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Thread: Kung Fu Restaurants & Bars

  1. #1
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    Kung Fu Restaurants & Bars

    How did this one get by me for so long?
    Kungfu Fast Food in China

    Most of you probably don't know, but I actually worked for McDonald's Australia for 15 years in many different capacities from store operations to new business development.

    As such, I still have a soft spot for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants - or fast food joints if you prefer) and whenever I see or go into one I am judging the operation in terms of QSC (quality, service and cleanliness) and in terms of the business itself. I must admit that I also get excited when I discover a new brand.

    Today was one of those days when I had my first encounter with Kungfu.

    They are a modern QSR serving Chinese food, their point of differentiation was the fact that the food was healthy (steamed meats, soups and quick boiled vegetables), and they have Bruce Lee on everything!

    Sabrina and I had lunch at the store in Hong Kong Plaza on Huahai Lu (its inside behind KFC). So here is my critique:

    Service
    The service was very quick and attentive, however it was very haphazard. We ordered and the cashier was very friendly and helped us with the menu, but when we ordered at one cash register he walked back to the middle of the counter and punched in the order. Then over the top of all the customers he yelled over to Sabrina the amount that was due. She then had to fight her way through the lining up customers to get to the register to pay. Not a nice experience.

    The other problem was with the disclosure of what was in certain dishes (this is a common China problem). Sabrina doesn't eat pork, so we ordered a beef and a chicken meal with an egg custard dish on the side. Once we got the egg custard dish, there was a funny grey meat in it. After quizzing the staff it turned out that it was pork. The food providers in this country need to get their act together and disclose the contents of some products. This is particularly crucial for the upcoming Olympics and World Expo 2010 as it will drive hundreds of thousands additional visits over the next 10 years, many of these people will be Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc with particular beliefs. It would be very easy to ruin someones experience in China with an innoculous egg custard.

    On the positive side, the manager happily replaced the offending egg custard with another dish, so full points for service and customer care after the fact.

    Food
    The style of food would be described as modern casual Chinese. It consisted of steam rice with mushrooms, noodles, soup, beef with rice, soy milk etc. You can see more here.

    The food quality was great. Everything was hot and fresh and tasted very good.

    We had to wait for the beef noodle soup, but it was delivered quickly.

    The boiled lettuce in strange brown sauce was ok - a bit more up Sabrina's alley than mine.

    The food was all served in branded melamine bowls with lids - even the spoons were melamine and had the Bruce Lee image. This kept the food hot and made the eating experience more like that of a traditional restaurant (ie cutlery and crockery) although the chopsticks and cups were disposable.

    The prices were reasonable, 16 RMB for a meal with some steamed chicken & mushroom, rice and soy milk - and only 6RMB for a small bowl of beef noodle soup (and it wasn;t really that small).

    Decor & Cleaniness
    The decor was great. The colours, furniture and lighting was very modern, acctractive and comfortable. The store was absolutely spotless. There was not an uncleared table in the store when we entered, not a mark on the floor or the windows. What I could see of the kitchen was clean and tidy as well.

    Branding
    They have certainly positioned the name and imagery to capture the youth market. Huge Bruce Lee pitures abound and his iconic image appears on everything from the signs, cups, bowls to the tray mats (I wonder about the licensing of his image!?).

    The Bruce Lee images made me think of them running birthday parties with a martial arts host instead of a clown. Might catch on!

    The quality of the branding and the image they portrayed overall shows that a great deal of money and developmenbt time has gone into these stores.

    Overall I rate it a good experience, good value for money in a very clean and enjoyable decor. I hope to see more of them soon.

    Kungfu is owned by Global Fast Food Chains and is based in Guangzhou. They operate a total of 106 stores in China, 46 of them being in Dongguan (only 3 in Shanghai at the moment).
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    Kung Fu Bing in NYC

    OK, someone here from NYC has GOT to go to the grand opening of this place!
    Mysterious New Chinese Fast Food Franchise: Kung Fu Bing
    By Sarah DiGregorio in DiGregorio, Featured
    Wednesday, Jul. 8 2009 @ 3:37PM

    Despite appearances to the contrary, this soon-to-open fast food joint in Chinatown probably has nothing to do with the movie Kung Fu Panda. It calls itself KFB for short, a play for the easily confused KFC crowd. Kung Fu Bing seems to specialize in some sort of flaky bread, also called a Kung Fu Bing, which you can get plain, or wrapped around items like sausage, egg, and cheese. The menu also lists bubble tea and juices.

    A lengthy Internet search for the restaurant and/or the food called Kung Fu Bing yielded nothing except this--anyone read Serbian? LQQM -- letters listed next to the name of the restaurant -- seem to be an Internet news provider out of Beijing. A call to the franchise hotline got no answer, shunted to a strangely generic voicemail box.

    The guy inside the shop said KFB should be open in a few days, at which point the exact nature of a Kung Fu Bing will be revealed.

    Kung Fu Bing
    Southeast corner of Eldridge and Division streets
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #3
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    doug should go there and fill us in on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  4. #4
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    I swear to God I have nothing to do with this

    I know the author's name is Gene, but when I use a nom de plume, it's much less obvious.

    Kung Fu Tacos Serves Up Budget Fusion in the FiDi
    By Gene Miguel in Cheap Eats, Miguel
    Tuesday, Aug. 25 2009 @ 11:41AM

    "East meets South...of the border," claims Kung Fu Tacos, a new lunchtime taco truck that couples Asian-inspired flavors with a Latin twist. Kung Fu Tacos offers a menu that features multiple variations, including a vegetarian option, all heaped in fresh-made La Palma tortillas. Kung Fu Tacos starts serving weekdays at around 11:15 a.m., from the corner of Sansome and Jackson in the Financial District. Follow them on Twitter for updates.

    On a recent visit, we started with the Mu Shu Veggies taco ($2), which combined shiitake and cloud ear mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, and onions. The flavor was great, like eating a miniature vegetable stir-fry. The shiitakes in particular give the taco a slightly sweet flavor and nicely chewy texture.

    The Wu Shu Char Siu ($3) featured traditional glazed BBQ pork topped with mango salsa and onions. The pork was salty and sweet, as it should be, but the mango salsa overpowered the flavor of the pork a bit. A squeeze of lime helped neutralize the mango's sweetness.

    The Nun Chuck Chicken ($2) brought grilled chicken marinated in garlic-ginger sauce, topped with onions, cilantro, carrots, and a spicy Asian salsa, apparently Sriracha mixed with ginger. Served in large chunks, the chicken was moist and flavorful. The spicy Asian salsa packs a lot of ginger, which -- depending on whether or not you like ginger - is either good or bad. We liked it, since it added an unexpected layer of flavor.

    Last up was the Asian Asada ($2), grilled strips of thin steak, topped with cilantro, onions, and that spicy Asian salsa. The steak was fairly dry and bland. What flavor it did have came from the Sriracha-ginger salsa, which stood out clearly from the unremarkable steak.

    Unfortunately, Kung Fu Tacos had sold out of the Roast Duck taco ($3) by the time we got there (just before 12:30 p.m.), and by only three people ahead of us in line. No wonder, since the idea of naturally fatty duck topped with mango salsa and hoisin sauce sounded great.

    Overall, aside from the Asian asada, the tacos were quite flavorful, and different enough from each other to warrant future visits (especially to try the duck). The only other gripe is the long lines -- it took us about 30 minutes to order and get our tacos. But since Kung Fu Tacos has only been open a couple of weeks, we expect the lines to subside soon, once everyone has had a chance to check it out.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #5
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    Kung Fu Tacos sounds delish...and I don't normally go for asian chicks!
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

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  6. #6
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    I thought there was another thread on this...

    Will one of you NYC members check this place out and report on it for us here?
    Tasty choices plentiful at Kung Fu kitchen
    By SCOTT CHERRY
    Published: 9/10/2009 2:20 AM
    Last Modified: 9/10/2009 4:51 AM

    Judy Lin said her husband, Xiadi, went to a cooking school in China and has worked in Asian restaurants in the United States much of the past 10 years with an eye toward owning his own place.

    He realized that dream after the couple moved to Tulsa from the New York City area and recently opened Kung Fu Kitchen near 21st Street and Memorial Drive.

    "It was too cold in the winter and there were too many people up there," said Judy Lin, who said she came to the U.S. from China about eight years ago when her father took a job in the States. "We also have a young son and thought this is a good place to raise a family."

    Kung Fu Kitchen offers a cafeteria-style lunch option 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Diners may choose three items among 12 choices to go with soup and fried rice for $5.45.

    The selections are bourbon chicken, chicken with broccoli, sesame chicken, vegetable lo mein, beef with pepper steak, sweet-and-sour chicken, cheese wonton, egg roll, chicken with mushrooms, kung pao chicken, vegetable fried rice and butter shrimp.

    "We get a lot of working people for the lunch special since they usually don't have a lot of time to eat," Lin said. "The rest of the time most of our customers come from the neighborhood."

    Diners also may choose from a 35-item lunch menu with prices ranging from $4.75 to $4.95.

    We ordered two entrees off the vast dinner menu — the Happy Family ($10.95) and shrimp lo mein ($7.45) — and both were giant portions, enough for
    a generous lunch the next day.

    The Happy Family included a decidedly happy combination of shrimp, scallops, pork, chicken, beef, crab, mushrooms, green beans, water chestnuts, broccoli, green peppers and baby corn in a soy-based brown sauce.

    The shrimp in the lo mein were much smaller than the jumbo-sized ones in the Happy Family, and they blended nicely with the long egg noodles and slightly garlicky sauce in this dish.

    Both dishes came with a tasty fried rice that included bits of carrots, peas and onion. Steamed white rice also is available.

    We also shared two standard veggie-filled egg rolls (99 cents each) and an order of cheese-and-crab wontons (six for $3.25). The wontons were huge and crispy with a good cheesy flavor.

    A condiment table included soy sauce, spicy mustard, hot chili sauce and duck sauce for those who want to jazz up their dishes and fortune cookies for good luck.

    The regular menu offers a wide range of appetizers, soups, fried rice, lo mein, mei fun, egg foo young, sweet-and-sour, chicken, beef, seafood, vegetable, combos, specials and family dinners — more than 100 items in all. Lin said the single most popular dish probably has been bourbon chicken.

    The menu also offers two kids' meals, chicken nuggets and sweet-and-sour chicken or pork, both with fried rice for $3.25 each.

    The faux-finished gold walls hold a couple of pictures of desert scenes with cactus, holdovers from the former tenant, Taco Tico. One wall has an oversized hand fan decorated with a painting of a panda bear. Lin said most of the remodeling is found in the open kitchen.

    The dining room has wood-slat booths and laminate tables that seat about 50. Lin said Kung Fu Kitchen, which opened in late July, receives a lot of carryout and call-in orders.

    The restaurant accepts all major credit cards except American Express. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

    KUNG FU KITCHEN
    8720 E. 21st St.
    828-7777
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Will one of you NYC members check this place out and report on it for us here?
    This place is in Tulsa, OK, not NYC.
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    As a mod, I don't have to explain myself to you.

  8. #8
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    There is a Kung Fu restaurant in Las Vegas as well. I don't know if they are related to these as well.

  9. #9
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    Right you are, MK

    My bad. I could have sworn there was another in NYC but I couldn't get it to come up on a search. If I find it, I do the ol' merge fu...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
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    Jackie Chan used to have a ramen and gyouza shop in Shibuya, Tokyo. I was gutted when it closed down, but only cos I lost the chopsticks with the pic of him on I'd nicked so I couldn't get any more. Maybe it closed down cos the food was crap and the chopsticks kept going missing...

    What's gyouza in Chinese? And what's ramen? Always wondered.
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

  11. #11
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    I went to the Bruce Lee eatery in 07 in Shanghai - great fun

  12. #12
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    Watahhhh!

    The Real Kungfu restaurant chain is 309 franchises strong!!!

    Blogging: China Again by BSLG

    China, once seen as offering unlimited growth potential for US fast food brands, is experiencing one of its few challenges in the current economy. Elsewhere in the world, same store sales have stayed strong as consumers trade down from casual dining to QSR for price reasons. But Western fast-food meals are increasingly seen by the Chinese as too expensive and unhealthful. KFC in particular met with early success in China in part because consumers viewed it as cleaner and offering more-hygienic foods. Recent ads and promotional materials there have stressed good value, high quality and healthful lifestyles.

    Overall, health issues are not yet as prominent among Chinese consumers (though 2 years of melamine catastrophes have pushed awareness along at the speed of light). It's the high relative cost of Western QSR dining that has run smack into the current economic downturn. In a recent survey by the marketing research firm Millward Brown found that 78% of Chinese consumers were feeling some effect from the global financial crisis. About half said they were likely to cut down on eating at Western fast-food restaurants. Yum Brands Inc., China's largest restaurant chain with nearly 2,500 KFCs and 416 Pizza Huts, said same-store sales in the country were up just 1% in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with year-earlier growth of 17%.

    In the U.S., Yum’s same-store sales rose 2% in the latest quarter. McDonald’s doesn't report figures for China, where it has about 1,050 stores, but the head of their operations admitted things were “soft” at the end of last year. Joining other US retailers in China, including Wal-Mart, McDonald’s has cut prices on its “value meals” to $2.42, a saving of up to 1/3 on a double cheeseburger, medium-size fries (or cup of corn) and a Coke. Despite the softening, McDonald’s plans on opening 175 stores in the Chinese market, more than anywhere else. Other food and beverage retailers, including Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery, are planning expansion in China.

    Eating out has been growing by double digits there in recent years. The China Cuisine Association estimates sales surged 24% last year to $225bn at the nation's 4 million eating and drinking establishments. KFC, which opened its first store in China in 1987 and has spread into the rural parts of China, and its restaurants there are usually full. Few other foreign retailers in China have yet to enter such smaller markets inland, tending to focus instead on young consumers and the middle class in China's urban centers. Such a strategy is being challenged by the alarming drop-off in overall growth in the coastal cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen as the country’s export juggernaut slows dramatically.

    And the Chinese have been adept students of Western fast food success. Real Kungfu, a chain of 309 restaurants adorned with an image of Bruce Lee in its logo, has its own line “extra value meals” that includes rice, meat and vegetables, steamed egg, soybean milk and green-bean soup for about $2.58.

    How long before Real Kungfu opens in the US?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Punch View Post

    What's gyouza in Chinese? And what's ramen? Always wondered.
    I think Gyouza is either jiaozi (饺子) or guotie (锅贴). It's probably jiaozi but the way they make it in Japan is more similar to the latter (pan fried vs. steamed or boiled for jiaozi).

    As for ramen, most of the time I see the characters 拉面, or lamian, on packages of ramen, regardless of where it is from. However, lamian in Chinese refers to hand pulled noodles. The packaged flashdried stuff we call 方便面 (fangbian mian - convenient noodles), although I have heard other names for it as well. Hope that helps!
    Grantis Mantis
    Grant's Pad

  14. #14
    KFC

    as in Kwangtung Fried Chicken

    ah, memories of CTS and his fried chicken
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Miles View Post
    You sit on benches and swords are on the wall.
    yeah, I understand business wasn't so hot with the way that they had it originally...


    Quote Originally Posted by lkfmdc View Post
    ah, memories of CTS and his fried chicken
    oh thanks - thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of memory repression therapy wasted!

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