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Salt and Pepper Squid

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This is one of my favorite dishes, and we used to be able to get it made to order at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant that has now closed down. I found some this weekend at the Chinese BBQ place in the Chinatown Center on Lamar (they call it Spicy Squid on the menu) and it was pretty good, but I was just wondering if anybody had another place that they know of that makes this dish.

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  1. i think just about all of the more authentic chinese and vietnamese restaurants will have this dish. i've had it at sunflower (inconsistent, sometimes chewy and dry sometimes moist and flavorful), din ho (sorry, i can't remember), kim son (inconsistent as well). i've seen it at sea dragon on the menu. i'm sure many others will be able to chime in with better descriptions and recommendations.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ktown378

      I've never had consistency issues with this dish at sunflower. If you squeeze the lime and mix the juice with the salt and pepper mixture, it's delicious as a dipping sauce =). I don't much like the ones at Din Ho or T&S because they have a buttery flavor that's really disconcerting to me.

      1. re: anna_banana

        i'm glad to hear that you've had only good experiences with the squid at sunflower. i was referring to the squid itself, not the sauce. maybe i'll order it again next time i go and it will be as good as it has been in past visits.

        1. re: ktown378

          I know what you mean, ktown - the flavor was very good at Sunflower, but on two of many occasions it was simply overcooked and a little rubbery. We ate it anyway.

          My best memory of this dish is an appetizer that they serve at Peony. Never tested it out enough for consistency.

        2. re: anna_banana

          I haven't had Din Ho, but I know the buttery flavor you're talking about at T&S - I thought it might be coconut milk though. I like the taste a lot. Never had a rubbery squid at T&S so far.

          1. re: Allison L.

            Most places typically use butter as a finishing ingredient - you get the shrimp topped with buttery, garlicky, oniony goodness. I've often wondered how healthy this dish is!

      2. That item is found pretty much all over. T&S has a variety of salt and pepper dishes and they do it well: crispy, light batter, well-seasoned. Din Ho has a version with fresh and dried squid which I thought was interesting because of the different textures. Their batter, however, is a bit thicker than that found at T&S.

        1. I'm a big fan of Din Ho's, but I have no aversion to very salty and very greasy food. On the menu it is served with both fresh and dried squid, but I just ask for them to do all fresh and there is no extra charge.

          1. A couple of years ago, there was a place on 620 in Round Rock called Hao Hao. They had the *best* salt & pepper squid I've ever had. In a half dozen visits, that dish was never less than spectacular. The pieces were large, but unbelievably tender and not rubbery at all and every bite was accompanied by a subtle "snap" as if you could bend the pieces in half and they might pop in two.
            The dish was served piping hot and the pieces had just the slightest sheen of oil on them. Little bits of crispy peppers and greens dusted the surface, but the flavor was all salty squid.

            Mmmmm...

            Does anyone know if they're still there? I'm going to have to go find out tomorrow!

            Din Ho and Sunflower are closer to home. I like the squid at Din Ho for lunch, but I've had a single bad experience at dinner. Not enough to sour me on Din Ho at all, but I've been cautious since.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gleep

              They're still there. We eat there a lot.

              A recent discovery in the same shopping center is the Indian Market. It's a lot like the Asian Cafe. Market up front, small restaurant in the back for eat in or take out. My wife brought home 3 dishes, a vegetable, a chicken and a lamb. They were all good but the vegetable was outstanding.

            2. I really like the salt and pepper squid at pf chang - what can i do?

              1 Reply
              1. re: moosy

                I went to Mikado recently and we ordered what was called calamari on the menu. While I've never had salt and pepper squid (only shrimp), I thought it was very much like the salt and pepper shrimp I have had in the past. The pieces of squid are from the calamari steak and unbelievably tender. It's worth a try for sure.