I've signed up for Jaden's Cookbook testing and needed some ingredients from our local Asian Supermarket called Tan A. Richmond, Va has its own little Chinatown centered around Broad St. and Horsepen. Here you'll find a cluster of Asian stores and restaurants and they are as authentic as you can get – down to the brusque service. I don't think it's because they are mean, I think it's more a communication issue and they lose patience trying to interpret what you want. Anyway, I am Chinese and I do speak a degree of Cantonese but not the type that is spoken there. I think the dialect is more slang Cantonese called 'Sang-Wa' which is the language in Hong Kong or maybe Mandarin?
Before I went grocery shopping, I decided to go to Full Kee for some Hong-Kong style noodle soup. It is served with chunks of succulent roast duck and thin egg noodles and a tasty broth. If you go on Sundays – and I suggest you go early like 11am because they get crowded fast- they have a rolling dimsum cart which I think is pretty good and can get you into a whole lot of leftovers if you eat with your eyes. A safe bet for dimsum are the shrimp balls , bean curd sheets and spareribs in black bean sauce. If you are feeling more adventurous have the chicken feet and enjoy all that collagen – my dad still made the best though. One time I ordered Peking Duck, it's the best I've had in the U.S. but sadly, still not comparable to the gastronomic nirvana like the ones to be had in Hong Kong. If you want to sample Peking Duck, I suggest you call ahead because it takes around 50 minutes to prepare.
Full Kee is not a place to have General Tso's chicken or Kung Pao chicken. I think they do not make "Americanized" Chinese food very well as experienced by the "Hungry" Hubby who tend to go with tamer fare. For that I would recommend Chen's Restaurant in the West End.
They also have a section where you could see whole sides of roast pig, whole roast ducks and char-siu hanging on hooks. These are great take-out items and you can just tell the guy behind the counter how much you want. I think the roast pig – replete with ultra-crispy skin – comes a kilo per order. Goodness, I'm getting hungry just writing this!
The egg tarts pictured above are dahn tahts. I think they were $2.50 for three little pieces. The missing one was eaten on the way home. As you all can see, the crust is so flaky and the custard itself was on the border of being set and not - it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Also, one not to miss is their sweetened tofu dessert – I think it is similar to our taho in the Philipines.
Full-Kee might not be for everyone. It is very low-key in its decor and don't expect the waitstaff to pander to your every need, but if you want to eat "real" Chinese food this is the place to go.
During my last visit there, I spied a whole roast pig being ushered out the door and out of curiosity asked the lady behind the counter how much it was and how many days notice was required if you wanted to order. Well, it costs around $200.00 and they needed about a week notice. Hmmn….pig roast party anyone?
6400 Horsepen Rd.
Richmond, Va 23226