Open for 17 years, King Palace is a South Florida standby worth revisiting. It is usually packed with a mix of diners from different backgrounds, including those for whom Chinese cuisine is a home cooking. Enter to find tanks with live fish and lobsters to one side and a glass case of burnished, reddish brown roasted ducks dangling next to slabs of pork. Two large chandeliers hang above round tables, making it all the easier to pass around dishes.
Start with These Dishes
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Crispy pork ribs, butter garlic shrimp, eggrolls or salt and pepper chicken wings are great ways to start. Other sharable starters are the rangoons made with pollack paste, pan-fried or steamed dumplings, and breaded and fried shrimp. Wor means “everything” so wor wonton soup has pork wontons plus chicken, BBQ pork slices, shrimp and vegetables. Adventurous eaters can try cold shredded duck with slightly chewy jellyfish that has been salt cured and dried in ribbons. Or get the steamed boneless duck feet with spicy sauce.
Share These Dishes
Most dishes are Cantonese-style with a few mild Szechuan dishes (add chili oil from the table for more heat). Sizzling pots are good for sharing but beware the cast iron pans: They come on a blistering-hot board. Options include slices of breaded and fried grouper and bean curd; briny oysters with ginger and scallions; and lamb stew with dried bean curd skin.
The hot pots are cooked with dried shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, snow peas, chunks of garlic and coins of ginger. If you order the frog hot pot, know that they are served bone-in. Two of the biggest draws here are Peking duck and Cantonese roasted duck stuffed with spices, then rubbed in a mixture of salt, honey and vinegar and roasted. The barbecue combination has roast duck, marinated roast chicken and pork. Or try the half roast duck or half crispy chicken with garlic. There’s also salt-baked pork chops, beef with snow peas, and meaty umami-rich king oyster mushrooms stir-fried with tender-crisp lotus root. Be sure to order Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. The greens have crunchy stems and baby-kale-like leaves coated in the thick sweet-salty-smoky oyster sauce.
What Makes It Special
Owners Zhiwen Wu and his son Christian are in the kitchen with a Vietnamese chef who grew up in China. You can also spot Christian waiting tables and interacting with guests. and on days he isn’t in the kitchen. Zhiwen immigrated from the port city of Guangzhou, in Hong Kong, to Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, more than 30 years ago where he married a Venezuelan woman, and together they opened a Chinese restaurant there. Christian grew up in the restaurant and father taught him to cook, passing his recipes and techniques down as the family has done for generations.
If you go
The place: King Palace Chinese BBQ Restaurant
Address: 330 NE 167th Street, Miami
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Prices: Appetizers $6.95-$12.95, soups $11.95-$16.95, mains $11.95-$18.95
FYI: Lunch specials $8.50, dinner specials $10.50-$11.50