They call it “Feasts of Fury” and furiously good are the eats in this restaurant. It is part of the same chain of restaurants owned by actor/entrepreneur Marvin Agustin. Personally, I like the food in this restaurant. I like the prices even more. For those who frequent SM Manila, this restaurant is a welcome respite from the usual salty and greasy Chinese fast food that we have come to know. There is more to the KFK (Kungfu Kitchen) than just the savory flavors of authentic Cantonese cooking. Here you will find the marriage of affordability with high quality ingredients. I think such effort put in every dish is respect for the diners, the kind we hardly find in other fast casual restaurants.
The movie buff will find a lot to love about the decor. Their chops don’t necessarily end with pork. I love what they’ve done with the place and the references to Stephen Chow movies. If you remember Stephen Chow in “Kung Fu Hustle” then we’re on the same page.
The bathroom is quite the spectacle too. They play Chinese pop music and sometimes music from an unknown era. So while you do your business, the music actually keeps you entertained, as it has done to me. Some of Stephen Chow’s movies employ the use of music to add to the humor. Sound is half the movie, right?
My thoughts on American-Chinese cuisine
It is such an oxymoron to me, but alas, there is such a thing. Chinese food is like the English language. Everybody eats it and everybody has their own version of it, us Pinoys being no exception. American Chinese cuisine is like a watered-down version of the real thing. Americans are so afraid of MSG and the possible health risks posed by it, but why do they keep using it?
One reason is the lack of ingredients. Things like bird spit and abalone were unavailable in the US back in the early 20th century, as a result, Chinese immigrants had to look for suitable substitutes from what was available in the area. Authentic and traditional Chinese cuisine packs quite the punch for the uninitiated palate. Real Chinese food is more than just MSG and peanut grease; it is a philosophy, a belief system that is totally foreign to the American market, who only want a little of everything.
My second reason is that the American palate, at that time, was not ready for authentic Chinese flavors. Strong and pungent smells that permeate through the room are attributes of Chinese cuisine and Americans are not willing to tolerate such. Thus their own version. Dishes like Egg Foo Young and Kung Pao chicken are as American as they are Chinese. However, purists will disagree since the American versions are nowhere near their Chinese originals. Egg Foo Young is not known in the Philippines because our version of Chinese food is more authentic mainly because of our proximity to mainland China and looser import laws.
I personally think American Chinese food is a bane to people who want the real thing. Even to those who are not familiar with authentic Chinese food should actually go and try the real thing before they go for the watered-down version.
Kung Fu Kitchen is found on the fourth floor of SM Manila near the cinemas. I hope you try dining in this restaurant and enjoy it as much as I have.