Guam Diner Bytes: King's Lenten Specials

by Ken Stewart
The Guam Food Guy

You better pinch yourself because what I’m about to tell you may not seem real. You can pinch me too!

The other day I had one of the tastiest fried parrot fish meals in a very, very long time! It was one of King’s Lent Menu entrees, and I had it at the Compadres Mall location. It was the Tinaktak Parrot Fish (a lapu-lapu version is also available) and is priced at $16.99. It is described as “deep freid whole parrot fish or grouper with a generous helping of vegetables in coconut milk sauce with spices.”

I should have paid more attention since I could have ordered brown rice in lieu of the two scoops of white rice that comes with the meal. No matter, it’s not about the rice – it’s all about the fish!

When I first saw my parrotfish straddling my platter, I was taken aback by its visual perfection! The light golden hue gave way to a crispy crunch with white steaming meat just below the surface. I took a bite and then one that I dipped in the tinaktak sauce. My, oh my, was that ever good!

The green beans and onions and what may have been pumpkin thrilled my palate. I even tried some fish with the lemon finadene (which I usually like) and it barely stood up to this supremely tasty tinaktak! My server, Dee, came by and saw me elbows deep in my fish and I remember telling her how fantastic this was! It was definitely a keeper and I certainly didn’t hesitate in communicating that fact to friends and colleagues.

I was so impressed by this (and other improvements at King’s) that I introduced myself to the manager, Frank Solomon, who had returned to Guam from the Mainland, and relayed my positive experience to him. Frank is a seasoned professional and definitely up on his game. I told him I wanted to personally compliment the cook and found out it was Victor, to whom I gave a personal shout out from the entrance to the kitchen!

It gets better! Today I had another late lunch (when you miss all the local specials), this time at the GPO location. I decided to order a couple of things to get a variety. From the Lent Menu, I ordered a half order ($6.75) of the Salmon and Shrimp Fried Rice (full order is $9.50). This has tender crispy salmon flakes and whole shrimp (they say “sweet pieces” but the shrimp are more than just pieces!). The half portion was more than enough for me and I sampled this rice creation and again was impressed by the freshness, fluffiness and tastiness of this rice – not dried out fried rice like were now getting in other places!
I also ordered the Lemon Ginger Herb Whole Parrot Fish ($16.99). The menu advertises “This tender white fish flakes right off the bone with citrus, ginger and rosemary accents.” Hey, isn’t this King’s? When this bad boy arrived it was wrapped in thick steaming foil which was bigger than the platter. I opened this up and after the steam wafted away I gazed upon a surprisingly appealing gourmet-grade seafood extravaganza!

This was definitely beyond my experience and expectations. As I took bite after bite I became convinced that there was a culinary revolution going on at King’s, and that someone is blazing a new trail and direction in the kitchen! Though the fish was not as big as my fried parrot fish from the other day, it had oodles of flavor and richness, with lemon slices, chopped tomatoes and onions that really took this fish to a new and different level! Rosemary and not dill? No worries, rosemary worked just fine alongside the ginger. Tasty!

Now I am not just tempted to try other parrot fish creations, I am COMPELLED! They offer a “Pika” de Gallo Gadao or Parrot fish (with their signature pico de gallo finadene), a spicy garlic grouper or parrot fish (with a generous helping of seriously spicy donne and garlic fish sauce), and finally a kimchee mayo whole parrot fish or gadao (flaky white fish poached in a delicious creamy kimchee garlic mayo).

I haven’t even gotten to the crispy parrot fish filet sandwich or their parrot fish and chips (both $8.99)! They ought to make some of these standard menu items! King’s is on a roll and I’m a tumblin’ with ‘em! It’s about time!

Bon appetit!

King's Restaurant Tamuning:
671-646-5930/1058 (Tamuning)

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