I love Chinese food but if I have to pick my favorite among all Chinese regional cuisines, I have to pick the Cantonese cuisine. Kung Pao Shrimp is basically on every Chinese restaurant's menu in America. Yet Kung Pao Shrimp just tastes very different in every Chinese restaurant I visit. I prefer the less saucy and less spicy kind of Kung Pao Shrimp that is rendered by the Cantonese chefs. Kung Pao Shrimp is a variation of the Kung Pao Chicken in China's Szechuan cuisine. The best Kung Pao Shrimp I ever had was in one of the side street diners in Hong Kong years ago when my parents first took me there for a summer trip. It was the first time I ever had Kung Pao anything, and I will never forget the thrill of it. I was sitting at a table on a packed street with no air-conditioning but I had a blast and I consider that dinner to be one of the best I ever had. I could see the chefs cooking on their roaring fire on one side of the street and then waiters fishing out live lobsters and fishes from the fish tanks on the other side of the street. As a little kid, I was so mesmerized by the bustle and hustle of the cooking action. I was totally hypnotized by all kinds of delicious smell floating in the air. Back then I could care less about the name of the dish. All I knew was I felt that I had the best food in my life at the time (for my very short existence of only 8 years in this world).
Since then, I have been trying to find the same great Kung Pao Shrimp in America. While I haven't yet found the Kung Pao Shrimp that tasted as good as the one I had during the summer trip in Hong Kong, I am lucky enough to find Kung Pao Shrimp that is decent. Even though Kung Pao shrimp is supposed to be a Szechuan dish, but I always feel that Cantonese Chinese restaurants produce better Kung Pao Shrimp than the Szechuan restaurants. To my own palette, Cantonese chefs' rendition of Kung Pao Shrimp has just the right seasoning that is neither too hot nor too sweet. The shrimp is also not drowned in sweet brown sauce like the ones produced by many American Szechuan restaurants. I don't like Chinese stir fries that are too saucy. I have to admit though I had never been to any Szechuan restaurant outside the USA. May be I will be equally in love with the Kung Pao Shrimp produced by the more authentic Szechuan restaurants.
Until then, I feel fortunate to be living just a short drive away from a Cantonese restaurant that serves decent Kung Pao Shrimp at $7.95 during lunch hours.
Address: 2166 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717
Phone:(310) 326-3228 Hours: Friday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm