Chowking is a Philippine based company supposedly established around 1985 by a Robert Kwon. As most Filipino Chinese businessmen, little is known of how they started and how they achieved success. What is known is that their menu was limited to noodle soups, dim sum and rice toppings. And by 1989 they started expanding despite the unfavorable market. I really feel bad when an emerging family owned company decides to sell instead of trying to manage a growing business but that’s exactly what happened when Robert Kwon decided to sell Chowking to Jollibee, the Philippines version of McDonald’s (cue facial grimace; pun unintended).
Honestly, I haven’t entered a Chowking store without feeling I’d hit the other people eating on the other tables beside mine If I stand up to either get something or leave. We just happen to arrive here minutes before closing time. It’s quite claustrophobic and would appreciate it if they decide to lessen the tables. The other issue I have with their restaurants is the varied noises you will hear while dining; noise from too many people talking, noise from the service crew cleaning and noise from the kitchen. So as far as my rate goes, it is one out of five stars.
I really didn’t want to think of individual dishes for each on so I ordered the Family Lauriat Set C. Supposedly enough for three persons, the meal consists of five pieces of breaded fried chicken, pancit canton (chow mein), chopsuey, three cups of rice and three softdrinks of your choice. I say supposedly because I can certainly vouch that it would actually feed up to four people. Just order another cup of rice and a glass of beverage. The whole package costs Php 399.00 (US$ 9.16).
Nothing really special about the breaded chicken, just flour, pepper and salt and deep fried to a deep golden brown but as far as fried chickens go this is very tasty. A word of caution though, the amount of salt put into the chicken is ideal for eating with plain rice or even a bland mashed potato side dish, not as a meal alone. Five out of five stars for my rating.
Pancit Canton is what we call our chow mein noodle recipe. To folks who are unfamiliar, basically it’s stir fried egg noodles with carrots, runner beans, cabbage, shrimps, chicken and/or pork meat simmered in meat broth so the flavor sticks to the ingredients then seasoned with salt and pepper. The taste is good by my standards but the serving however is just enough for two. Good thing there is another dish along with it. My rate for the chow mein is three and a half stars.
Chop Suey is more or less made the same ways as chow mein sans the egg noodles. The main difference probably is the thickened sauce from the same broth as the chow mein with the use of corn starch. Three and a half stars as well for my rate on this dish.