Great Food with an iffy staff…to say the least.
Evoking the word “cafeteria” can dredge up awful memories for Americans.
After all, the first image that comes to mind are the mind-numbingly bad lines you had to wait in for food at your local public school. The lines were bad. The food was worse.
Designed to be purchased in mass quantities for a low price, and cooked to be as safe (i.e. overcooked so no one can get food poisoning, or flavor) and inoffensive (no spices…or flavor) as possible.
Thus, one can may be excused for getting the heebie-jeebies walking into a Cafeteria like situation. Even though places like Maddalena over at the San Antonio Winery have proven that such fears are not justified.
Which brings us to Kang Kang Food Court. (No Website).
It was a hankering for Dumplings that brought me here, and Kang Kang Food Court claims to have some of the best Pan fried small bao in the city.
Okay, I’ll take them up on that.
Approaching Kang Kang Food Court from the Valley Blvd. is a little intimidating. After all, the restaurant looks practically flush against the road, with maybe three spots in front of it.
Worry not. The Parking situation is way better than it looks.
You walk inside and are immediately overwhelmed by the choices available. And Kang Kang Food Court has got everything. They’ve got Dumplings, they’ve Fried Chicken wings, they’ve got veggies, Boba…heck, they even got Snow Ice. All under one roof.
Immediately, you start to wonder about the quality. Americans have been burned before by warming lamp cuisine. You wonder how good it is, how fresh it…
More I think about it. The less I worry.
Then again, the fact that there’s this four year old kid who’s come in with his Mother and Sister, and he’s freaking out over the stuff in one of the refrigerators is a good sign.
Man, he must really be into Boba.
Basically, you walk in, and…if you’re looking for Dumplings like I was, head right for the counter. If anything else tempts you along the way, go for it. The Dumplings have to be cooked up per order.
Like I said, not worried.
Getting my food, that’s what’s worrying me.
It’s been about twenty minutes. Should I be getting worried here? I mean I see all these people walking up tot he counter, getting their food, and…well…I’m not one of them.
Then again, I think I’m the only person who’s ordered Dumplings, so…
Actually, there’s another person here now. He’s also waiting, so…don’t feel that bad no more.
Well, now that the guy next to me has gotten his dumplings, and another family across from me has gotten their dumplings, I’m getting a little madder now.
We’re talking 35 minutes.
Turns out that the fine folks at Kang Kang Food Court decided (on their own) that my order was a to-go order.
Right. I’m sitting there, in full view of the Cash Register…for 35 minutes, and they wrapped my order up in the back and let it sit there.
Good news, though. They wrapped it up so well that the Dumplings were still hot when they served them to me. (And yes, I started eating ’em right then and there.)
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Despite the pain, despite the wait…despite the long, long wait, you should still get the Shanghainese Dumplings. They’re in between the size of a baseball and a golfball. They’re perfectly pan-fried on the bottom, with a nugget of pork sitting in a bath of soup. They’re just like the kind of Dumplings you have at Din Tai Fung, only…not.
They’re thicker for one, instead of a light doughy shell, imagine a shell made out of steamed bread. You’ll have to work just a bit harder to open up a small hole (through which you’ll slurp out the steaming hot soup of said dumpling), but after that, things go normally. Munch, dip in Vinegar, enjoy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Okay, I like Kang Kang Food Court‘s Food. I like their dumplings. I don’t know how much on the ball their staff is, given the story I just told. So, all I can recommend is keep an eye on them.
Looking at Yelp, I have to warn you that I’m not the only person who has complaints about the service. There are notes about rudeness amongst both the customers and the service staff, so go in, and be aware.
Also, this place is Cash Only.
Kang Kang Food Court
27 E. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Tel: (626) 308-3898
Daily: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm