beer is living proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.” I would like to amend that statement: “[The Salt-Baked Squid at Shiao Lan Kung] is living proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.”
After a recent visit, the members of Pho Real Club have agreed that Shiao Lan Kung serves up some of the best food in Chinatown. We ordered about 13 dishes, and I think I said squealed “mmmmmm,” after each bite. The food is fresh and expertly seasoned. Plus, they have lazy susans, so you can spin entrees among friends.
The jellyfish appetizer was a sleeper hit, with G.L. nominating it for “surprise dish of the year.” Gelatinous texture? Natch. But cool and refreshing on a humid evening, and doused in quality sesame oil.
M.C. felt “at least triple-ly happy” about her Double Happiness, and A.P. thought the Shrimp Szechuan Style would “make a great lunch special…if they were open for lunch.” (wellllll, technically they open at 3 pm).
The veggie sides, Choy Sum in Oyster Sauce and Spicy Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, added great color to the table and were devoured instantly. What is it with me and Chinese eggplant? I just can’t get enough.
However, the reigning champions of the evening were the Salt-Baked Squid and the Salt-Baked Softshell Crab. Imagine tempura batter, but lighter and less greasy, with the perfect amount of salt stirred in. The squids were like popcorn – I’d definitely bring a bucket of them to the movies. How can they possibly be SO delicious? I need to know. Until that day arrives, I will be content to gorge myself on the salt-baked offersing at SLK.
‘Tis also worth noting that this place is a steal – A 13+ dish feast + 9 people = $25 per person, including tip – and it’s BYOB!
Shiao Lan Kung
930 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107