Sydney-based travel, film and music writer, www.jasminecrittenden.net
Published October 27th 2013
Good Chinese food at reasonable prices
Having fallen under new management just five months ago, and located in one of Sydney's hottest areas for culinary competition - Newtown's diverse, bustling King Street - Asian King Chinese Restaurant is luring visitors on this busy Saturday night with a hand-drawn blackboard that reads: "Hand-made dumplings 12 pcs $7.80 (was $11.80) boiled or pan-fried".
It's an offer that difficult to walk past. A diminutive Chinese statue and leafy indoor plant canopied by an expansive red lamp shade comprise the welcoming party. Located at 121 King Street, next door to what used to be the home of Japanese Restaurant Asakusa, Asian King occupies a narrow space. Two rows of tables provide seating for about thirty diners.
A simple, uncluttered aesthetic informs the decor. Red candles and rectangular lampshades, placed on the white-clothed tables, provide illumination. The green water bottles are sealed with a rarely-seen innovation - suction caps - and the novelty clock features 3D numerals.
Attempting to order vegetarian dumplings, we're told that the chalkboard offer covers variations on pork only. I opt to pay full-price, in that case, and order a tofu soup, too. The vegetarian dumplings are fresh and cooked to a satisfying al dente consistency and the soup ($6.80) features small, silky tofu bites and plenty of vegetables.
The menu offers an extensive range of mid-priced mains, from sizzling hot plates to hot pots to laksas to omelettes. The service is on the slow side, but makes up for that in warmth and friendliness.