181-08 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows; 718-380-1918
King Yum, established in 1953, is the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant in Queens (Wo Hop, in NYC's chinatown, opened in 1939). This makes it probably one of the oldest in the country as well.
(edit: Hawaii has some that are considerably older -- Wo Fat in Honolulu opened in 1882 (rebuilt twice) and Lau Yee Chai (demolished and moved locations in 1968) since 1929, and San Francisco has Hang Ah Tea Room, 1920. None of these have continuously operated under the original owners/families to my knowledge, however).
King Yum's original owner, Jimmy Eng, 84 and still going strong in the restaurant biz after 51 years, is a man of legend. He doesnt look a day over 60.
All of the Tiki/Polynesian fixtures you see here, including the bar and all the bamboo accoutriments (all the walls in the main dining room are paneled with bamboo, the place looks the restaurant that used to be in the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney world), are ORIGINAL. The restaurant appears as its was, back in 1953, with little or no changes. This also goes for its food -- it was created for a simpler time in our country's history, and when this particular neighborhood -- Hollis Hills/Hillcrest/Fresh Meadows -- was 90 percent Jewish. You know the adage about not opening a Chinese Restaurant unless you have Jews in the area? It was probably started because of the huge success of this place. The local synagogue is only about 300 feet away, just down the block.
This is a shot of their Subgum Wonton Soup for 2 -- it contains fried wontons, as well as big slices of roast pork, white meat chicken, shrimp, bok choy, mushrooms, water chestnuts and snow peas.
A portion of the wonton soup in a retro chinese soup bowl.
These are King Yum's famous egg rolls. As you can see from the closeups, these contain ample amounts of roast pork AND shrimp, and even the cabbage has a strong pork taste in it, due to the penetration of the grease. These are AWESOME egg rolls and are the benchmark to which I compare others to.
The "Boco Loco", one of the many Polynesian drinks that can be ordered from their drink menu. Yes, its served in a coconut.
Shrimp in Lobster Sauce. The classic, the way it is meant to be.
House Special Fried Rice. The way you remember it used to taste.
No, this is not the Horta from the classic Star Trek episode, "Devil in the Dark". It is no less scary though -- Pork Egg Foo Young, smothered in gravy. It is as delicious as it is scary.
A blurry shot of the main dining room -- I had a few sips of that polynesian drink. It was STRONG.
Edited by Jason Perlow, 06 June 2004 - 11:48 AM.