Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

King Yum Restaurant, Fresh Meadows (Queens), NY (restaurant)

Pages: 1 7 replies


Name:King Yum Restaurant
Street:181-08 Union Tpke.
City:Fresh Meadows (Queens)

King Yum is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in New York City. Tiki Centralite 'Dogbytes' posted all of the info and links to photos in his thread http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=11646&forum=1&5, so I'll just cut to the chase on my own experience there. By the way Mahalo to 'dogbytes' for his post. It was the inspiration for my trip out there.

King Yum is a great Chinese/Polynesian restaurant with great food, great drinks, and a long history in the Queens neighborhood it is in. From Manhattan the trip was easier than I had expected: take the F train to Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, and hop the Q46 bus which boards right outside the F train stop. 10 minutes later...you're there!! King Yum has a great Forbidden City/Pagoda facade. Upon entering you are instantly greeted by a large Tiki god next to trickling fountain. The restaurant itself is divided into three sections, each one a product of expansion that has taken place over the years since they opened in this location in 1953 (!). The main dining room is made up of several huge thatched huts, complete with large tiki masks and lamps, all of this surrounds a large open area in the middle with tables and booths. In the center of the room on the back wall is a thatched stage/hut for entertainment. We were lucky enough to be there on one of the two Karaoke nights they have during the week, I'll get to the wild Karaoke experience in a minute.

The amazing thatched hut Tiki bar is in between the main dining room, and another Forbiden City style dining room, making the physical space of King Yum pretty huge. And, oh yeah..this place is pretty clean.

Now..the food: standard Chinese fare, but pretty good. Maybe a notch or two above average. Drinks: on par with the other vintage Tiki places in the New York Area, if not a little on the Rum-ee side. Not as sweet as the other locations...but very STRONG! Whoo! I had a Mai Tai, a King Yum Special, and a Zombie. Par-tay!

Now the most surreal part of this whole experience was the Karaoke. To try to make a long story short, it reminded me of something that you would see in either a David Lynch film, The Simpsons, or in the David Byrne/Talking Heads film 'True Stories'. It was truly mind-blowing, and I'm not exagerrating. The Karaoke MC was a middle-aged balding gentleman with a long ponytail and sport coat. His singing voice was reminescent of a B-grade Tony Orlando, and he was REALLY into it. Microphone techniques and the whole nine.

You could see that this was a regular important gathering for a lot of the people there, and more power to them for that! One gentleman, probably in his late 50s with a western shirt and large belt buckle, but clearly a New Yorker, was one of the first to get tup and do his thing. This was followed by several other guys and gals including one guy who was introduced as 'Captain Bob'. Captain Bob seemed like the quintessential Queens bachelor, complete with dyed black hair, eyebrows and beard. He did a version of 'Mack the Knife' that only a mother could love. Last but not least there was a woman also middle-aged, who was introduced by the MC as 'Iris'', who didn't sing...but just danced at the foot of the tiny thatched stage while other people got up and sang. She looked sort of, um...what's the words, normal but somehow not normal.

And of course the long time owner Jimmy Eng, a Chinese gentleman probably in his late 70s, dressed in a suit and tie, got up and did a Chinese Karaoke song, and then went into 'Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head'. Later when we were at the bar Jimmy came up and talked to us. A very friendly man. You can see why his business has lasted so long. On the way out Helen, who I think may be one of Jimmy's daughters told us to come back, but she added that if we wanted to come on Fridays, the other Karaoke night,we would have to make reservations because it gets so busy. It was really busy the night we were ther too. And we will be going back...for sure.

[ Edited by: donhonyc on 2004-11-11 21:12 ]

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore - fixed broken link - 2006-06-04 12:34 ]


excellent review!! fantastic that the place has such a devoted following! that's something i noticed about the New England polynesian-chinese restaurants ~ "regular customers" pack the places!

the sing-along sounds like a riot! i'm writing in the margins of my TRT, and hope to get to NY soon!

While cuising the net I found pics of King Yum. Appears to still be operational and no one posted up pics. So, here they go....
So you know when to hit the brakes

The bar

the drink menu

Boy howdy!! Look at this Boco Loco or Boco Coco Loco

Mmmm, ribs

I have some pics (they look just like the ones above)

Bottom line go mid week if you can and try to catch the Karaoke (I think Weds) its a good time, good drinks, decent food! - Say Hi to Jimmy!

They have karaoke
you could call em at - 718 380-1918
We went on a Weds and there was no extra charge for singing:

these came home with me - nothing special but fun and they sold them to us - no stealing!

I'm told this is Jimmy - sideways sorry about that
he does the same song twice once in his native tongue and once in english - wanna know the song? - go and find out!

this mug is similar to many I have ala Kahiki but yet different

thanks for looking - its a fun place worth a trip out that way.

[ Edited by: sneakyjack 2007-11-09 20:01 ]


Another brief review of King Yum ....

"The first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of Chinese cuisine in Queens is Flushing, home of everything from top-notch dim sum halls to food carts and restaurants trafficking in the the lamby delights of Xinjiang. But there exists another type of Chinese food in Flushing that’s been around since the 1950s. It’s old school Chinese-American, which when done right is both bad and good. If you’ve ever dug into fried chunks of pork slicked with sweet sauce or found yourself regretting eating the last of the greasy but huge fantail shrimp you see why we say bad and good........."

The full review, along with pictures, can be found here

Mr. Ho posted on Wed, Jan 2, 2008 9:48 PM

fyi - the google maps location for King Yums is WRONG. you need to map 181st and Union Turnpike , 11366 to get the right location.


Mr Noname....great pix. I grew up on Long Island, and the pic of the ribs is making me miss the amazing Chinese food in NY. The Chinese food in here in Los Angeles
S U C K S !!! No Spare Ribs like that to be found here, that's fer sure

Not to mention a gem of a tiki joint like this.

Great to see thata there is TIKI in NY....

Still, I'd never move back :), but those ribs make me all teary eyed.

While doing some research I came across the original site where Mr. NoName found the above King Yum. Looked here to see if the joint had been covered on TC and figured I'd add the credits and links for the photos.

The photos are by Jason Perlow posted on his food blog Off The Broiler

His original King Yum piece and photos are here: NYC Dining: King Yum

Pages: 1 7 replies