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Lo-Fatt Chow nr. Flemington, NJ

m
mountebank Aug 13, 2007 12:24 PM

I cannot believe anyone would name their restaurant Lo-Fatt Chow but there it was just south of Flemington on Route 31 (can't remember if it's north or south of Ringoes).

Has anyone eaten at this place? It's in a tiny strip mall on the southbound lane.

  1. f
    fpatrick Aug 13, 2007 02:15 PM

    My wife works in Flemington, and has brought home from Lo-Fatt a few times. Don't stay away because of the name - I think it's more about trans-fats than oil as a whole.

    Only marginal in taste. Out of a handful of dishes (forgettable to the extent that I've forgotten most of them), only a shrimp in curry is something I'd ask for again.

    Oh yeah, I remembered one - the mu shu vegetables were surprisingly and distractingly spicy.

    Crap - it's all coming back to me. One of my wife's veg and tofu sauces - sorry again, not sure what it was - had a very strange taste. And there's a beef appetizer that I never pulled back out of the fridge to finish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fpatrick
      ambrose Aug 14, 2007 05:53 AM

      There was an article about this place in our local paper. I seem to recall that the restaurant is intended to be the first of several in NJ. Don't know if they're all going to carry the same name. The guy behind it (them?) is a marketing guru from Toronto. All I can say is that he sure picked a strange location for the first restaurant. I was looking for it yesterday and almost missed it.

      I've never been a big fan of take-out Chinese food. I may try Lo-Fatt for an in-house lunch if I'm driving by but I doubt if I'll go there on purpose!

    2. ambrose Aug 16, 2007 06:30 AM

      As fate would have it, I had to go to Doylestown yesterday so I decided to stop at Lo-Fatt-Chow for lunch (that's the correct name of the restaurant).

      I needn't have bothered. It was hugely disappointing. Although the restaurant claims to offer "authentic Chinese cuisine", I immediately became suspicious when I noticed chop suey and egg foo yong on the extensive menu. I was in China three years ago and people there laugh when you mention these Americanized dishes.

      I had one of the lunch specials - beef with peppers and mushrooms - and the best thing I can say is that it was hot. It was also bland. The ubiquitous spring roll wasn't bad while it was hot but as it cooled down it acquired a decidely greasy taste. The steamed white rice was good but virtually impossible to eat with chopsticks. Why can't Chinese restaurants here do rice properly?

      The name of the restaurant is supposed to be a play on words but, as mentioned above, it also refers to the fact that the restaurant cooks in trans fat free oils. And finally, the restaurant is primarily a take out/delivery place. Even though I ate in, the meal was served in a container with a rubber band around it. I guess they're hoping to entice commuters on the way home (to Pennsylvania?) to pick up dinner for the family. If the food was exceptional, this might work. It isn't. I was there during the prime lunch period and a total of four customers came and went. The phone rang once and it was a friend of the guy taking orders.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ambrose
        m
        mountebank Jul 8, 2008 09:23 AM

        Ambrose, I finally made it to this place last week and my experience mirrors yours. I had the sesame chicken with brown rice and I have to say it was the blandest chicken dish I've ever had. The brown rice was really strange, virtually tasteless. I have no idea how it was prepared but they really need to find another supplier.

        The spring roll was so hot that I could not eat it for almost 10 minutes. As a result, I have no idea whether its taste changed as it cooled down. I have to say though that it did not seem greasy, as yours did.

        I was in the restaurant for almost 40 minutes and during that time not one other person came in. The fellow who took my order was very pleasant but after I got my lunch he spent the entire time working on his laptop at one of the adjoining tables.

        I really don't understand how this place has survived. I can only assume that it does a fair amount of take out business in the evening. Even more astonishing is that there is soon to be a second Lo-Fatt-Chow farther north near Clinton.

        1. re: mountebank
          ambrose Jul 13, 2008 06:46 AM

          mountebank, I'm LOL at your comments! Earlier this year I made my second visit to Lo-Fatt-Chow and it was just as you described. The food was incredibly hot and basically inedible for the first few minutes. When I was able to eat, there was just no taste there - a really peculiar sensation. I also had the brown rice this time and it was beneath contempt. The best part of my "dining experience" was the note I found in my fortune cookie. It said "you may be hungry soon: order a takeout now"! Er, I don't think so.

          Note to CompareFranco: the point I was trying to make in my year-old post was that this place claims to be authentic but includes items like chop suey and egg foo young on the menu. As for the rice, I was given chopsticks the first time I went there and could not eat the fluffy white rice that accompanied the dish. I resorted to a fork but ended up leaving most of the rice on my plate.

          As for chopsticks, I don't frequent many Chinese restaurants but in Japanese restaurants I find nearly everyone, Asian and non-Asian, uses chopsticks. Of course, I don't use chopsticks in Thai restaurants though I have seen some non-Asians requesting them (Thai people do not use chopsticks).

        2. re: ambrose
          c
          CompareFranco Jul 9, 2008 10:17 AM

          ambrose

          don't judge a Chinese restaurant's "authenticity" by chop suey, egg foo yong, etc. Everyone knows - or should know - that they're Chinese-American inventions just as evryone knows - or should know - that spaghetti & meatballs and most pizza variations - are American inventions.

          You're right about the rice. But remember, Americans can't take sticky rice. Most American rice companies brag that their product is NOT sticky! Good for forks, but not chopsticks. But how many non-Asians do you see using chopsticks? I've been in Chinese restaurants with groups where I'm the only non-Asian using chopsticks - probably you are, too (unless you are Asian!).

          Never eaten at Lo Fat Chow (personally, I think it's a great name - although I'd rather have Lo Fat Absoultely Fantastic Chow!) I understand that Lo Fat Chow # 2 is planned to open in the Annandale-Clinton area. As you and others have mentioned, the economy might not be best for new food ventures so I'm saying (and only me) that seems the opening of # 2 has been pusshed back.

        3. d
          dichroqueen Sep 10, 2007 05:11 PM

          Got take out from there today. Steamed dumplings are good, though I didn't like the sauce which is Sesame Oil instead of the more traditional vinegar soy sauce. Entries are good, a little overpriced I thought. You have to pay for rice here, it is not included. Entrees are about $1.50 more than the average Chinese restaurant, but the quality is good.

          1. m
            mshaber Oct 25, 2007 03:26 PM

            ate there yesterday after hearing some good things. had lunch special, 7 vegetable chicken cashews, wonton soup and BROWN RICE. was pleasantly surprised. not greasy like reg chinese and tasted great and light. brown rice was tasty. the place itself is bare bones with some cheesy chinese music coming out of a boom box and everything is served in plastic(orders not to go). reasonably priced lunch, although reg entrees seem pricey. delivery available. rice is extra but i like the healthy brown rice option. definitely will return, live around the corner

            1. r
              ravensmeat Apr 24, 2008 12:41 PM

              ate at the flemington area after the first month or so that it was open. had a couple of chef's recommendations: was "good". the marketing manager who was there at the time bragged at length about quality but would not give any specific ingredient information. claims food was lower in fat due to oils used but still recommended general Tso's or spare ribs. the food the first time was good, a bit less greasy than average chinese, but for two people was fairly expensive; i've eaten cuisine chinese and this bill was close to that. still... was worth trying again...

              second stop was in my opinion nothing more than over-priced Chinese take-out food. was greasier, portions smaller. still just as expensive. in fact no matter how many times I had asked it was still bland and not at all spiced. i wouldn't recommend it at all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ravensmeat
                k
                KinksFan Jun 10, 2008 01:32 AM

                Tried the Rt. 202 location a few months ago after reading some positive posts here and elsewhere. After my first few bites, the only thought that came to mind was "Oy, not good." Can't even remember what I had, but it was spicy, in a heavy handed way. There was just no complexity to the sauce. Clearly the guy doing the cooking has no training whatsoever, just toss the protein & veggies in a wok and throw sauce #5 on it.

                I went in with meager expectations and they were met. Not worth a trip back. BTW, there's now a 2nd location in Clinton. Guess they're trying to corner the market on "healthy" Chinese food in Hunterdon.

              2. r
                rrsals Jul 8, 2008 05:22 PM

                My experience with this establishment was somewhat unpleasant. I took my son there for lunch one day, and that will be the last time I ever go there. I ordered the chicken with garlic sauce and wonton soup. My son ordered steamed dumplings and one of the pork based lunch specials. The individual whose job it seems to be to take and ring up orders overcharged me by $7 +. He adjusted the charge after I questioned why it was so high.

                The soup consisted of a few starchy wontons in bland broth with some green onions sprinkled on top. There were no strips of roasted pork. This was the first time I have been served wonton soup in a chinese restaurant that did not have the roasted pork in it. O.K., so no big deal, right? Surely the "authentic" Chicken with Garlic Sauce will more than make up for the sad excuse for wonton soup.

                I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. When the dish arrived, it was nothing more than pieces of chicken in a brown sauce. That's it. There wasn't a vegetable in sight. Absolutely nothing but chicken. At this point, I thought it was time to speak up since as others have noted, this place is more expensive than other Chinese restaurants and I wasn't expecting to pay more and get a lot less.

                "You don't make this dish with vegetables?" I asked the waiter/order-taker/overcharger. He glared at me and said, unbelievably, "You didn't SAY you wanted vegetables in it. Some people don't LIKE vegetables." No kidding, this is what he tells me.

                Now, I don't claim to be any kind of expert in "authentic" Chinese cuisine, but I can say that I am very familiar with this dish, having eaten it in many other Chinese restaurants both in New Jersey and Chinatown in New York. It is a standard menu item, and is ALWAYS made with vegetables. And you don't have to ask for them. I tried telling that to the guy, but he arrogantly informed me that "He has been doing this for 13 years." I don't know for sure what it is that this questionable individual has actually been doing for the last 13 years, but I would bet you a lunch special at the House of Yeung that making "authentic" Chinese cuisine wasn't it.

                The atmosphere seemed a little odd as well. Tucked away in a practically hidden location, Andrea Bocelli music blaring just a little too loudly on the speakers, hardly any other customers coming in, and the waiter/order-taker/overcharger sitting around a table with an odd cast of characters while one twenty-something, non-asian man firmly told the waiter/order-taker/overcharger that he "needs 5 bags of rice by Friday". He mentioned this twice. Hmmmmm................

                1. h
                  healthyeater19 Jul 27, 2008 03:36 PM

                  My boyfriend and I went there yesterday and absolutely LOVED it. We're both healthy eaters who also love chinese food, so this place seemed too good to be true. We've never seen steamed chicken dumplings anywhere else than where we went to college in Delaware. We even made our own at home! So we were thrilled when we found that they had them at Lo Fatt Chow. And they didn't disappoint either. The friendly owner asked us about the ingredients we put it, and he even discussed them with the chef and commended our recipe! Also, he told us about the two other types of dumplings they offer - pork and vegetable. He told us that the vegetable ones weren't filled with grease and were made with a spinach wrapper while even if you weren't a big fan of pork, you would still enjoy those. Mid-meal, he kindly brought us samples of the other two dumplings free of charge. They were also delicious and we were very happy with that treat. We ordered off the lunch menu, both getting wonton soup, chicken and broccoli, and brown rice. The wonton soup was GREAT. Not to salty, and the wonton's made out of 75% chicken were delightful. We're very picky about wonton soup, and we both agreed and enjoyed it immensely. Usually, when we get chicken and broccoli, we always order the sauce on the side because it's always drenched it fattening, high calorie sauces. However, we took a risk and got the order as is, with sauce on it. The first thing I always notice with chinese food is that if the dish is greasy and has a lot of fat and/or oil, I can feel it on my lips. However, I could not feel any grease on my lips here! As for the rice, it's great to see brown rice being offered. The texture was different and well appreciated. Another positive thing about this restaurant is that after eating a generous amount of food, we didn't feel disgustingly full and bloated. We had a nice satiety that lasted all afternoon.

                  Overall, it may be a little pricy, however, I think it was worth it. For the amount of care and effort they put into being healthy, and as a nutrition major, it was by far the healthliest chinese meal I've ever had. Maybe the soup was bland - but that's how we liked it. We though the sauces were perfect. We'll be frequent customers from now on.

                  1. l
                    lindsaypsu Jan 6, 2009 02:51 PM

                    i thought it was pretty good. not high-brow, still chinese takeout. but as far as chinese takeout goes, top of the scale. i had wonton soup (i really didn't miss floating pieces of shredded pork, sorry), chicken w/ 7 veg, and beef mai fun. both were really good. all i want when i get chinese is someone not to ruin brown rice and vegetables with msg and grease, and this place was a dream come true. no slimey feeling in my mouth post-meal either. i'll stop here on the way home from work again for sure.

                    1. d
                      danajordan Mar 2, 2009 06:49 PM

                      Hello Mounteback, I agree Lo Fatt Chow is a funny name and my husband and kids laughed
                      at their hwy sign for over a year.Recently,they opened another location near Clinton where
                      we live and friend of mine went there and couldn't stop talking about them.Our family cannot
                      eat Chinese food as my daughter is diabetic and I require gluten free.My friend told me that
                      they work with the local hospital diabetic program so my husband and I decided to try them
                      out as my kids love Chinese food but can't eat it.What a pleasant surprise when the chef
                      prepared my child's entree in their diabetic sauce.It was delicious as we all had some.
                      My husband had crocodile stir-fry and I had chick and broccoli.The veggies were so
                      crisp and fresh,the sauces were very light and the meat was so tender.We will never
                      laugh at this place again. It is really" lo fatt".So refreshing to what Clinton residents had to endure all these
                      years.My daughter wants her 9th birthday party there and of course we said yes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: danajordan
                        s
                        sweetteeth69 Jun 4, 2009 05:30 PM

                        I drive from Hamilton to eat at Lo fat chow.The food here is so much fresher,and better then any chinese food i've had in Mercer County.Some of my favorite dishes are the lunch specials,like the BBQ Pork with seven vegetables..Singapore Mei Feng is excellent..the curry dishes are good,as is the General Tso (white breast meat).The bbq pork and pineapple fried rice is real good,and the meat dishes are also real tasty.I tell the guy to make my dishes mild,because i can't eat real spicy food.Overall,i really enjoy this place..i wish we had one closer to Hamilton.

                      2. e
                        ecollins Jul 6, 2009 11:18 AM

                        My boyfriend and I stopped to take out dinner on the way home from work one night. It was our first visit, and wont be the last. For strip mall chinese, the food is good. Much lighter and less oily than typical chinese. Arguably more flavorful also. Yes, you pay around $1 more per dish, however I am happy to pay extra for better, lighter food. And, I should clarify, that by lighter I mean less oily. Dont eat here if you are looking to lose 5 pounds.

                        Yes, they advertise "authentic" chinese cuisine, but doesnt every strip mall chinese place? I take that with a grain of salt. Overall, the food was better than most places. I ordered wonton soup -- excellent-- steamed veggie dumplings -- good-- and steamed chicken and veggies. The veggies were steamed perfectly, and the brown sauce was very good, better than most. My boyfriend had a rice noodle dish that was very light a flavorful. We were happy to eat the leftovers the next day..... with most chinese places we are not tempted to eat the oily, salty, goopy leftovers.

                        Dont expect 5 star cuisine, just expect good food and service. You wont be disappointed.

                        1. n
                          notalowfatchowfan Jul 21, 2009 04:51 PM

                          I just experienced Lo-Fatt Chow in Flemington for the first time and it definitely be my last! In addition to the VERY RUDE service (so rude I have to say it was the worst I've ever seen), the food was barely edible. I ordered a basic chicken and broccoli entree with brown rice and egg roll and it was disgusting. The chicken dish had a funny almost sweet taste that didn't taste like any Chinese food I've ever had before and the brown rice was worse than eating soggy cardboard. How can you screw up brown rice? Also, the portion was small for the price (not that I wanted any more than a taste after the first couple bites) and all in all, it was lousy. Almost fast food like, if you can imagine such a thing. But, the worst part was the service and the rude employees. Spend your money somewhere else for a decent meal! I know I will!

                          1. e
                            esjro Nov 14, 2009 04:06 PM

                            Went to get take-out here tonight, and it has changed names! It is now Ming's Chinese Kitchen. Apparently the chef bought it out, and the counter guy said it was too expensive to keep the name. The food is the same. The new menu has a few new traditional Americanized-Chinese food items, and the combo prices are a dollar less.

                            What happened to the crazy owner who would make you order by numbers????

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: esjro
                              ambrose Dec 5, 2009 01:28 PM

                              The crazy owner may be at the other Lo-Fatt Chow restaurant, which is in Lebanon, just south of Clinton on Route 31. For whatever reason, the Lebanon branch has kept its name, and presumably, its tasteless food.

                              About a month ago, I stopped in at the pizza joint next door to the Lebanon site. Business was very good with a number of tables occupied and a lot of pizzas being picked up by people who had phoned in their orders. When I left, I glanced in at Lo-Fatt. Not a soul in the place.

                              1. re: esjro
                                m
                                madgreek99 Dec 21, 2009 05:41 PM

                                Went to Ming's the other day for lunch. We ate in. It is much better than Lo Fatt Chow was, but it is now just an ordinary Hunterdon County mediocre-at-best Chinese restaurant. Again, in my opinion, this is a huge improvement from Lo Fatt Chow. For anyone who hasn't been, I recommend take out over eating in, as there is not much seating and is not very comfortable.

                              2. c
                                combokid Dec 29, 2009 05:55 PM

                                I had hoped that with a change in ownership the new Ming's (located at 'Everitts Plaza corner Rt 202/31 and Everitts Road) would be good and well-priced. It is neither. While the gentleman behind the counter was certainly more polite and pleasant than the prior owner of Lo-Fatt, the food still suffers from the same ailments. Lack of taste, lack of salt, small portions and overpriced. A simple won ton soup and shrimp egg foo yong came to almost $14. Compare this with China Moon 10 minutes away in Flemington and the total is about $10. That's 40% more expensive, with less taste and smaller portions (note the rice container is not a full pint container it's somewhere between a half-pint and pint). The rice was also not terribly hot or fresh. I was disappointed and will be driving to China Moon in the future.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: combokid
                                  c
                                  combokid Dec 30, 2009 07:25 AM

                                  And may I add: the quality, or lack thereof, of the food, its remarkable similarity to the blandness in taste and extreme radioactive hotness, is only more parallelled by the pricing of Lo-Fatt, which I checked online (http://www.lofattchow.com/catalog/all...).

                                  THE PRICING IS EXACTLY THE SAME.

                                  I've reached the following conclusion:

                                  I believe the people, or person, behind Lo-Fatt are the same people running Ming's. I think he just changed the name and hired a manager or franchised it out.

                                  The low-quality, felt-ripped-off feeling was exactly the same as my prior dining experience at Lo-Fatt's. It's too coincidental. Go into any other Chinese restaurant and you get predicatable food, it's usually ok or really good, in plain white Chinese food containers but here they manage to tweak every single dish just enough to screw it up.

                                  For Gods sake, Wonton soup is as basic as it gets, a standard that anyone can make, yet the soup here is not tempting. I threw most of it out. Burning nerve-damage hot, and yet beyond bland, they should get over this "no peanut oil, no msg" campaign and pay attention to what they're putting out there- how does it taste???

                                  Sorry about the rant but I live close by and was really hoping there was a good local tasty Chinese restaurant. Oh well, China Moon is 10 minutes away and let me tell you, their food is outstanding and much lower-priced. In fact I would say they are cheap. Compare their $6.85 Shrimp Egg Foo Young and $2.95 Large Wonton Soup.

                                  1. re: combokid
                                    e
                                    esjro Dec 31, 2009 03:28 PM

                                    It is some of the same people, like my post said, it is now owned by the Lo Fatt chef. He bought it from the crazy Canadian guy.

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