Location: 572 Rogers Road, Toronto
Despite the name, King’s BBQ Chicken Restaurant serves quite a bit more than just roasted bird — specifically, they specialize in chifa, a subset of Peruvian cuisine that gives Chinese food a South American twist. Apparently it’s been a big deal in Peru since the 1920s, courtesy of a large influx of Chinese immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The most beloved example of chifa is probably lomo saltado, a stir-fried beef dish with the bizarre (and delightful) addition of french fries.
It’s odd. It mostly tastes like any number of stir-fries; it’s sweet, savoury, and a little bit smoky from the blazing hot wok. But then there’s the very generous amount of fries mixed in, which work surprisingly well.
It’s not something I would have guessed would be as delicious as it is, but it tastes kind of like the tasty love child between Chinese food and a plate of loaded fries. It doesn’t need rice, because the starch is built right in. It’s ingenious.
They don’t just serve chifu at King’s BBQ Chicken; it wouldn’t be a Peruvian restaurant without ceviche, Peru’s national dish and culinary claim to fame (it’s served in several countries, but it was invented in Peru). The version here is quite tasty, with a nice acidic bite that doesn’t overwhelm, pops of spice from finely diced hot pepper, and a nice contrast in textures between the meaty fish and the crunchy onion.
And of course, you can’t go to a place with “BBQ Chicken” right in the name without trying the BBQ chicken. It’s very good — it’s not as distinctive as the lomo saltado or the ceviche, but it’s a quality piece of chicken. It’s nice and tender, and the seasoning is tasty. It’s good stuff.