Bowl Kee

Markham is full of restaurants and The Hubby and I are always trying out new places with his parents. Either new to us, to them or both. Recently, we stopped by Bowl Kee, a restaurant in Peachtree Plaza that has been around for years and specializes in clay pot rice bowls. The last time I had this dish was in Hong Kong last year at a small shop on the street. While the rice hotpot at Bowl Kee turned out to be quite delicious, a few of the other dishes faltered.

Atmosphere: The restaurant was standard for the neighbourhood with booths, round tables and upholstered chairs. Majority of the customers were families or large groups and by 7pm, the restaurant was mostly full. The dining area was clean and tidy, if outdated.

Service: In terms of efficiency and lack of friendliness, service at Bowl Kee was on par with similar Chinese restaurants. Pushiness, was slightly stronger. While I agree that a set menu was a better value, it was a lot of food for the 4 of us, restricted some dish choices and the servers really pushed us to order it and make the decision quickly. Dishes arrived quickly from the kitchen.

Food: We ended up choosing a set course that included one medium sized clay pot rice and our choice of 3 dishes, the set also came with a complimentary soup and steamed chicken. For clay pot rice, the rice is cooked to 90% done and then topped with various ingredients like spare ribs or Chinese sausages for the last 10 minutes of cooking. During those last 10 minutes, the juices (aka drippings) from the meat drips into the rice and flavours each grain with savoury goodness.

That night, we chose the cured meats topping, which had slices of different types of Chinese sausage. When the rice was served, a soy sauce mixture was added and the whole pot mixed together. A layer of crispy, crunchy rice sticks to the pot, to be scrapped off and fought over. I really enjoyed the flavours of the rice pot at Bowl Kee and there a good portion of sausage was used. The rice was also well cooked, with each individual grain being separate; not too soft and not undercooked. Since the rice pots are made to order, they may take some time and need to be ordered from the start. Although a simple dish, the clay pot rice was very satisfying.

For the rest of our meal, we ordered 2 dishes that were also served in hot clay pots, a Fried Grouper with Tofu Skins and stir fried Chinese Eggplant, and a plate of Fried Pork Chops. Both the grouper and eggplant were excellent. The fish was tender, lightly battered and evenly coated in sauce. The eggplant was savoury and flavourful. The one underwhelming dish was the pork chops, which were dry and too salty for my liking.

As for the complimentary pork soup and steamed chicken, a nice touch, but I could have gone without both. A red bean dessert was also complimentary, that was not sweet enough.

Overall, I’d come back for the clay pot rice and their other clay pot dishes. Maybe a rice just for myself.

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Bowl Kee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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