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May 17, 2007 11:17 AM

My Favorite Asian Things (in the Monmouth Co area)

I decided to put together s little "best of" list for my central nj / jersey shore roamings and I am starting with Asian cuisine.

West Lake Seafood - Wonton Soup, Beef, Black Mushroom and Chinese Sausage Casserole, Any Salt and Chili dish, any Whole Fish dish.
Chinese Food Mart (Crown Palace adjacent in Middletown) Chinese BBQ, esp the boneless pork and the duck.

Pad Thai - Chinese Sausage Fried Rice, Jumbo Shrimp and Avocado in Curry, any Garlic Sauce dish, Laab, and most things I've eaten have been as good as anywhere.
Thai Chili - Papaya Salad, Tom Kha Gai, any Tamarind Sauce dish.

Far East Taste - In my long association with this place, I have never had a bad dish. The Whole Fish dishes are sometimes the best.

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  1. Seal - Nice summary. Thanks. What about Shanghai Bun for the Spicy Beef Noodle Soup and Pork Buns?

    1. This seems sort of pale after your list, but:

      Crowne Palace in Middletown, in the market, not the restaurant -- they sell a firm, spicy tofu in the refrig section, first aisle. I don't know what it's called, firm, spicy tofu probably, but I love it a lot. Kind of cut into long strings, like spaghetti, it is an addictive snack. Nice and zippy.

      1. That's a good list.

        Far East Taste: Yes to the whole fish. I also like the dishes made with pieces of boneless fish filet -- with basil sauce or tracy sauce. I always get Tom Yam Vegetable Bean curd soup.

        Ditto on West Lake. I need to go back and try more dishes.

        Shanghai Bun. Soups with their homemade noodles -- noodles with pork and pickled radish, or pork and sour cabbage, Shanghai won ton soup. I like the steamed pork buns. Please note: The soups are better when they are not crowded. Best time is weekday lunch.

        Here's wild card... There's a Chinese restaurant in the bowling alley on Rt 35 in Middletown. Harmony Lanes on Rt 35 northbound between Harmony Rd and Cherry Tree Farm Rd. The Taiwan menu in the cocktail lounge has lots of interesting stuff. I've been pleased with the food. It's not on the level of West Lake, but it's good. They serve a whole fish, but I haven't tried it yet. (Be careful not to order lo mein or any americanized dishes. They are mediocre.)

        I really like Kyoto Sushi on Rt 36 in Atlantic Highlands. Their sushi bar is markedly better than Sono in Middletown. (I like Sono, but Kyoto's sushi is better.)
        But beware... at Kyoto anything that doesn't come from the sushi chef has proven to be lackluster. that includes soup, salad, tempura, oshinko. But their sushi and sashimi more than make up for it! (Thanks to the chowhound who recommended this place!)

        9 Replies
        1. re: val ann c

          Far East Taste - Chile Pork, It's not on the menu. It's one of Chef Richard's = Excellent
          The Market next to Crown Palace - Pork Buns from the Bakery section, the Curry Beef Buns are pretty good too. Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at Shanghai Bun, and of course my new fave Salt & Pepper Seafood from Westlake.

          1. re: Herm

            I really love almost every pork dish at far east taste. :) And of course, can't go wrong with the fish.

            And once again, it's not exactly spectacular, but if you're in the mood for a noodle soup, there's a place in Eatontown on hope road that serves noodle bowl soups.

            1. re: joonjoon

              Could you be more specific about the noodle soup place? Closest intersection? What's nearby? I love noodle soups.

              1. re: fershore

                Hi fershore,

                Kwong Fong (aka Kwong Fat) is at 613 Hope Rd. in Eatontown. It's right by Rt. 36. Here it is on Google maps:

                1. re: joonjoon

                  It's in the same shopping center as Redheads.

          2. re: val ann c

            Val - is the Chinese restaurant IN the bowling alley? I don't think I've ever seen a Chinese restaurant on that street...

            1. re: joonjoon

              The restaurant is in the same building as the bowling alley. The same kitchen serves the bowlers' snack bar and a cocktail lounge. The cocktail lounge has a Taiwan menu.

            2. re: val ann c

              Hi Val Ann C, thank you so much for recommending the Taiwanese place inside Harmony Lanes. For years, I've driven past it and wondered how is the food in there but afraid to try it because I thought it was Americanized Chinese food. After your recommendation, I finally gathered the guts to try it today and it was great!

              The food is almost similar to that of Shanghai Bun but a little different. They don't have dumplings, though.
              I went to China Palace during lunch time, so they had all these noodles available. I have to try it for dinner one day. Do you know what time they close on weekends? I tried going one Sunday for lunch a while ago and it turned out they weren't to open until 4 that afternoon. I plan to go there for dinner again soon. I even got their dinner menu. Thanks again for discovering this place and recommending it!

              1. re: wench31

                Glad to hear you liked China Palace. One would never guess there is worthy Taiwanese food at a bowling alley. Sorry, I don't know their hours. Will check on that next time I go.

            3. They don't exactly have awesome Korean food, but I like Fune when I'm really craving something korean and don't feel like making the trek. Try their Hwe Dup Bap (sort of like Korean chirashi). Sushi's not bad either.

              18 Replies
              1. re: joonjoon

                joon joon, where is Fune? Also what is the name of the noodle place in Eatontown. My daughter loves noodle bowl soups!

                1. re: wench31

                  Fune (which I always thought was Fume) is located in the Cobblestone Village on West Park Avenue in Ocean Township. Its in the same shopping center as Piccola Italia.

                  1. re: wench31

                    Hi Wench,

                    It's not really a "noodle place" - more like a hole in the wall chinese joint that also serves noodle soups.

                    It's called Kwong Fong and their address is 613 Hope Rd. in Eatontown, across from Applebees.

                    Disclaimer: There's is absolutely nothing special about their noodle soups - I just felt it was worthy of a mention since it's the only place I know of where you can get noodle bowl soups within a 30 minute radius here. Same goes for Fune.

                    By the way, in my experience Fune has some of the finest service for a restaurant of its type in the area, and even if you go for just sushi they'll give you a lot of extra goodies like korean banchan..

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      joonjoon - I'm somewhat surprised by your comments on Fune. I live really close by and I am routinely in that shopping center for various takeout (less likely now that it looks as if Magic Rice was sold). The few times I bought sushi from them, I was not impressed with the service from the counter (nor the quality of the sushi for that matter). However, I'm always on the lookout for decent Korean food so I'll try and give them a shot with their sit down service.

                      1. re: bgut1

                        Hi Bgut - I realized right after I posted that I may be biased since I'm Korean and they may be giving me the special Korean service..

                        But try their Hwe Dup Bap. It's a real treat when you live in Eatontown. :)

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          If you notice on my original post, there are no Japanese or Korean places listed. I know I am picky, but I just will not eat at any of the local sushi places and afaik there are no Korean choices at all.

                          1. re: seal

                            Seal - I think there are several sushi establishments in Monmouth County that make very acceptable sushi. Far from the best that I have ever had but very passable especially when the craving hits. As far as Korean is concerned, as joonjoon noted Fune (and its predecessor) serves Korean although I believe they are primarily a Japanese restaurant. If joonjoon says the food is good I will have to defer to him. However, I will give it a try myself and give you my honest opinion. :)

                            1. re: bgut1

                              I think bgut1 said it best - in Monmouth I'm not looking for awesome, but something "passable especially when the craving hits."

                              The restaurants I mentioned (Fune and Kwong Fong) aren't going to wow anybody - and depending on what you order you might even be disappointed. But when you're in the mood for something specific and you don't feel like driving 40's all we got. Sad but true.

                              1. re: joonjoon

                                Better than nothing at all .......

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  So, bgut1, what happened to the belief you stated on another thread that life is too short to eat mediocre food? lol (Which, as I said there, I happen to agree with.)

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Wow RGR ... Good pick up!!! :) I don't normally get caught talking out both sides of my mouth. Let me clarify my earlier statement. Life is too short to eat mediocre food ..... unless you have a really bad craving for [insert type of food here] and are too lazy to drive 40 minutes away to a quality restaurant. ........ ;)

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      Hey, bgut1, I was hoping you could tell I was just having some fun with you. But that addendum is perfect! :-)

                      2. re: joonjoon

                        I believe the place you are referring to is called Kwong Fat.

                        1. re: Barbarella

                          How do people feel about the noodle soup places inside the "Hong Kong Supermarket on Park Avenue in South Plainfield."

                          1. re: FoodDude2

                            Obviously outside of Monmouth County. See my comment above re: mediocre food and 40 minute drives. :) Really though, while I'm sure its authentic and good I have never tried it. Sorry.

                          2. re: Barbarella

                            Same place Barbarella - Kwong Fat has changed names to Kwong Fong. I like the old name better...but oh well!

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              I stopped going to Kwong Fat/Fong years ago because it became a grease-fest. Has it gotten better?

                              1. re: fershore

                                Hmm...I've only been going to KFat for a couple years now I think. Aren't most chinese restaurants grease fests? :D

                    2. Don't forget Saigon II. It's not the best Vietnamese place I've been to, but it does satisfy a craving unless I want to take a long drive. The food used to be pretty bad, but has gotten better after the renovation.

                      The Taiwanese place in the bowling alley is also one of my favorites. I can tell you for certain that their dishes are authentic Taiwanese dishes. Some things on the menu are not in Chinese restaurants like the steamed meat bun thing (not sure what it's called on the menu). It is flat, and has a rice flour outside. It can be steamed or fried and has bamboo, meat, mushrooms, etc. inside. Usually served with a hot and sweet sauce. There is also a gooey noodle soup with oysters.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: alielle

                        After hearing so much about the Taiwanese place in the bowling alley, I am going to give it a try. I've always wanted to go in there but was afraid because I was worried the food wouldn't be authentic. How's the bowling by the way? :)

                        1. re: alielle

                          I agree with your words on Saigon II in Lincroft. It's not great, but it's just fine if you don't want to travel far. I usually get the pho with sliced steak. It nicely satisfies the craving for pho. I wish they provided lime wedges instead of lemon.
                          The improved decor is nice.

                          The bowling alley Taiwanese place serves their own version of pho. I have not tried it yet.

                          1. re: val ann c

                            I loved Saigon II but stopped going there after a bad experience. Maybe it's time to give em another chance..? I miss local pho.

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              Saigon II: The owner is the same, the place was recently redecorated. The menu is somewhat different -- fewer items, slightly higher prices. The prices are moderate.

                              We stopped going for a few years, due to a drop in quality. Based on two recent visits, quality seems to have improved. The pho is just good enough to keep me from driving all the way to Edison. :-)

                              1. re: val ann c

                                As you may recall, we tried Saigon II once several years ago, and I thought the food was awful. You say there has not been a change in ownership, but the food has improved? The only way, in my view, that could happen is if there's a new chef. I've always presumed it was a chef/owner operation. Of course, I could be wrong, or maybe he spent the time off while they redecorated taking some cooking classes....? But, as the King of Siam in the person of Yul Brynner said, "'Tis a puzzlement!"

                                1. re: RGR

                                  Even though I live in Marlboro, the Pho in Edison on Rt 1 makes the 25 min drive worth every second.

                                  1. re: FoodDude2

                                    I assume you are referring to Pho Anh Dao in Edison. Last time I was there, all the food was great -- very much better than Saigon II. I go to Saigon II because it's convenient and the only Vietnamese in our area. The food is good enough if you want to stay local.

                                    RGR -- I don't know if the chef is new. I think the food is better now than it was a few years ago. Not different recipes, just better prepared.

                                    1. re: val ann c

                                      Hmmm... I'd prefer to drive 25 minutes to Edison if the food's so much better. Where exactly on Route 1 is Pho Anh Dao?

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        A good place closer to us, but technically in Middlesex County (South Amboy) is the old Taste of Vietnam on Route 9 south near the McDonald's and Bourbon Streeet. Excellent pho, and the best squid I've ever had.

                                        The new name escapes me, though.

                                        From my house in Aberdeen, it's less than 15 minutes.

                                      2. re: val ann c

                                        There's a new boutique type Vietnamese in Sea Bright, has anyone tried it? The menu looks good. I am blanking on the name right now.

                                        1. re: heathergt

                                          It's called The Palm. Sadly, it's getting negative reviews at this thread:


                                          I may try it anyway...