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Jan 8, 2007 12:47 PM

Westfield area Chinese

Hi! I'm just wondering where people in Scotch Plains/Westfield/Fanwood go for good chinese. And what do you order?
I feel like we have tried everything, and there is nowhere that's consistent- a good meal one time becomes grease without seasoning the next! Thank-you!

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  1. Hi Foodchick.

    We've also tried every Chinese restaurant in the immediate vicinity. I know there are plenty of good ones supposedly in the Edison area but if you live in Westfield/SP or Fanwood - you want it very nearby. For the most part we haven't been thrilled with the choices. We particulary have been disappointed with the ones in Westfield.

    However, Hung's Shanghai in Scotch Plains is our Chinese of choice. We eat there regularly and love it. As I keep mentioning here, it is very high quality, not your average sloppy take-out fare. Much more elegant presentations too. Nice dining room, great service. It's right by Stagehouse. Excellent scallion pancakes, the fried rice actually has decent pieces of pork (not chunks of fat), their wonton soup is one of the best I've ever had, the even make their crispy noodles on the premises, so they are those large, broad ones, not the prepacked ones (although if you do take-out, you must specify you want the homemade ones, and they charge extra for them but well worth it as it comes with homemade ducksauce too). There is always a nice assortment of intriguing nightly specials.

    The only other place we go to is a small take-out in Fanwood, Rice Inn on Martine Avenue across from the Hallmark. They are only take-out. They make an incredible Shrimp with Black Pepper, a dish nobody else makes in the area. Large, lightly fried shrimp (about 11-12) with lots of garlic and black pepper served over a bed of lettuce with peanuts. It's not on their regular menu but they always will make it. On the whole, we prefer Hungs a lot more - but Rice Inn is a huge improvement for take-out over the other Chinese across the street (China Moon) which to me is typical of any Chinese take-out anyway.

    I'm curious - have you been living in the area awhile or did you just move here? If you try either let us know what you think.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sivyaleah

      Hi Sivyaleah!

      Funny, the two places we usually go to are the same as yours! We were taking out from Hung's for a while, then we had a couple of flavorless meals in a row, so we switched to Hong Kong Garden (in the Gennaro's plaza,very close to home), but then that was AWFUL so we tried Rice Inn and THAT was better. Then I had family over over the holidays, and I was sick so I didn't have the usual cook-up-a-storm ability I usually do, we just got take out and we all thought it was the most flavorless food ever! I almost called the next day to ask who was cooking that night, but never got to it. But I actually forgot about that shrimp with black pepper- someone else had mentioned it to me, and we loved it, so I'll have to try again!
      China Moon- we haven't been in years, ever since there was a grub or worm cooked with my broccoli and they just laughed at me when I called to complain!!
      I'll also have to try the dishes you reccommended at Hungs, and you're right, they do have wonderful wonton soup!!

      I have been living in SP for 12 1/2 years, my house is on a side street next to Brookside Park, which I can see through my window through the woods right now. 2 of my kids go to McGinn. How about you?

      1. re: foodchick

        I'm on West Broad, just off Martine. We've been in the area 6 years. My husband and I are NYC transplants (although I had lived in NJ growing up for many years too). Alas, no kids, we're "Dinks" (double income, no kids). I feel like I live most of my life commuting on the Raritan train LOL!

        China Moon is awful. When we first moved out it was the only one we knew about for a long time. I didn't even notice Rice Inn across the street for ages. We had problems with China Moon too, don't like their attitudes.

        I do like the sushi place next door, Ginger Sushi but rarely go because my husband eats no seafood at all, other than a tunafish sandwich, which of course we all know doesn't count. I go there with my brother occassionally when we feel like splurging (he has his office in Fanwood).

        BTW, whenever I get the Shrimp w/Black Pepper I ask for broccoli instead of the lettuce. More nutritional value. They think I'm crazy probably because I'm mucking with their recipe but they accommodate me. I like the owners there a lot, very nice people.

        I'm surprised you had a flavorless dish at Hungs. Must have been an off night. Although we have found that the dishes with white sauces are more mild than the brown sauces.

    2. I grew up in Scotch Plains. Rice Inn on Martine Ave in Fanwood has always been our takeout mainstay.

      I went to HS with some of the Hung family and I know their restaurant has been good quality food for many years.

      Alternately, for a dining in experience Cathay 22 in Springfield (on Route 22 West) is the best Chineese around here IMO.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tpatricco

        I agree with you about Cathay 22, it is excellent, but not convenient for everyday take out unfortunately. What do you like at Rice Inn?

        1. re: foodchick

          My office is on 22 in Mountainside so Cathay isn't so bad from here. My favorite here is Chicken in Tangy Sauce - delicious and unique. They can be a little heavy handed with the garlic so be aware.

          At Rice Inn, my longtime favorite is their Chicken LoMein which is different from anyplace else I've ever had it. I also like their pepper steak. I'm pretty content with simple selections.

      2. Our standard take-out joint is Hunan Wok III in Westfield (Broad Street).

        They're food is okay -- not fabulous, but much better than the standard around here and not drenched in oil. If you like vegetables, I highly recommend their steamed vegetables with garlic or ginger sauce on the side. Unlike most places, Hunan Wok III doesn't over-cook the veggies -- they arrive crunchy and vibrant (rather than mushy and dull). The mixture is decent and includes a couple of nice slabs of chewy tofu.

        I would stay away from the place on the corner of Park and Central Ave (I can't remember the name, I'm afraid) -- oily and tasteless.

        China Fun No. 1 (South Ave in the same shopping center as Buona Pizza and Fujiyama Mama) is hit or miss -- we had one really good meal from there when they first opened (curry chicken, beef and mushrooms in oyster sauce), but most meals after that have been either oily or bland. They also have a Thai menu, but so far the Thai chef has never once been on duty, no matter what day or time we call or stop in.

        The one consistently good item from China Fun that we've had is their sauteed spinach with tofu -- the spinach is still vibrant and the sauce (more like a broth) has a nice sesame flavor. But the last time the portion size seemed to have shrunk -- so like I said, hit or miss.

        And if you don't mind the oil, they do a nice 5-spice eggplant -- the eggplant is a bit soft, but the sauce (again, more like broth) makes up for it. Just be warned that they'll top it with a squeeze of mayonnaise if you don't remember to order it without mayo. (Much better without mayo.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pondering

          Hi Pondering- thanks for so many suggestions. I have tried all of these restaurants, too, with the usual starts out ok, eventually becomes greasy and bland, so we moved on from them. However, I have not tried the things you are recommending, and I love veggies, so I'll give them a shot next time! For a while I was ordering steamed chicken and veggies with the ginger or scallion sauce on the side, but I actually think it might have been from China Fun No. 1, although I'm not sure. Thank-you!

          1. re: foodchick

            You're welcome, foodchick. I didn't love China Fun's steamed veggies (although I admit that I do love chanting "China Fun No. 1!"). I've been getting steamed veggies from Hunan Wok III for a few years, and they've always been good. The steamed veggies with brown rice and a little bit of sauce on top makes for a healthy little meal.

            Of course, now that I've said that (knock on wood), your order will probably suck. Good luck!

        2. I've praised Wonder Seafood on Rt 27 in Edison several times on these boards--have had truly great Hong Kong-style feasts there. Alas--we were there on Xmas eve and came away very disappointed. Our favorite dish--mixed seafood w/crispy fried noodles--was bland, and loaded up with rubbery squid and fake crabmeat. Hopefully it was just an off night.

          Have you been over to the food court at Hong Kong Market on Park Avenue/Oak Tree Road in So. Plainfield? There are several vendors there--my favorite is the Taiwanese soup lady--she roped me in with a free taste of one of her preps and I was hooked. When I go there, I usually just ask her to make me something traditional and good, and she goes to town. I never know the name of what I've ordered, but its always good. There is also a guy there who makes dumplings and scallion pancakes, among other things. If they have not been sitting around, they are really good--esp. the veg. dumplings. They also sell prepared meals from a steam table which look terrible, and barbeque pork and duck, which is generally pretty good.

          Charlie (Plainfield)

          6 Replies
          1. re: albinoni

            Update on Wonder Seafood--we went there for dinner last night, somewhat nervous because the last time was so disappointing, but because it had such a good track record, I wanted to give it one more shot. Could not have been better. we only ordered two dishes--the soft shell crabs, coated with a thin batter and perfectly deep fried, served with little ringlets of jalapeno, and grouper home stye, a symphony of subtle flavors and textures. Wonder Seafood is redeemed.

            1. re: albinoni

              Will definitely try Wonder seafood. We end up going to Summit for chinese food. Good restaurant, Waterlillies, across the street from the train station. They will make just about any dish you want. Their black pepper shrimp and/or scallops is outstanding. They also have a sushi bar which is unimaginative but very fresh.

              1. re: jnk

                Try Jade Isle on Terrell Road in Scotch Plains. Excellent dimsum on weekends. For dinner and lunch, ask for the Chinese menu. Only drawback is that decor is hideous.

                1. re: cris8

                  So funny you should mention this. I've been living here for 6 years and pass this place all the time. Just yesterday, I was thinking how we've never gone in there because the parking lot always looks nearly empty. I've never seen it full. Has anyone else been there? It seems like such an old time kitschy kind of Chinese - so old time, I'm kind of afraid to go in!

                  What do you mean the "chinese" menu? As opposed to what else?

                  1. re: sivyaleah

                    As opposed to the standard Chinese-American menu. Among the area Chinese, this place is a favorite and is known for authentic Chinese dishes. Chinese from as far as Flemington go there to celebrate Chinese New Year. I agree though that the interior (and the exterior) could use a lot of upgrading.

                    1. re: cris8

                      Well, after living in the area for 14 years, and passing this place 3 or 4 times a week, we went to Jade Isle after the boy's baseball game last night for a quick dinner. 1 hour and 20 minutes later we walked out somewhat satisfied but saying that this was our first and last time there. We were one of 5 tables w/people at them, we ordered chcken and broc for the boy, singapore mai fun and pepper shrimp (which was interesting but had no pepper on it). One hour and 20 minutes. The first ten was waiting for someone to take our order. After walking over to someone and asking for help, we got some, but then there was the interminable wait for the food. Oh well, we tried. By the way, there was a strange odor in the place, I think that it was a musty smell that's been trapped in there since the last time some work was done ion the place.

          2. I just remembered I posted this so long ago and wanted to update. We have been ordering from Main Star in Scotch Plains, across the street from the town hall. Everything is fantastic and flavorful!!! The chow mei fun is very light and tasty, I ask to have it made with shrimp and beef. Also really enjoy the chicken with cashews- well, even my husband thinks it's all so tasty. Not just grease! WOOHOO!!! Give it a shot!