Peter’s Kitchen China Bistro (https://peterskitchencb.business.site/) opened in late 2017, and quickly made a splash on the Orlando Foodie Forum. It developed a loyal following for its orange chicken, of all dishes — that syrupy-sweet, Americanized comfort food synonymous with mall food courts and greasy take-out places. But Peter’s elevated the orange chicken and made it sing. That’s what they do at this comfortable sit-down spot on East Colonial Drive, a former “cursed location” that they took over and made into a beloved local success over the last two years.
I first went there in December 2017, shortly after it opened, and met some new friends from the Foodie Forum there for lunch. We ordered a veritable feast and shared everything, including that awe-inspiring orange chicken ($10.95) and lots of dim sum.
I also introduced these new friends to one of my favorite Chinese-American dishes: beef chow fun ($13.50) — tender strips of beef and the greatest chewy wide noodles, stir-fried with onions, green onions, bean sprouts (not my favorite, so I ask them to hold the bean sprouts), and a soy-based sauce (I’m assuming) with the slightest bit of sweetness to it. It’s a little greasy, but a truly perfect dish. It is the best version of beef chow fun in Orlando, and I even listed it among my Top Five favorite dishes in Orlando in 2017, in the Orlando Weekly.
In addition to the regular menu, Peter’s features a dim sum menu that’s available daily, except they only push the dim sum carts around the restaurant on weekends. On that first visit, a Foodie Forum friend introduced me to some of the wonders of dim sum, including slippery, chewy rice paste, here served with shrimp and drizzled with soy sauce (which I think had something else mixed into it):
Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor! From a later visit with my wife, this is the butter lobster (the dreaded market price) — a self-explanatory name for a truly rich and special dish, worthy of celebrations. The lobsters are alive, furtively pacing around in tanks, perhaps contemplating their fates. The unlucky crustacean is served fresh, broken apart, easy to spear and slide the meat out of the shell. It is shiny with garlic and butter, easily one of my favorite lobster dishes I’ve ever had anywhere (not that I’m some fancy boy who eats lobster all the time; I can count the times I’ve sat down to a meal of lobster on my fingers and still have some left over).* *Fingers left over, not lobster.
On my most recent trip, I brought home takeout. My wife had requested orange chicken from somewhere, and despite the ubiquity of this sweet, sticky, greasy dish in storefront Chinese restaurants and mall food courts everywhere, I remain convinced Peter’s Kitchen serves the best version of orange chicken anywhere.
I can’t go to Peter’s without ordering beef chow fun. I also won my wife over on this dish, and we split this portion over the course of two or three days.
On this last takeout trip, I brought home some more dim sum too:
She requested and loved sesame balls ($3.25), filled with a subtly sweet red bean paste:
I’ve ordered these baked roast pork pies ($4.95) before, but the last photo I had of them was really blurry, and I know people already think I’m a crummy photographer. I ordered them again for YOU, constant readers:
The crust is flaky like an traditional American-style pie crust, and the roast pork is sweet, sort of like char siu.
My wife also wanted these crispy taro dumplings ($3.85), which were stuffed with ground pork, surrounded by the soft, light-purple taro layer and then a crispy exterior, but neither of us loved them. They reminded me a bit of Cuban papas rellenas, the crispy fried mashed potato balls stuffed with seasoned ground beef called picadillo. But I like my papas rellenas much better than these.
Oh well, you can’t win them all, but at Peter’s Kitchen, chances are you’re going to like almost everything on the menu, if not everything.
I almost always end up with baked egg custard tarts ($3.85) for dessert, and got my wife hooked on them:
So these photos were taken over a handful of visits over the last two years, but mostly from a recent takeout order that fed us for days. I’m so glad Peter’s Kitchen is serving some of Orlando’s best Chinese food, and that they’ve turned a “cursed location” into a can’t-miss culinary destination. And it’s so close to my job as well, which is a bonus for me.