John Lee, a second generation restaurateur who grew up in the kitchen, welcomes everyone to the China King located at 1320 Colborne St. E, formerly the Danny’s Ho-Ho and before that the PowWow. The China King boasts a broad-ranging menu, but specializes in spicy Sichuan and Hunan style Chinese Food items to dine in or take out. Their 20K Chicken, will bring you back time and time again. Photo and review by Jim Windle
BRANTFORD – If you like your Chinese food with a Sichuan and Hunan kick, then China King is the place to be. John Lee and his friendly and courteous staff will take you on a culinary journey a little east of your average Chinese restaurant.
Although you will find familiar dishes, China King specializes in offering menu items a little different from most standard run of the mill Chinese restaurants.
“We have different items on the menu that you don’t see on standard Chinese Food menus,” says Mr. Lee. “Our dishes are more original combination platters and different choices, as well as usual the Chinese restaurant dishes.”
But even they have a unique China King twist. The Spicy Chicken Chop Suey, for example, takes the humble Chop Suey dish to a completely new level. And that is only one of the many items you will find on the wide-ranging menu.
“We are known for our spicy dishes,” says Lee. “Actually, about 90% of our dishes are spicy, and our customers like it that way.”
John Lee is a second-generation restaurateur who grew up in the kitchen, under the tutelage of his parents, Meili and Chinghua Lee.
The Lees left their home in Taiwan in 1983 and landed in Santa Barbara CA, where Chinghua learned his craft working as a cook.
In the early 1990’s, he took his first stab at the restaurant industry, in Washington D.C. before coming to Canada and Brantford in 1993, where the Lees opened the first China King in Cainsville, at 1392 Colborne St. E.
Eight-years ago, when Danny’s Ho-Ho, located just up the street at 1320 Colborne St. E. closed, the Lees bought the building and said good-bye to the original site for a new one, expanding into a site four times the size of the old location, with just under 10,000 sq. feet of space.
The China King can now accommodate banquets, wedding rehearsals and receptions, anniversary parties, corporate parties and meetings of all kinds.
They brought their unique menu items and years of experience with them, but also brought their very loyal clientele who have become hooked on China King’s original style and friendly service.
“We have a lot of regular customers who have been with us since we opened, many from Six Nations/New Credit,” says John, who is now managing the new China King.
“Now we are seeing a second generation of customers,” he says. “Their kids are all grown up and now, and they are bringing their own families.”
China King is not a buffet style but rather more of a fine dining atmosphere with friendly and courteous people serving you at tables. That gives John and his staff a better chance to meet with the customers and get to know them.
Customer’s service is a lost art in some circles, but not at China King where customers are considered friends to John and his staff, in a warmly lit dinning room, and reasonably priced dishes in large portions.