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Is there a decent chinese place to eat in Indianapolis?

matthewjanz Dec 16, 2006 09:32 PM

Please don't say PF Changs, I need some real flavor.

  1. gargantua Dec 17, 2006 08:32 PM

    Yummy, in the Lafayette Square area is quite good, especially for dim sum. There is a take out place at 96th and Michigan (the name escapes me) that is excellent.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gargantua
      dgr Dec 17, 2006 09:58 PM

      Shanghi Lil's near 86th and Keystone

      1. re: gargantua
        Matt986 Dec 18, 2006 02:40 PM

        Yummy changed over to Shen Yang


        a couple of years ago. Many of the kitchen and front of the house staff are the same as when it was Yummy. The dim sum with the carts (on weekends) is still great. It's been a while since I was there for dinner. At that time the menu was full of very authentic dishes.

        Another place the OP might want to try is Great Garden in the shopping center between Lafayette Rd and 38th Street. The one time I was there for dim sum (ordered off of a menu instead of the carts) I thought that the food was good but the service was pretty bad.


        Right next door to Great Garden is Saraga the international grocery store (definitely worth a visit if you haven't been there yet!). At the front of the store is a great ethnic food court (a Oaxacan taqueria, el salvadorian papusaria, and more) amongst which is a place that serves Chinese bbq duck and pork. Great for carry out, too.

        1. re: Matt986
          fireplug77 Dec 20, 2006 07:27 PM

          There is a little hole in the wall on Emerson south of 465 called Egg Roll #1 that has recently become my favorite for tasty Chinese takeout. As an added bonus, they also serve a great Vietnamese Pho. It is in a little stripmall on the right as you head south.

          If you are looking for sit-down, Yen Ching on east Washington has been very good in the past.

      2. h
        HMK Dec 19, 2006 08:22 PM

        Having been underwhelmed by all of the above, except for Saraga, I will post about a place that I have not personally visited - please forgive me.

        I recently learned (from multiple trusted foodies)of a Chinese place called Sichuan. By report, they have great flavors and is always packed with Asian customers. It's located up around 106th and Westfield.

        1. Spoonula Jan 11, 2007 02:55 PM

          don't laugh, but I love the old 50s style Cantonese restaurants - Lotus Garden in Greenwood is good as is Hong Kong at 38th and Franklin - egg rolls as big as your head and they put a tempura batter on them before they deep fry them!

          China House in Greenwood is excellent - Sunday buffet has some very exotic and different selections - excellent sesame beef. If you go there once - the waitress will remember your order then next time you go in - guaranteed!

          1. m
            matthewjanz Jan 12, 2007 08:18 PM

            How about on the Northwest side? I'm getting pretty disappointed.

            1. r
              rnthomasjr Mar 2, 2007 03:57 PM

              Try Sesame Chinese Restaurant at 1413 West 86th Street at Ditch Road, in the strip mall just east of Marsh Supermarket. It is the recently opened reincarnation of Cheng Du, which used to be at 86th and Township Line Road. Significantly better than average Chinese food, and very reasonably priced.

              1. gargantua Mar 3, 2007 11:41 AM

                Takeout at Chang Fu, 96th and Michigan, seldom dissapoints.

                1. g
                  gotdebt Mar 7, 2007 06:47 AM

                  If you mean Asian in general, then highly recommend Hai Sizzling Wok at 43rd and Lafayette. Very fresh, very cheap Vietnamese. I have chef friends that go menuless here.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gotdebt
                    Aardwolf Feb 26, 2008 05:40 PM

                    While the price was great for the lunch I tried here, the food was roughly equivalent to that found at the panda express just down the road. The service at the Panda Express would have been better as well. There was a long wait from being sat to placing an order. Then there was an even longer wait from the end of the meal to getting the check. The food was so bland I don't think I will ever try Yen Ching again.

                  2. r
                    ready2nosh Mar 10, 2007 12:54 PM

                    Yen Ching remains our family favorite. We go to the 91st & Michigan Road location; they're also on east Washington Street but the Carmel location recently closed. General cuisine is schezuan -- hot & sour soup in incomparable, moo shu pork/shrimp quite nice and my all time favorite is twice cooked pork. Much gentler on the wallet than Shanghai Lils. Don't think you'll go wrong.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ready2nosh
                      Aardwolf Feb 26, 2008 05:41 PM

                      I decided to try Yen Ching because of this thread and this seemed to be the only Chinese place with no marks against it.

                      While the price was great for the lunch I tried here, the food was roughly equivalent to that found at the panda express just down the road. The service at the Panda Express would have been better as well. There was a long wait from being sat to placing an order. Then there was an even longer wait from the end of the meal to getting the check. The food was so bland I don't think I will ever try Yen Ching again.

                    2. k
                      kimmykins Sep 18, 2007 06:59 AM

                      Ok, so I know this is a late post, but I always really like "Forbidden City" buffet at 86th and Keystone. Now, before everybody berates me, let me qualify by saying that I only go on Saturdays around noon. Holy smokes, it is like Chinatown in there on Saturdays. They don't do the normal buffet stuff, but do a lot of really authentic dishes on Saturday. They even have Vietnamese Pho --- certainly not as good as my mom's, but definitely edible. The place is extremely crowded at lunch on Saturday and I would say that 90% of the restaurant is filled with native chinese speakers.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kimmykins
                        sausagefinger Oct 28, 2007 03:54 AM

                        You have another vote for Forbidden City. Every Saturday my aunt calls around looking for takers. I wished they did it more than just on Saturday's since it is soo busy. One time they put us with two strangers at a four person table, just so we wouldn't have to wait an hour.

                      2. s
                        sausagefinger Oct 23, 2007 04:15 AM

                        I think great Chinese food is all over the city. The key is knowing exactly what you want and asking for it-ordering menuless. I've been blessed with having a Chinese aunt and she would order takeout, when at work, and the best things would come from the cheapo delivery places. Don't be afraid to ask for things not on the menu, extra garlic, small amount of tofu, etc. Even though they cater to a AmerAsian crowd, they personally eat and can make traditional food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sausagefinger
                          JimGrinsfelder Jun 17, 2008 10:16 AM

                          This is a great idea! Why the hell didn't I think of it before...oh, yeah, I know why...because when I ask the old chinese guy who owns the restaurant what he likes, he looks at me and says "chop suey...or chow mein."

                          That happened to me at a chowhound recommended place in Toronto.

                          I think, maybe this technique works better if you're not a caucasian. Maybe I just need to work on my tact.

                        2. i
                          indypoetchef Nov 2, 2007 11:49 PM

                          Shanghai Lil. Shanghai Lil, Shanghai Lil, Shanghai Lil.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: indypoetchef
                            huiray Nov 25, 2007 01:57 PM

                            Afraid my take on Shanghai Lil is not as positive. I've eaten there three times, the last time today for dim-sum/brunch. Previous visits - once also for dim-sum, once for dinner. I find the dim-sum there tries to be imaginative but not very successfully so IMO. Clashing tastes - e.g. the wasabi siu mai. Some hits, some misses, most things tended to be run-of-the-mill and tended to all taste the same. A Taiwanese stir-fried rice noodles plate was a largish plate of rice noodles tossed with sufficient sauce to coat it but with maybe two spoonfuls of minced meat and three or four pieces of scallion. That was it. The "special lamb dish" referred to by another correspondent above was nice but not particularly memorable. And so on. To me the food tastes OK but I would not choose it as really authentic nor exceptional; in fact it seems kind-of "Mid-Western" to me, sorry. Indifferent service, place much too dark.
                            (Yes, I'm chinese and have eaten all over in both the Far East/NY/SanFran/Chicago etc. I believe I've eaten really good chinese food elsewhere; I grew up in the Far East and cook extensively myself) This last visit I left with a decidedly funny taste in my mouth, too... let's just say that an hour later I was feeling nauseous (for whatever reason) and had to visit the bathroom.

                            1. re: huiray
                              napolean Apr 12, 2008 09:09 AM

                              Have not been to Shanghai Lil, but your description seems to be fitting when it comes to a true cusine that changes to fit certain taste buds...especially in the Midwest. I would also agree with Chen Yang dim sum going downhill a bit...although there is still much to be enjoyed.

                          2. huiray Nov 25, 2007 02:15 PM

                            Shen Yang isn't bad. (Their dim-sum was good a few years back, seems to be going downhill a bit; soups are too gooey; too much starch/thickening in many dishes - is this a Mid-Western preference? Thick/gooey stuff?)
                            Great Garden is pretty decent.
                            Haven't been back to Yen Ching (referred to by a correspondent here) for a while but it was extremely salty the last time I was there. Couldn't taste anything for the salt.
                            The old Cheng Du was decent - thank you, rnthomasjr, for identifying its successor, which I will try.
                            King Chef (E96th street past Hague) is decent.
                            Try Saigon (Lafayette just north of 30th) for Vietnamese.
                            Avoid all the chinese places on Keystone between, oh, the 50s and 96th...
                            Sichuan (116th & Rangeline [not Westfield]) mentioned by HMK here, is OK but also not that memorable.

                            1. k
                              Kam7185 Mar 10, 2008 02:53 PM

                              Has anyone ever seen scallion pancakes/onion cake or shrimp toast at any of these restaurants? What about really good eggrolls?

                              1. m
                                macgrub Apr 11, 2008 10:31 AM

                                Sesame Chinese Restaurant at 1413 West 86th Street at Ditch Road has great pork wraps. A friend recommended them and now I get them everytime I go in. A good pork BBQ with good quality meat wrapped in crisp lettuce & a chinese crepe....not too sweet, too mushy, too spicey....just right. I almost always get carryout...this intersection is great....Half Price Books, SteinMart...lots of places I like.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: macgrub
                                  jackinbox Jun 17, 2008 05:05 AM

                                  I like Sesame very much as well. I live less than a mile from there so it's convenient.

                                  I tried several places in the last few weeks and I have to say that my absolute favorite is Sichuan at 116th & Westfield. Nobody beats their chicken lo-mein!

                                  I also liked Yen-Ching but it was fairly pricey compared to most places I've been. Food King at 86th & Westfield is good and very inexpensive.

                                  The worst place I've been so far is the Chinese Ruby on Keystone in the 70s. It was like the Chinese equivalent of the Old Country Buffet. Bland, mass-prepared food. I found several recommendations for it somewhere online, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I'll never go back.

                                  1. re: jackinbox
                                    huiray Jun 21, 2008 08:13 AM

                                    see my entry "huiray Nov 25, 2007 06:15PM" above where I suggested
                                    "Avoid all the chinese places on Keystone between, oh, the 50s and 96th..."
                                    I'm gratified that at least one poster seems to agree with this...

                                2. l
                                  lwmindy Jan 11, 2013 05:19 PM

                                  Unfortunately, there are no good Chinese restaurants
                                  in Indianapolis since Jong Mea closed several
                                  years ago.

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