April 17, 2006

Wong's King Seafood Restaurant

8733 SE Division St
(503) 788-8883
get there via trimet
find a bike route
dim sum 7 days a week, 10-3
dinner 7 days a week, 11-11

Wong's King Seafood Restaurant

I think all reviews of Wong's King are obligated to begin thusly:

There are other Wong's King, owned by the same family, but the only one you have to take seriously is Wong's King Seafood on SE Division in the new Chinatown. The ones in Sellwood, Sandy and Estacada? You'll get a decent American Chinese meal. But if you are looking for serious high-end Cantonese, get thee to WKS.

Dim sum, a competitive sport.

We knew that the place packs for dim sum on holidays, maybe even on non-holidays, so we got there at 9:30. We were not the first ones there. By 9:45, there were clumps of families there, shivering in the chilly morning, waiting for the doors to open. By the time the doors opened at 9:50, the lobby, filled with chairs, filled with hungry clients.

Word to the wise: have your whole party there when you're seated: if you hold seats for your flakey friends who don't show, you'll be personas non grata in the dining room. I know this sadly from experience. You can get away with this stuff at Fong Chong, but not here.

Within 10 minutes of being seated, every table in the large banquet hall is full. And the carts have already begun. I would have loved to have one of those picture menus so I could accurately name what we had. But everything we had was really good.

Some of the things we had:
-shrimp dumplings
-chicken paws (feet)
-BBQ duck
-sesame balls
-han sui gok (pork in sweet sticky rice then deepfried)
-sticky rice in banana leaves
-ginger chicken
-wu gok (mashed taro in sweet sticky rice then deepfried)
-shrimp dumplings with chives
-BBQ pork pastry
-shrimp paste on sugar cane
-deepfried shrimp balls
-shrimp in rice noodle
I admit being too greedy with the eating to take notes.

Whenever we needed something, be it a fork, 10 glasses of water, a glass of 7up, more shrimp in rice noodle, soy sauce and chili oil, we just asked one of the cart ladies, or one of the staffers gliding around the room, and our wish appeared in a matter of moments.

So we ate to a Mr Cresote level, all of it delectable, and for ten people, it was $86. So it was $10 plus change per person.

Eating off the dinner menu is a little more intimidating.

There's 150 things, and it's hard to tell what to choose from the descriptions. The trick here is to remember that they're known for their seafood, and that they have a healthy trade in BBQ.

A great start to a meal is ordering a BBQ plate (we've had the duck, pork and duchess chicken and they were all good) and some soup. Even old standbys like wonton and hot and sour soups are really something altogether better.

We ordered several seafood dishes, one a suggestion and another a memory of another meal at WKS, and they were both very good—not what we had expected, but something better entirely.

Most entries ring in within a couple bucks of $10 and portions are generous. For $50 including tip and a beer, two of us ate to bursting, and brought some food home.

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