Peking Palace in Nawala serves up some decent Sri Lankanized Chinese cuisine. It won’t blow your mind, but they’ve got their merits and a pretty accessible location.
The Chinese restaurant scene has been expanding rapidly with a whole bunch new spots like Tong Ni BBQ, 998 and Tang Dynasty opening up during the past two years. The kicker is that most of these new places are run by Chinese nationals. With the local palate getting more accustomed to authentic Chinese cuisine, Sri Lankanized Chinese is beginning to fade out. That being said, it’s called “”Sri Lankanized”” for a reason, so there will always be those who prefer it over authentic Chinese, and that’s where Peking Palace fits in.
With most Sri Lankan Chinese restaurants if you’ve seen one menu, you’ve pretty much seen them all and this place is no exception. Small portions are around Rs. 500 – Rs. 700, with large portions being around Rs. 250 more, so the prices are reasonable. Portion sizes are not bad with small portions being enough for three. One breadth of fresh air was the fact they serve pork, which isn’t the case with most eateries nowadays.
We wanted to try something different in terms of rice so we went with the wet seafood fried rice (Rs. 650 for S). While the consistency and the texture of the dish was on point, it clearly lacked any sort of seasoning. Another gripe we had with this one was the sheer amount of pak choi that was in the rice. We get that it’s a part of the dish it shouldn’t make up nearly half of the portion.
The double fried pork belly (Rs. 525) was the pick of the dishes we tried. You get plenty of large chunks on sliced pork belly in thick soy based sauce with chilli and onions. The flavour of the soy is quite strong in this one so if you’re not a fan of soy sauce, you may not enjoy this as much.
The hot butter cuttlefish (Rs. 650 for S) wasn’t too shabby but we wouldn’t say it’s top tier. The portion size for this had slightly less in it than the other two small portions we tried, with it being enough only for two. The batter while flavoursome, was a bit soggy so it didn’t have the crunch that we were looking for. The cuttlefish were also a bit chewy (but that’s negligible), and they came in larger chunks than we’re used which can be a tad bit difficult to eat.
The chilli chicken (Rs. 550) was pretty average. Just the usual fried chicken with chilli sauce, onions, sliced chillies and a good amount of oil. The chicken was slightly over cooked so most of the flavour comes from the sauce. Another thing worth noting is that they serve the chicken with the skin. Some like this since the skin does add texture and flavour, but we also know that others absolutely hate it.
Ambience & Service
Peking Palace isn’t much for ambience, but the place is clean, air-conditioned and they’ve got a TV. They’ve got seating for around 60 on their three floors. They’ve got an orange – black theme going, which works fine for the furniture, but makes for an awful colour for drapes.
The service is fast and the waiter are friendly and attentive, so we didn’t have any major complaints. If we were to be nit picky the only problem was that the waiters are very young and not very professional. They would quite often stand around the dining area just talking quite audibly about random stuff.
If you’re around the Nawala area and in need of some Chinese food, Peking Palace wouldn’t be the worst choice. The food isn’t amazing but as far as Sri Lankanized Chinese goes, it’s not half bad.