By Tana Kosiyabong
Despite being Kent’s Kitchen loyal customer for years, I hesitated to write a review about them at first. Up until recently, I had only ordered take-out from this restaurant. Dining at Kent’s Kitchen was a bit of a challenge for me. Sometimes the restaurant was full of customers with striking characters (the kind I didn’t want to look at while eating). Frankly, I was too gross out to eat there.
Nonetheless, a few of weeks ago I decided that it was time to face the devil in the name of the blog. I must at least give it a try. All experience is good experience. A little bit of unappetizing environment won’t hurt anybody.
Kent’s Kitchen is a cafeteria style Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, Vancouver. It offers about forty varieties of precooked Chinese dishes. For $4.50, you can get two toppings on steam rice (guesstimated about two pounds of food on the plate.) Add 25 cents to substitute rice with Chow Mein, or $1.25 more for special toppings (the staffs will let you know if you choose one of these items.)
Kent’s Kitchen offers one of the biggest bangs for your bucks. That’s why it is so popular the restaurant had to introduce a ticket system earlier this year. All customers must now take a number from the ticket dispenser and wait for their turns to order.
At lunch time, it was like a mayhem inside Kent’s Kitchen. The small cafeteria was jam-packed with both dine-in and take-out customers. Once my turn, I ordered the roasted chicken leg quarter and stir-fried mushrooms with beef and green onions on steam rice ($4.50). I normally go for steam rice because I try to watch my daily fat intake. For a 25 cents more, however, Chow Mein is definitely a better value. After almost four years of ordering take-outs, I was about to dine in this restaurant for the first time.
Since the food was precooked, it was a matter of seconds before the staff handed me a dish full of food. There were still a couple seats available, but I had to sit with a stranger who looked as if he was on day 28 of the Survivor. I would bet that he hadn’t hit a shower for a while now. After pep-talking myself to focus on the mission, I headed to an empty seat opposite to him and sat down. Then I started to take pictures of the dish I ordered. That stranger began to looked at me as if I were a weirdo. “The feeling are mutual, buddy.” I thought to myself as I ignored him.
The roasted chicken leg quarter is one of my favorite dishes at Kent’s Kitchen. Star Anise gave the chicken sweet and smokey aroma. The soft, gelatinous skin might turn off some customers’ appetite, but definitely not mine. It was quite tasty. The chicken meat was juicy and delicious. For $1.75 each, I normally took a few of them home. These leg quarters usually sold out by 2pm.
Stir-fried mushrooms with beef and green onions was another favourite of mine. The mushrooms were cooked enough to get rid of the raw flavor, yet still firm to bite. Beef added meaty taste to the dish which I like. Green onion complemented the beef and mushroom really well.
Not all the dishes at Kent’s Kitchen are good eats. Some are so greasy you can easily light them on fire; a few are quite plain. And to keep the price low, they normally use cheap, low quality ingredients.
Compared to the rotisserie chicken meal at Urban Fare I reviewed last November, Kent’s Kitchen roasted chicken with mushroom on rice was a steal ($3.09 cheaper).
Dining at Kent’s Kitchen was a challenging, yet interesting experience. I’m glad that I made myself go through it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. For those of you who are up for this offbeat culinary adventure, you should give this mission a try. You never know who you’ll ended up sitting next to. However, I’d rather order take-out next time.
Kent’s Kitchen roasted chicken leg quarter: ©©©© 1/2
Kent’s Kitchen stir-fried mushrooms with beef and green onion: ©©© 3/4
Remaining Budget: $337.30
Budget Spent: -$4.50.
Budget Available: $332.80
Kent’s Kitchen is located at 232 Keefer Street, Vancouver, Canada. (Phone) 604.669.2237
Note to my beloved readers:
Since my accumulated vacation days are about to expire, I decided to take a few weeks off to go to Japan and Thailand. No worries, you still have a new story to read every Monday even while I’m away. This story is my last scheduled posts. I will post a fresh story next Monday. Please feel free to comment on this post as usual. Although I am unable to reply right away, I promise to do so when I come back from the vacation. So don’t be shy:) I look forward to telling you about my Cheap Appetite missions in Japan and Thailand soon. Wish me luck:)
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