China Palace - Taiwanese - Middletown, NJ
Apart from two threads about this restaurant (buried in discussions about Asian cuisine and Hazlet), information about this place is lacking. I know exactly where it is, and am thinking of visiting tomorrow.
Any recent visits/insight?
1815 State Route 35
Middletown, NJ 07748
Decades ago I worked very near China Palace and would frequently go there. It is located in a bowling alley that has looked for decades like it is on the verge of failing. It is hard to imagine people going out for bowling and for exotic Chinese food. But the food was good. My favorite was Squid Noodle Soup. It was a thick broth with fine rice noodles that slid down with much the same sensation as broth.
One day the restaurant closed. I would frequently try to find other restaurants that served this delicacy, Squid Noodle Soup. I never found one. One reason I realize now is that the dish was probably Taiwanese and there are very few Taiwanese restaurants around. There was Bandu for a wile, but that was a fair distance for me. I was there only once. (For one reason that time I had just been given Novocain for dental work and trying to eat Chinese soup with numb lips was so embarrassing I never wanted to go back. Incidentally, with Taiwanese soup the stains do come out.)
I knew for some time that China Palace on Route 35 was open, but had been there only once and the decor made the place seem dismal. I don't know if they carried my lamented Squid Noodle Soup then, but on a return visit I find that it is there pretty much in all its glory. In the old days I think the squid was fried and now it is just boiled or some such, but that may be my memory. We also got Chau-Chau with little idea what it was and it was spicy dumplings. The menu claims that just about every dish is $7.05. What they actually charge with tax is $7.50 so the menu price should be $7.01 to make the numbers come out right. So actually the dishes cost less than the menu says. Taiwanese is a different flavor for this area and despite the dismal surroundings I think I will be back.
I live nearby and have eaten in or take-out several times. The food is pretty good, but I have not been wowed by anything yet. I like it because the menu is very different. Not the usual Chinese menu. I keep hoping to discover a couple of Taiwanese dishes that the kitchen does really well. The staff has not been helpful with ordering.
Make sure you order in the cocktail lounge and not the snack-bar.
Honestly, I prefer the cooking at Shanghai Bun and West Lake. But China Palace is good enough for me to keep trying.
Please let us know what you discover.