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Jun 26, 2007 03:12 PM

Hunan Lion on S. Lamar

We visited the Hunan Lion on S. Lamar on Sunday night and had a really tasty meal. My husband said it was the best Chinese food he's had since he's left Connecticut, which has a restaurant he is convinced has the best Chinese food on the East Coast.

The restaurant is tucked back in the Brodie Shopping Center behind Fuddruckers. There were very few people there, which probably has a lot to do with the location. I believe the place has been open for over 20 years though I'm not sure it has always been in the same spot. The waiter said they get their big crowds at lunch and on Monday - Wednesday nights.

The Jasmine tea was warm and delicious and our server was very nice. We ordered the Crab Ragouts for an appetizer - which I know as Crab Rangoons, but anyway, they were a little lacking in crab tast but overall I thought they were good. For our entrees we ordered orange beef - which my husband thought was great, and I ordered the mu shu pork. The mu shu pork was absolutely wonderful and reminded me of a wonderful little Chinese restaurant I used to visit in my hometown when I was a teenager. I have always tried to find similar mu shu pork, and now I have! The fried rice is where they went wrong, as it was a little dry and needed a dash of soy sauce. I'd venture to guess the a pork or chicken fried rice would be better than the plain veggie fried rice.

I just wanted to share my new find with my Chowhound friends. I am NO Chinese food expert but I like good food and this place fit the bill. :)

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  1. How does it compare to some of the other Chinese places in town? I'd be excited to have some passable lunch Chinese in this area, but I've had terrible food at Marco Polo and at Aunt Suzie's. If only Din Ho or Asia Cafe would open a South location...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Brian Lindauer

      We haven't really done the rounds here for Chinese, this is one of the first places we've tried. We went to T&S on North Lamar a few weeks back. We thought it was good but not worth traveling for as we're in S. Austin. I plan to try Din Ho in the near future and will let you know how it compares. :)

    2. I have been here a few times. Hunan Lion offers consistently decent meals. I'm not going to say it's the best because I am very limited in my exposure to Chinese food. I will say, however, that I enjoy Hunan Lion's lo mein far more than P.F. Chang's lo mein.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dcx1287

        I go here for lunch occasionally because it is a terrific bargain. You get about the same portion as dinner for much less $, plus they throw-in an egg roll, crab rangoon, chicken wing, cucumber salad, soup, and fried or steamed rice. A friend of mine orders several lunches to go while he is there, and stores them in the freezer for later.

      2. I've eaten at Hunan Lion about 4 times and always had an acceptable meal there. I agree that their lunch special is a fantastic deal, what with all the extras you get, and the service is attentive and quick like lightning. I do find their food quite heavy, though. It reminds me very much of that dark-lit, oily Chinese restaurant of yesteryear that my grandmother used to take me to.

        For the South Austin area, though, I have to say I much prefer First China, at 3005 S Lamar Blvd. Their food is very fresh-tasting, with solid American Chinese cuisine and some surprises. Standard lunch specials; no fancy extras like Hunan Lion. Just soup to start, and an eggroll with your entree. I was very favorably impressed with their vegetarian Mu Shu -- really outstanding: lightly cooked cabbage, mushrooms, onions, etc, served with tender, dry pancakes and a well-balanced sauce. Everything else I've had there has been very good, but the Mu Shu Veg was a delight.

        2 Replies
        1. re: austindawn

          Thanks for the tip on First China. We'll have to check that out. I'm always hunting for good mu shu and I look forward to trying it!

          1. re: YaYa

            Thanks for the tip about First China. I keep getting menus from them and have been looking for delivery in my 'hood.

            As for Hunan Lion, we go there for lunch when we want a good bargain and get our fill. I've picked up dinner before as well. My yardstick for most Chinese restaurants is Egg Foo Young. It's OK at Hunan Lion, but not the greatest.

            I also really like Tien Jin right down the street at Westgate in the brown brick shopping center.

            Of course, the only thing I truly love as far as Chinese food goes in Austin is Asia Market Café. Thank you so much hounds for introducing me to the beauty that is Asia Market Café!

        2. Hunan Lion is what I call a "very solid" restaurant. They've been there since the 80's, and every meal I've had there has been consistently good. I've had better meals for each dish somewhere else, but the quality is consistenly above average.

          Try the Chicken Hunan Lion Style...all breast meat with a good assortment of veggies in a really tasty sauce. Ditto for the sesame chicken; I've had the Mu Shu Pork and agree with your assessment; excellently prepared with lots of different ingredients, plus they prepare the crepes at your table, which some Chinese restaurants have dropped in favor of letting you do it.

          1. I'm glad to hear Hunan Lion is doing well. My parents would take me there occasionally in the mid-80's when we were living in Oak Hill. I remember always really enjoying the Orange Chicken... I'll have to stop by for lunch some time and see if it's as good as I remember.