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Any Good Chinese Open Mondays in Westfield?

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sivyaleah Mar 20, 2006 04:58 PM

Been sick for days, not up to cooking and Mondays around this area are problematic as many restaurants are closed. Fav chinese in Scotch Plains and Fanwood are not open and I'm unfamiliar with the Westfield options. Anyone able to quickly suggest one that might be open tonight? Give me the name, I'll make the call :-)

Thanks!
Laurie

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    maryelizabeth RE: sivyaleah Mar 20, 2006 06:36 PM

    Taipei Tokyo 28 on South Ave in Cranford might be open. That's our Chinese standby since they also have Japanese and Thai...convenient when we can't agree on one or the other. There's a hole-in-the-wall place on East Broad St. on the same side as the Methodist church just before you get to the light on North Ave. It's a little on the greasy side, but not too bad. I'm not sure of the name, but I think it's Hunan Wok II (or III?).

    18 Replies
    1. re: maryelizabeth
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      sivyaleah RE: maryelizabeth Mar 20, 2006 07:22 PM

      Yes, that's Hunan Wok, it's "ok", we don't go there. Plus it wasn't open, We ordered from Jade Garden on North Ave, it was the only one open nearby on Monday and they would deliver (both my husband and I are not too well).

      It was close to awful. Never again. Wontons in the soup had a very odd taste, and they forgot to give us the crispy noodles. The egg rolls were just filled with cabbage (and some hard pieces at that). Also, got their black pepper steak (fair) and thai basil chicken (not chinese, part of the problem is they seem to do these combinations of thai and chinese). The first piece of chicken I tasted was like rubber - I didn't care to try another. Fried rice was the best part - but rather "usual" (although it has some unusual additions like lima beans and corn in it).

      The almond cookies were great - but that's because they don't cook them on the premises, i'm sure.

      Normally, we order from Hung's in Scotch Plains, which to us is as good as going to chinatown or; Rice Inn in Fanwood, which is only takeout but they do some interesting things we've never seen in other places.

      Needless to say we learned a lesson - don't order Chinese on a Monday night around here because all of the good ones are indeed closed!

      Oh well - live and learn.

      Laurie

      1. re: sivyaleah
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        Brian Yarvin RE: sivyaleah Mar 20, 2006 08:57 PM

        Laurie:

        It's another 4 miles past where you're talking about, but the Dragon Palace at the corner of Oak Tree Road and Wood Avenue on the Edison/Woodbridge border is open Mondays and has a world-class Chinese menu.

        Perhaps when you're feeling better...?

        Link: http://www.brianyarvin.com

        1. re: Brian Yarvin
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          sivyaleah RE: Brian Yarvin Mar 21, 2006 08:21 AM

          Brian, thanks for the tip. It might be closer to us than 4 miles, we're in Scotch Plains and taking Cooper Road there is really simple for us. We'll have to keep it in mind to try, we're always looking for good chinese around here. We're from NYC originally and used to a better quality than you usually get in the suburbs (although Hungs, like I mentioned, is really high quality and I highly recommend it).

          Laurie

          1. re: sivyaleah
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            Brian Yarvin RE: sivyaleah Mar 21, 2006 06:23 PM

            Laurie:

            I too, moved to the area from NYC. However, my experience is completely different; I find that the best Asian food around here easily equals the best of Flushing and certainly exceeds Manhattan; especially in Shanghai and Sichuan cuisines.

            It seems like you're off by just a few miles!

            There's lots about Chinese food around here that drives me crazy; especially the secret menus and seperate service for Chinese and non-Chinese patrons. But quality certainly isn't the issue.

            Link: http://www.brianyarvin.com

            1. re: Brian Yarvin
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              sivyaleah RE: Brian Yarvin Mar 22, 2006 09:36 AM

              Brian, please share those hidden gems with us :-) I took a look at your website and you definitly seem to know your stuff in this area (BTW, your photography is wonderful too).

              The only one I have found nearby which is comparable is Hung's Shanghai in Scotch Plains. Really high quality, always something new and different on their menu. Many of the nightly specials they will not do take out on, but we usually like to eat in there anyway.

              We're willing to go a few more miles in any direction. Like I mentioned, we're in Scotch Plains so Edison and Woodbridge area out not out of the question and from what I've heard there does seem to be quite a few good ones in those towns.

              Really great Chinese was one of those things I really missed moving back out to the 'burbs. I grew up in Brooklyn, and ate Chinese since I was a baby, so I know good from bad. And living in NYC, well we were not short on quality there either. Never been out to Flushing for it however, I can only imagine how could it can be as the 3 (Asian) guys that work in my office all live in Flushing so I assume there's a large community.

              Thanks again for your help! I mentioned the one you suggested to my husband and we're looking forward to a drive out there one night to try it.

              Laurie

              1. re: sivyaleah
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                veena RE: sivyaleah Mar 22, 2006 02:42 PM

                Mmmm..two more restaurants to try out! I love Chinese food.
                Laurie, thanks to you I now shop at the Garwood Shop-Rite.
                Brian, recently ate at both Pho 99 and Monsoon Express on your recommendation (read some of your other posts). The owner at Pho 99 was extremely friendly and helpful when he found out that it was our first time there. I liked the food at Monsoon but the service was a little iffy...took us a really long time to get our food and they were not at all busy.
                Also read your book "Farms and foods..", plan on visiting as many of the places you mentioned as I can in the next few months.

                1. re: veena
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                  sivyaleah RE: veena Mar 22, 2006 06:56 PM

                  Hi Veena, glad to hear you're finding Shop Rite good to shop in. Oh, if only Whole Foods would now move in somewhere...we can dream, can't we?

                  Laurie

                  1. re: sivyaleah
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                    veena RE: sivyaleah Mar 26, 2006 10:25 AM

                    When I lived in OH the Whole foods store was just a mile from my place, here in NJ it is more like 20....so I have only made it over there a couple of times. It would be great to have one a little closer!

                    1. re: sivyaleah
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                      veena RE: sivyaleah Mar 26, 2006 10:25 AM

                      When I lived in OH the Whole foods store was just a mile from my place, here in NJ it is more like 20....so I have only made it over there a couple of times. It would be great to have one a little closer!

                    2. re: veena
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                      Brian Yarvin RE: veena Mar 22, 2006 07:28 PM

                      Laurie and Veena:

                      Thank you both for the kind words.

                      It's been at least a month since I've been to Monsoon; the last time I tried, it was so crowded, I couldn't get in the door. I wound up at Bao Dao Eat in the Hong Kong Supermarket, hardly a sacrifice, but it still puts a bit of time between me and my last experience in the place.

                      All I ask is that you keep trying new places and don't be afraid. Wherever you go, make sure you eat what the regulars eat. Don't tolerate the gringo menu,ever.

                      Link: http://www.officialdumplingsite.com

                      1. re: Brian Yarvin
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                        Veena RE: Brian Yarvin Mar 26, 2006 11:02 AM

                        Brian, I went to Dragon Palace for dinner on friday.....sorry to say I did not enjoy it as much as I expected to, given your recommendation.
                        I wanted to order of the chinese menu but did not realise that they would not have an english translation of their chinese menu. I was determined not to order of the regular menu so tried to get recommendations from my waiter, he did not understand what I was asking for. It was fairly early in the evening and the restaurant was not very busy so I went to the front desk for help. The lady was very nice but not much help, she recommended two chicken dishes and she described them both as chicken with peppers, one diced and the other sliced! We went with the diced. I think she had pretty much exhausted her recommendations by then and I felt bad, like I was hounding her so decided to just give up. I also ordered the ma po tofu (ground pork and tofu) and wanted to get the steamed dumplings but she told us not to. Am not sure why!
                        The chicken with peppers turned out to be diced chicken with bell peppers and a zillion dried red peppers (actual count 73...I know because I counted them!!!). I was afraid to try it because it looked like it would be mindnumbingly hot but it actually wasn't. My gripe with this dish is that the plate was filled with peppers and hardly any chicken.
                        The ma po tofu tasted OK but again I was not happy because it was swimming in oil. I actually drained about a cup of it into an empty bowl before I was ready to try it.
                        Also got the hot and sour soup and the spring rolls. Both OK, have had better.

                        Since this place has got good reviews I don't want to give up on it just yet but don't know how to improve my next experience...short of learning chinese!! Any suggestions?

                        1. re: Veena
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                          Brian Yarvin RE: Veena Mar 26, 2006 07:08 PM

                          Veena:

                          I'm sorry to hear about your experience at Dragon Palace. Sadly, many of central New Jersey's best Chinese restaurants can be like this. At moments like this, my wife will resort to pointing at dishes on other people's tables and say "I want this!" When that fails, she'll just point at some random Chinese writing and demand it.

                          That being said, no matter what the result, there's nothing to be afraid of when it comes to what's being served. The foods we needed a dictionary to identify and/or a Chinese person to translate a week later were every bit as delicious as those we could identify on the first bite.

                          BTW...I have a friend who counts the hot peppers in certain dishes because he thinks that if there aren't enough of them, he's being cheated and/or pegged as a gringo; the chef just can't win.

                          Link: http://www.brianyarvin.com

                          1. re: Brian Yarvin
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                            veena RE: Brian Yarvin Mar 27, 2006 07:20 AM

                            Brian,I will definitely follow your wife's example the next time. There weren't too many people when we were there friday, so not too many opportunities to observe what other people were eating.

                            I counted the peppers because I have never seen so many in a dish before ( I just had to know how many were there!!) and I was amazed that given the number the dish was not that spicy.....no tears running down my face, no runny nose, no gasping for breath :-)!

                            BTW, I read some of your old posts on Dragon palace on e*****t yesterday...too bad I did not see it before, then I would have known about the menu situation.

                            Anyway, I have been wanting to learn chinese, so this is a very powerful incentive....can't let a simple thing like language come between me and my food!!

                            1. re: veena
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                              A.West RE: veena Jun 20, 2006 08:55 AM

                              We live in Scotch Plains, my wife came from Chengdu in Sichuan province. We used to go to Cathay 22, but the chef left, food declined. Then we went to Dragon Palace for a couple of years, but it was a bit coarse and inconsistent, mediocre atmosphere & service. Then we discovered that China Chalet in Florham park had Cathay 22's old chef from Chengdu, with lots of great authentic Sichuan food. About 20 minutes from Scotch Plains via 78 and 24. Now it's pretty much the only Chinese restaurant we frequent.

                              1. re: A.West
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                                squid-kun RE: A.West Jun 20, 2006 11:00 AM

                                Nice tip, thanks – what's especially good at China Chalet? And are the Sichuan dishes on the regular menu?

                                1. re: squid-kun
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                                  A.West RE: squid-kun Jun 21, 2006 09:09 AM

                                  The dishes are on the regular menu, though there may be specials communicated verbally. My wife typically does the ordering in Chinese, and the chef now knows us well enough that we've been letting him select most of our dishes for us. My suggestion for people who can eat spicy food is to tell the waiter that you want to pretend you're having dinner in Chengdu. But here are a few dishes we frequently get:
                                  OX Tongue & Tripe Roasted Chili Peanut Vinaigrette
                                  Razor Clam with Scallion Pesto in Shape of Peacock
                                  Cheng Du Chilled Noodle w. Spicy Sesame Vinaigrette
                                  Sichuan Pork Dumpling with Roasted Red Oil
                                  Diced Chicken Sauteed w. Tree [three] Types of Pepper
                                  Sauteed String Beans w. Asparagus
                                  Sichuan Style Lobster
                                  Braised Tilapia Fillet & Napa Cabbage in Chili Oil
                                  or BRAISED BEEF & NAPA CABBAGE IN CHILI OIL
                                  FRIED WHOLE TILAPIA W. SICHUAN SICHUAN SPICES

                                  Here are some pictures of one trip last year. There's a beef dish in it that's really good but can't connect the dish to a name on the menu
                                  http://sichuanmoredining.blogspot.com/
                                  http://www.gochineserestaurant.com/Ch...

                                  I always try to tell people about this place because it's an unrecognized gem for sichuan food. BTW this place was full on Fathers' Day, all but one table were Chinese customers.

                                  1. re: A.West
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                                    squid-kun RE: A.West Jun 21, 2006 09:10 PM

                                    Wow – thanks for the generous post!

                      2. re: veena
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                        Seth RE: veena Jun 2, 2006 09:25 PM

                        I don't like Hunan-Wok at all and neither does my Wife.
                        I DO like Jade Garden and think the food is really good and fresh. It is the only place we take out from as we can walk there and also if we have to, have the food delivered. They have great Curry Chicken and Basil Fried Rice. Check it out!!

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            vlewis RE: sivyaleah Jul 18, 2006 04:58 PM

            A. West, thanks for the tip I will definitely try China Chalet. The dishes you listed are making me drool!

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