By Carol Brock
181-08 Union Turnpike
To visit the South Seas, you could spend a lot of time and money.
Or, you could go to the Polynesian Room at King Yum at 181-08 Union Turnpike in Flushing. Open the door and you are in the South Seas with palm trees and bamboo chairs and lots of bamboo and Polynesian masks. Of course, the chandeliers are fashioned from seashells. There are little “huts” along the side for dining, and a bamboo-bedecked bandstand for the DJ.
On Wednesday ($10 minimum) and Friday ($15 minimum) nights there's Karaoke.; things get noisy and you can opt to dine in the sedate China Room.
Dim Ka, the original owner, keeps adding on and renovating every five years. Thirty years ago he added the Polynesian Room.
Shades of Trader Vic 's in San Francisco and Chicago characterize King Yum. Trader Vic was famous for specialty drinks with embellishments of cherry and orange slices and those little Japanese umbrellas.
When you open King Yum's menu there are 11 of these delightful concoctions, each with a sketch and listing of ingredients: lover's gold cup, tabu for two, zombie and pina colada, frozen daiquiris and mai tais. King Yum's special is a smooth concoction with pineapple juice and a lemon accent. The boco loco is coconut milk and light rum served in a fresh coconut shell. Not too sweet and not too filling. – most delicious.
The cuisine is mostly Chinese with Polynesian numbers included -the pu pu platter afire, for two persons, Thai chicken sticks, Hawaiian pork, duck Hawaiian, chicken Hawaiian and chicken Tahiti, paper-wrapped chicken, and King Yum's special dessert: a fusion of two ice creams, kumquats, pineapple chunks, and red Jello cubes topped off with fortune cookies.
Fifteen appetizers are listed besides the signature pu pu platter. The King Yum special is shredded chicken, roast pork, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.
Our cold sesame noodles were an interesting start-off, and the farmer soup a nice addition to the 11 soups from winter melon to roast pork yat gaw mein. It had bits of chicken (that's where the farmer comes in, I presume) and lots of rice noodles and slivers of water chestnuts adding crunch.
From the Hunan and Szechuan specialties let me enthuse about a ying and yang number of beef with scallops. The beef is like minute steak, the scallops large, in a brown sauce with tiny ears of corn, fluted carrot slices (wafer thin and very pretty), snow pea pods and mushrooms. It had a pleasing hotness to it.
The chicken dish, goon bo gal ding, with peas and assorted veggies was very mild – out of character. By all means try the veggies. The sauteed snow pea pods is a bright green delight. Or try green beans with garlic sauce.
There are several options when dining at King Bum. You can have a house dinner with eight courses with several selections for each course. That one dish is served to the entire table. For example, choose an hors d'oeuvre from shrimp toast, dem sum or paper wrapped chicken.
For the appetizer course choose from the King Yum special roll, Singapore beef or jumbo fan tail shrimp. Next course: Will it be barbecued spareribs or fried dumplings? Or something else?
The family dinner is a column A , column B arrangement, with eggroll or shrimp toast and dessert. And then there are the Hunan and Szechuan specialties including two noodle dishes: Singapore mel fun and har moon mei fun.
A word must be added about the service: It is red-jacketed and most competent. It's hard to fathom that King Yum has been there under the same ownership for so many years. It's so vibrant.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Spacious Polynesian Room and China Room with decor to match. Chinese and some Polynesian cuisine. Competent service. DJ Wednesdays and Saturdays in Polynesian Room. Forty-seven years under same ownership.
Pu Pu Platter (on the fire)….for two
Hot and Sour Soup…$2.85
Lobster with Ginger. and
Gen. Tao's Chicken…$11.55
Seafood Go Bar…$21.50
Food: Chinese, Polynesian
Setting: Polynesian Room and
Hours: L & D 7 days
Location: Near Utopia Parkway
Off-premise catering: No
Noise level: Polynesian – DJ Wed.
& Fri. China Room - quiet
Private parties: Polynesian to 100.
Chinese to 100
Music: Karaoke Wed. and Fri.
Credit cards: All major. (except
Handicapped accessible: Yes