Peking Chinese Restaurant
16857 Redmond Way
Redmond WA 98052
If Chinese Food with MSG Suites Your Taste..
By: Steve G
If you're looking for a generic Chinese restaurant, Peking is it. There is no dim sum and no particularly adventurous dishes here, just the kind of typical fare that could just as easily be found at chain operations like Panda Express or Magic Dragon.
The name "Peking" is derived from the anglicized name for the northern province in China, which is now known as Beijing. It is somewhat fitting that Peking Chinese Restaurant uses the anglicized version of the name since the food seems to be aimed at those with unadventurous, Western palates.
As we stepped in, our first glimpse of the place was underwhelming. Disappointingly, the restaurant had an area that looked like the remanents of a counter top that gave the place the look of converted diner with new decor simply tacked on. Near the entrance, the daily specials were posted haphazardly, making the restaurant seem more like a takeout only place than proper eatery. The large fish tank was a nice addition, but it seemed contrived while the waitresses, in kitschy Chinese dresses, didn't exactly heighten the feeling of authenticity.
We ordered the Honey Walnut Shrimp, Black Bean Chicken Asparagus and Oyster beef. Each of these items came as part of a lunch combo special with a couple of wontons, a choice of either egg soup or hot and sour soup, and steamed or fried rice. For the most part, the lunch combo menu offered the same entrees as the dinner menu, but with added extras like the soup and rice.
If you're not a fan of MSG, watch out--all of the dishes we ordered seemed to be loaded with it. The black bean chicken was served with a thick gravy where the MSG easily dominated the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar base. As if to disguise the substandard cooking, Peking seemed to load their food with MSG. All of us constantly lunged for our water glasses as an overwhelming thirst quickly came over us.
The honey walnut shrimp began decently, but after a couple of bites the thick, fried batter took its toll on our stomachs. The thick serving of mayonnaise-based glaze didn't help the cause either. The only highlight of the dish was the walnuts. Plump and coated in a rich, thick sauce, it was quite tasty. Bryan opted for the fried rice as a side to this dish, and unfortunately, it looked pretty sad; the vegetables, like water in a desert, were scarce, the pinkish color of the barbeque pork penetrated the rice, and the dish itself was rather cold.
Smothered in another MSG-laden sauce, the oyster beef was pretty generic and none too impressive either. Mixed with broccoli and stir-fried (it seemed liked everything was stir fried), the chunks of beef were decent but overall the dish was extremely salty. It wasn't too awful, but still was far from mind-blowing.
Overall, we were a little bit disappointed by what Peking had to offer. The lunch combos were about $7 per plate and while the portion size was acceptable, the quality and flavor of the ingredients were really off. The soup, rice and wontons added to the lunch combo specials seemed like a good deal in principle, but not in reality.
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