Small Bite: China King

A new Chinatown restaurant has a scant eight tables and a few tasty dishes.

Steamed pork buns

Steamed pork buns. (Photo by Glenn Scott.)

The Vibe:
Located on Beach Street in Chinatown, China King is a homecoming of sorts for chef-owner Erwin Mei. Years ago, he won a cult following at the now-defunct King Fung Garden in Chinatown before moving the operation out to Brookline as King Fung Garden II. His latest venture is tiny, with bright red walls and a scant eight tables.

The Food:
For a low-key meal, start with the Szechuan-pickle-and-pork noodle soup ($6.50); the cloudy, super-porky broth benefited from a bright hit of the white vinegar and the sliced fresh ginger provided on the table. The sea jellyfish ($8.95) was chewy and flavorless instead of snappy and garlicky, and the chow fun noodles ($7.50) were clumpy and undersauced. Instead, go for the crunchy salt-and-pepper-fried shrimp with scallions ($11.95) and the succulent steamed pork buns ($6.95 for eight, pictured above).

The Verdict:
China King isn’t yet a destination in its own right, but those crispy shrimp and excellent pork buns make it a worthy place to keep in rotation.

China King, 60 Beach St., Boston, 617-542-1763.

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