Gdog at The Daily Kimchi has already done a good take on the China Factory, a new Korean-owned Chinese bistro chain from the company that brought you VIPS Steakhouse.
This definitely isn’t your usual Tangsuyuk and JjajangMyeon Chinese joint, even though the name conjures images of children making shoes in an unventilated warehouse. It’s quite a bit more upscale. I got the impression that it was also a popular haunt of the local ladies who lunch set. Chris P. and I went there last month, where we got some lunch set. Their ding dong call bells also came in three flavors.
After ordering a pot of Earl Grey tea from a great variety, we got to pick from different items on the menu. Here are the notables.
Unlimited Dim Sum refills. They’re all pretty and tasty–even though they all tasted the same.
Smoked Salmon Salad with Capers and an Orange Vinaigrette. Very good. Definitely will get this again. Smokey salmon, tart capers, and a slightly fruity citrus dressing worked well together.
A Seafood Rice Porridge topped with Black Egg. I ordered this because I had never had Black Egg before. Tasted like egg. The porridge tasted like any Juk you’d find in Korea–bland, bland, bland.
Pork Belly Braised with Baby Napa Cabbage and Chinese Five Spice. One of my favorites. Chris said it was okay. I love five spice flavors, and the cut of pork was a big cube of tender meat and fat.
Smoked Duck with Mushrooms. For both of us, this was our favorite dish. We just love duck, and it wasn’t smoked so much that it was hammy. A lot of smoked duck you get in Korea tastes too much like salty ham. This had more of a barbecue flavor. Mushrooms were meaty tasting.
Oh, so pretty! Crispy skin. Ring of juicy flavorful fat. Pink smoky meat.
Chinese-style Chicken Wings. Not bad but not too unique, especially after the Braised Pork and Smoked Duck. Disappointing because we only got four wings smothered in a sweet garlic sauce (a lot like yangyeom chicken) with some panko breadcrumbs thrown on top. The mustard sauce on the side actually went better with the duck than the chicken wings.
The Strawberry Swirled Ice Cream was amazing! Not only was the fruit balanced with the ice cream. It has crunch little bits of what I think was graham cracker crust in there. They also gave us a plate of fresh fruit.
In short, the China Factory is a classy experience (thanks for recommending it, Christina) IF you can handle the price. It’s a good place for a romantic evening.