Panda Kitchen, Somerville
We chow down when we hit Howick. It’s one of my family’s favourite areas for Asian eating, and that’s available in droves in the Meadowlands shopping area. So is carparking these days, which is a relief. The four of us hit up five-ish dishes and we spent very little and ate very much. We had mixed success with our food choices, but you end up getting a lot of portion for the price and the service is warm and friendly. The ambience is more clinical, though it’s the kind of place where my parents will bump into one of their casino buddies. A recommended choice for the area.
Congee is a appropriate food for any time of the day, and we started off our lunch with a shared bowl of the preserved egg and pork ($6). We got six bowls out of it so fantastic value and we liked the flavour with a generous helping of pork in the mix too. Laughably cheap and a real crowd pleaser, so much that we ordered another.
We were also impressed by the fried rice noodle ($10), in roast pork variety. Well cooked, good amount of pork belly and again, ridiculously good value. Beansprouts, carrots, onions and chives colour the mixture.
We had heard the claypot rice was popular at Panda Kitchen, and judging by the build up of ash on the bowls, it looked to be much the case. We had the chinese sausage claypot rice ($12). At first glance it looked impressive but the rice in the mix was dry, and with the preserved pork, it felt ever drier. The claypot execution wasn’t what we had been expecting, the ones we usually had in Malaysia were a bit more saucier. And with with the claypot cooking a bit more char happening. Could be just us, though.
There was the other round of congee (the fish, bleh!), until our next dish, which most certainly was saucy. The sweet and sour pork ($10) was my choice as I enjoyed the sauce and pork for the most part. Another huge helping, though the rice was the same as the one in the claypot and was too dry for our taste. The pork was chunky and would have preferred smaller parts. Everything came out fresh and quick with the first bites of the pork jumping from our fork to our mouthes.
At Panda Kitchen there’s good choices (so many of them!), and so much food for your buck.