By Benjamin Cost
Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
You might have trouble fathoming how a 40-outlet fast food chain with a name that makes Panda Express sound like a fancy bird’s nest restaurant could ever make our list. But Kung Fu is a different breed of fast food joint which offers the Chinese flavors you’d find at a legitimate sit-down spot, but for cheaper and faster than KFC. On top of that, how many other fast food restaurants can you name that serve medicinal black skin chicken and tree ear mushrooms?
Many sites have already provided the skinny on Kung Fu’s offerings, but we’d like to revisit arguably their tastiest item, the chicken soup; listed as #3 on the menu (24.50RMB, add 5.50 for broccoli). Sure, with its assortment of bones and gnarled foot jutting up from the brothy mire, the chicken soup looks like the watery grave of a ship of poultry. But, after ripping into the fleshy drumstick bobbing in the middle, we were immediately won over, and proceeded to ravenously dissect each morsel.
Some may indeed find the bones, (particularly the chicken feet) hard to assail, but this picking over of body parts is why the soup’s such a catch in our book – epitomizing the Kung Fu mantra of giving you the full Chinese dining experience despite the agreeable prices.
We must also give a shout-out to the dip sauce, a blend of soy (and not the kind you squeeze out of a ketchup packet) and herbs so savory that we tacked on the broccoli side dish just so we could mop it all up. The complementing rice bowl is also good, except for the pork topping which constitutes a measly dollop that seems like it was accidentally dripped on there while the cooks were preparing a different order.
But after draining the broth, both our bellies and wallets were full, and we didn’t sport that token paunch you get after eating at your typical grease vendor.
As of yet, we don’t have a complete address list for the Kung Fu restaurants but here’s one of the more central locations:
Kung Fu – 97 Caoxi Bei Road, near Zhaojiabang Road (漕溪北路97号,近肇家浜路). Tel: (0)21-6487-5469. Hours: 7am-11pm daily.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Abalone @ Dongjun Seafood Restaurant
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!