BANGKOK RESTAURANT

China Palace

This long-standing Cantonese restaurant does a mean suckling pig and thin-yet-crispy Peking duck.

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

This long-standing Cantonese restaurant is tucked down a small alley on Si Phraya Road. The establishment is a Rama 5-era building with fittingly grand, Chinese-style decoration. On top of traditional dim sum dishes, the highlights here include suckling pig and the thin-yet-crispy Peking duck. You can also expect pricey seafood dishes like the soft-boiled fresh lobster. Be warned, on Sundays the place can get seriously crowded.

This nearly two-decade-old establishment seems to stay on foodies’ radars no matter how much time goes by. Hidden down a tiny soi off Si Phraya Road, this Cantonese kitchen occupies an old Sino-Portuguese house and a modern house next door, where it serves fine Chinese feasts amid a mixed setting of elegant mirrors and tacky brown wood.
 
The low-ceilinged dining room has all the atmosphere of a basement, its round tables all topped with lazy Susans, where an established crowd of aging academics and businessmen come for two main reasons: pricy dim sum at lunchtime and expert Cantonese dishes like barbecued suckling-pig (B2,000) and Peking duck (B990). The latter, especially, is always very impressive, with its crisp skin going perfectly with the sweet sauce that’s got a pungent kick from Chinese liquor. We never fail to be impressed by the accompanying roti that remains soft even at the end of a long meal. Obviously, Peking duck is a big deal here and you can have the meat deep-fried, stir-fried with Chinese fermented beans or miang (stirfried with fresh iceberg lettuce)—all are pretty good.
 
The fried dim sum dishes are superb, too, like the fried Chinese bun stuffed with sweet custard (B70) and thang thong (fried custard stick, B70). Our only complaint would be that the custard tends to be a little too dry. 
 
But in other areas, the restaurant’s standards seem to have slipped, particularly the steamed dim sum dishes. On our last visit, the rolled noodle with scallop (B105) was overcooked, with chunks of non-descripttasting scallop meat, while the ha gao (steamed shrimp dumpling, B125) was conversely a bit underdone. Meanwhile, the steamed fresh ruby fish with soy sauce and goay si mee (stir fried egg noodle, B150) is OK without setting off any fireworks. A dessert like aogi paeguay (sweet ginkgo nuts with mashed taro, B80) is so tasty it’s almost enough to fully restore our faith though.
 
The service is pretty traditional with attentive, uniformed waiters and an all-valet parking reception that makes you feel like a VIP every time. While China Palace just about maintains its reputation for Chinese staples, the kitchen will need to up its game if it plans to contend with Bangkok’s ever-growing dining scene.

This review took place in May 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.

 

 

Venue Details
Address: China Palace, 297 Si Phraya Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-631-5111-3
Area: Si Phraya-Sam Yan
Cuisine: Chinese, Seafood
Price Range: BB - BBB
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-2pm; daily 6-10pm; Sun 10:30am-2pm
Parking available
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