I don't exactly know how it started, by back when I was going to high school at Loudoun County High, China King became a hangout for my friends and me. We would walk downtown after school, and share tea and some delicious food. The owners were all nice to a bunch of high schoolers, and we kept coming back. One of my friends even worked there for a while.
After we went away to college, we'd still talk about the best Chinese food in Leesburg and vow to return next time we were back in town.
I've tried to figure out what makes China King better than so many other Chinese restaurants I've been to, and it finally hit me: it's the sauce. Chinese takeout is notorious for being drowned in various sickly-sweet sauces, but China King is better than most at not getting carried away.
Full-disclosure: I'm a vegetarian so the dishes I've tried are limited to those that are centered around vegetables. I can't speak to the General Tso's chicken or anything like that. But China King treats their veggies better than anywhere else I've been.
I went in for lunch recently and ordered the bean curd with broccoli. This is a ridiculously simple dish, consisting of only soft tofu and broccoli. Instead of the soggy grayish-brown broccoli you usually see at Chinese restaurants, my broccoli looked like it had been prepped for a commercial. It was bright green and miracle of miracles— still crunchy. When's the last time you've seen still-crunchy broccoli in a dish like that?
I order delivery from China King on a somewhat regular basis, and that definitely has some pros and cons. They're the only restaurant in Leesburg that I know of that actually offers online ordering. I tried it out for the first time yesterday and it worked great. I ordered lunch and it arrived about 20 minutes after I placed my order.
The con is that they're also one of the few restaurants that still charges a delivery fee. If you want them to come out, it's going to cost you an extra $2. China King is already a little bit more expensive than some of the other Chinese food places in town, so that $2 really helps widen the price gap between China King and its competitors. However, at least when my friend worked there, that delivery fee went directly to the person who delivered the food, not the restaurant.
When you're talking about going out to eat though, that's where China King shines. It's located in the heart of downtown Leesburg, right down the street from the courthouse, and recent renovations have greatly helped the decor.
In November of 2009, a fire forced China King to shut down for months. It finally re-opened on February 22, 2010 with a brand-new look. Gone were the bright green vinyl booths of my youth, replacing them were more muted earth tones. It's dimmer, and certainly more romantic-looking. If you're downtown with a date, China King could be the perfect little spot to go get some privacy and a great meal.