Kamchi proves Chinese food can be feel-good food


Proving my persistent perceptiveness as a child, I popularized the theory in my family that our beloved local Chinese food restaurant changed their recipes, destroying their once flavorsome food. The restaurant, which shall not be named since I am still very, very upset, betrayed me, driving a tastelessly tarnished knife through my heart full of lo mein, sesame chicken, and egg roll cravings.

After my note of the change of their food—followed by a year of complaints and wasted leftovers—my family made the executive decision to never return, so it’s been a little under a year since I have had Chinese food.

And man, Kamchi proved that wait worth it.

Establishing itself as a rice and noodle place, Kamchi’s opening was tracked by my ecstatic mother; once it had opened on April 8th, we seized the opportunity to go, strolling in the building off Fulton five days later and starving.

An open, modern interior warmly welcomed me and my mother inside like two bundled nomads escaping from the brisk wind. As the only customers, the host quickly sat us in a booth in the corner.

With an explanation that they had just opened recently, our waitress clarified the menu: appetizers and simple things on the front, and the back was sort of like a mix-and-match. You pick a base—a noodle, rice, or vegetable mix—and then a protein. If you’re easily overwhelmed like me, they have pre-selected entrees such as sesame chicken with rice.

I stared in awe of this menu. After all, it had been a long time since I had Chinese food, and Kamchi’s menu was nothing short of appetizing from the simple descriptions provided.

Returning with our drinks—they only have canned sodas at the moment—the waitress gave us her input, and we placed our order.

Though it had taken me a few minutes to reel in cravings and think realistically, I went with the previously mentioned sesame chicken with the “upgraded” fried rice; their description claimed to have the best in town, so who am I if I didn’t see if they were making blasphemous claims?

Additionally, my mother and I came to an agreement on the appetizer after a game of who can say “I don’t know” the most: crab rangoons. As simple as they sound, Kamchi’s overall presentation and concept made me feel as if these would be different than the greasy ones they typically are.

And when the plate of crab rangoons came out steaming and with a nice golden hue, I knew we had made the right choice, but I will definitely be coming back to try the gyoza I eyed at a different table.

Digging into our appetizer, more customers began to trickle in, slow but consistent. Yet despite more people in the room, I never felt cramped or crowded in the booth. So as I devoured the crab rangoons, I took in their fresh fried flakes and delectable insides all while coating them in the provided sweet and sour sauce.

Almost immediately after we finished the appetizer, our entrees appeared in the waitress’s hands. Two big, bulky black bowls were set on our tables, and a substantial amount of chicken was placed in front of me.

It was a lot, even for how hungry I was.

Once again, steam radiated from the food, a testament to how fresh it was; the chicken looked mouth-watering with the combination of the fried rice. With just one bite of the chicken, I couldn’t put my fork down. For $12.50, the chicken was crispy, but not over fried. The sauce was amazing and excited my tastebuds. Each bite of chicken was tender and palatable. Combined with the non-greasy fried rice that elicited a “wow” from me, I was glad to have such a large portion for leftovers.

In an easy fifteen minutes, I had done as much damage as I could to my chicken bowl—it truly was huge—and both my mother and I were undeniably full. The check came out quickly, thanks to our efficient waitress, and my mother and I had already begun talking about returning.

Even hours later, the food did not make me feel heavy or sick as typical Chinese food does.

So I will be returning to sample more of their vast, feel-good menu whenever I’m in the mood again. Finally, we have a new marvelous restaurant to eat at.