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Spotlight: Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen

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I’m sure the staff at Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen were just trying to be nice. They were effusive in their greeting when I walked into the strip mall storefront restaurant on East Colonial Drive. And the young man who took my order had a smile on his face at all times.

But no one could quite believe me when I told them, multiple times, I didn’t need the fork they kept trying to place on my table. The chopsticks were fine, I said. Not showing off, I just think Chinese food tastes better when the proper utensils are utilized. And I eat less.

I had stopped in on a whim, noticing as I drove by the banner out front announcing Dim Sum, Roast Duck and Crispy Pork.

Since it was noon, a lunch special menu was in effect, which allowed for an ample array of the restaurant’s signature dishes along with a choice of soup or egg roll and white or fried rice. I went with soup — the egg drop — and pork fried rice to go with my main course of Hunan Chicken.

The soup was a deep yellow and had feathery wisps of egg. It was a bit too thickened for my tastes — I prefer that my soup not jiggle — but it was hot and the flavor was good.

The Hunan Chicken featured bite-sized pieces of meat sauteed with broccoli florets, snow peas, baby corn and red bell pepper chunks. Although it’s generally meant to be a spicy dish, this one was more subdued. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s always done or if the kitchen was toning it down, the equivalent of giving me a fork.

The pork fried rice was delicious and had nice chewy hunks of meat in it, as well as bits of egg and scallions.

I also couldn’t resist ordering something from the dim sum menu, presented in both written and pictorial versions. The offerings are also split into small, medium, large and weekend specials headings. I had the Steamed Roast Pork Bun, which, though from the small section, was a large enough serving to take some home for later. The delicate balls of dough were filled with a well seasoned barbecue mixture.

The dining room is spacious and tastefully appointed. Tables are covered with cloths topped with glass. Red lanterns hang from the suspended-panel ceiling. If you step around to the back of the dining room, you’ll see the roast ducks hanging in a display case.

I’m glad I stumbled upon Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen. I almost took a different route that day and I might never have noticed it. I’m glad I took the right fork in the road.

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