Best Chinese in Triangle Area?
Would love to hear people's recommendation for the best "authentic" Chinese in the area. Closer to Chapel HIll/Durham preferred. Thanks.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no authentic Chinese in the area. The best bet is to order with a Chinese orientation at Merlion. The second best bet is to order very carefully at Eastern Light (try the potstickers and handmade noodles -- you must emphasize that you want the handmade). For dim sum, I recommend Hong Kong Restaurant in Durham, though the place is a dump and the food is uneven (good fried food, mediocre steamed). Still, it beats Neo-China in Cary and China One in Durham. Ma Ma Wok in Cary has a reputation for being authentic, but all the same it's not very good.
Sinophile (formerly David A.)
Jade Palace in Carrboro -- lousy by any standard. Sheer laziness and cynacism. Avoid.
Mings in Chapel Hill -- a bit upscale, but still serving identifiably Chinese food rather than pan-Asian nonsense. It's worth a try, though be prepared not to be entirely pleased.
Grand Asia Market in Cary -- certainly "authentic," but all the same mid-quality cafeteria food. The various buns and cakes at the adjacent bakery look enticing, but they're not very good. Food aside, a trip to Grand Asia, the largest Asian supermarket in the state, is a fun experience.
Fortune Palace in Raleigh -- a physically unappealing restaurant serving Americanized Chinese food with a few decent properly Chinese dishes thrown in to please the local immigrant community. It's not bad, but it's a trek from Chapel Hill.
Neo-China in Durham -- serving distinctly Americanized Chinese food, but with a fairly light touch. Pleasant decor. It doesn't interest me in the least, but I can understand why others might enjoy it. My mother loves it. The branch in Cary has much the same menu, in addition to dim sum on Sundays (see above).
I'm sure I've eaten at many other Chinese restaurants over the years, but these are the ones I can recall off the top of my head. We've frequently discussed the paucity of good Chinese in the area, and I've frequently said that a good and authentic Chinese eatery would be a goldmine, given the enormous number of Chinese-Americans who live in Cary and Raleigh. Instead we have a profusion of expensive fusiony bistros -- Pao Lim, Lantern, Grasshopper, Jujube, etc.
Sinophile (formerly David A.)
I find that the breads and buns are very heavy and bready and dense. Properly made, they should be extremely light. I spend a lot of time in Taiwan, and I am amazed by the quality of the Western-style baking. It's all variation on the brioche -- light, eggy, sweet -- but incredible brioche.
Have you tried Homeland Garden or does the sign still say 35 Chinese in Cary? It's at 1135 Kildaire Farm Road. Park in garage in back. You can also enter thru rear door. Ignore the buffet. Order from the Sichuan menu. Our Chinese friends thought it was a find.
Haven't been there in a while, but we enjoyed Fortune Palace 2815 Brentwood Rd in Raleigh. Order from their Tawainese menu. We liked their baby fish with peanuts, Wu-Shi spare ribs, crispy eggplant, and that broccoli-like vegetable that's only available in winter.
China Palace at Garrett Rd and Old Chapel Hill Rd in Durham has a separate Chinese Specialty menu, in English. Around half of the items are available daily, while the other half are only available weekends at lunch. Personally, I'm partial to the 1) shredded pork with spicy dry bean curd, 2) scallion pancakes, and 3) noodles with Szechuan meat sauce.