First try at Chinese on Greenville in Richardson
I'm the foodie in the family, but my wife gamely accompanied me to Jeng Chi today. I am not very experienced at authentic Asian, but I've had a lot of duck lately (FCB and Joy Luck on Coit) and I love Sichuanese across the street from Joy Luck.
We sampled wonton soup and dumplings. The soup was great. I ordered dumplings boiled with pork, shrimp, and leeks. That was a little bit adventurous as there were definitely some strange flavors at different stages in the chewing. Slightly fishy finish, but the taste my wife called "cleaning fluid" occured somewhere in the middle. I will go back for these, but I would like to hear recommendations on cooking methods and ingredients.
Two entrees were Beef/cumin sauce and chicken/garlic bean sauce. The chicken was spicy and tasty, but I wasn't excited about the shape or texture. The unidentified rubbery things (mushrooms?) in with the chicken were really good. I've only had bean sauce once before and DW never. She chop-sticked her way through about half the chicken, not asking for a fork even when a nearby diner had one delivered.
I love the lamb w/cumin at Sichuanese, but this beef dish was even stronger with the spice and especially the grease. I loved it, but the rice was needed just to calm the cumin down a bit.
We left there and decided we had room for dessert somewhere else and wandered into May's Ice Cream. Not too ice-creamy in there! If I had done my homework before we went, I would have known what to expect at May's, and I certainly wouldn't have taken DW in there. She's squeamish. What I now know is "stinky tofu" was disagreeable to me and overwhelming to her. She turned green and whispered to me that she had to get out- NOW. I managed to do a fast recon on the buffet, but the place was packed and I didn't see any ice cream buckets. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to eat shaved ice, or anything else, in this authentic Taiwanese place, but my curiosity about adding beans to shaved ice is piqued. Is there another place in the area with this treatment? TCs?
We laughed and went to Afrah's for gelato where DW ordered TWO scoops of the peach flavor before announcing that it tasted like "a jolly rancher" and not finishing it. It did taste like candy. I think we were expecting more of a natural peach "Blue Bell" experience.
Fortunatley, I always get coffee flavor gelato and know exactly what I'm getting. I did sample the Arabic cream and will probably try that next time to see if I can identify those flavors.
Thanks to this board for helping us find this great neighborhood. We'll make that drive again to see if we can get the good stuff on our table. I hate when I'm out of my element and you look around the restaurant and realize that your dishes are not what the regulars are ordering.
First of all....you are wlecome for the suggestions and want to commedn you and your wife for at least making the culinary leap! Second thank you for not posting some nonsensical (sp?) post about looking for a restuarant or dish that is impossible to find or accomodate in Dallas.
As far as I can tell you are looking for cooking methods and ingredients that go into Chinese dumplings. Cooking methods are generally only reserved to two styles: steaming (rendering them a more gummy texture but the flavors seem to pop better) and pan frying (this is more typical to American eateries but the Chinese do also pan fry). I prefer the steamed version.
As far as fillings there is an infinite number of possibilities. If you are close to any asian market look in the freezer section and there should be a whole row or two devetoed to dumplings of all kinds. If you happen to have a rice cooker at home just steam them that way on top of some napa cabbage so they don't stick to any holding tray. if you would like to make your own I would either ask at Jeng Chi for some recommendations on fillings, ask at one of the markets, or look up a recipe online.
As far as Sichuan cuisine I used to like Sichuanese for the Water Boiled Fish.....a big bowl of very spicy cod filets in a rich broth with napa cabbage, Sichuan peppercorns (lots of them), chili oil and cilantro. By far the best dish I have had. I prefer now Little Sichuan at 75 & Legacy. They have practically the same menu but not quite as greasy. Also you can ask for specials that are written in Chinese and ask for what you are after (chicken, beef, pork, seafood and generally one or two veggies are on that menu). When my wife and I go we always try to get a meat dish and a green veggie dish (Chinese Broccoli (actaully milder than American Broccoli) with Chinese Black Mushrooms, Snow Pea Tips with garlic (very light taste light spinach, but ask as these can be a bit expensive ask before you order jow much they are), Water Spinach with garlic and ginger. The possibilities are endless as far as greens just as what they have and you can have them prepared how you like them.
I agree Afrah has the best baklava and chicken tawook in the DFW. I grew up eating Vietnamese food and cannot for the life of me understand why people like Bistro B. It's the only Vietnamese restaurant I've ever been too where I found the food just absolutely disgusting and inedible. It's definitely not traditional Vietnamese. I really like Zander's in Plano(?). The make all the traditional foods I grew up with. However, no pho. It's true Vietnamese home cooking.
Afrah has the BEST baklava i've found in this area....
have you been to Bistro B yet?? highly recommend it....great 4 for $1 eggrolls at the cash register - enough to make a meal out of! the pho is good too. :)
King's Noodle - a few blocks south on Greenville at Polk, also has shaved ice with different toppings including beans. You can walk over and see the dishes with the toppings and pick what you like. They also have good food to try before dessert!
I'm making a note on the fish dish, thnaks. We have not been to the area on Legacy. I did try the black cod w/black bean sauce (FCB) on a recommendation from another post here and that was good stuff.
I carried our leftovers home and I just ate two more dumplings cold. The taste we were unfamiliar with was definitely the leeks, but the taste was already more welcome than yesterday. I think I'll try King Noodle for the shaved ice, assuming it's not as intimidating as May's. ;)
Since you and your wife don't seem to be some noob off the street I will lay down some recs below for Plano/Richardson restaurants. Bring cash as most are cash only. My wife and I always get water or hot tea if it is cool or we are feeling generous. All the dishes below are tried and tested over several trips. The dim sum cart at Kirin Court takes some trying and getting used to the flavors. Kirin Court seems to be a bit more expensive but the service is good, the atmosphere seems more elegant than most places and you will more than likely run into a party/reception going on most weekend nights.
First Chinese BBQ (I usually go to the Carrollton Location)
(They do not have white meat chicken)
Chinese Broccoli with Black Chinese Mushroom (I hate straw mushrooms because they are almost always canned and awful)
Lemongrass Porkchop (Not on the Menu)
Fish Filet (Cod) Steamed w/Tofu and Ginger
Crispy Tofu (Usually on the Menu in Chinese) - ask the waiter
Shrimp Wonton Soup
BBQ Duck or Pork with the Salty Ginger Dipping Sauce - duck can be rich so maybe a combo plate
(Yes they have white meat chicken if that is of concern
)Definitely the Hot and Sour Soup....I like it here the best
Dim Sum - any from the carts...the tripe didn't have much flavor though so skip it
Singapore Fried Vermicelli - has a mixture of all meats
Golden Chives Beef Flat Noodle
Enoki Mushroom E-Fun Noodle
Shrimp/Prawns in XO Sauce
Any of the sizzling plates nix the Szechwan though
Chinese Broccoli with Ginger Wine Sauce
Braised Green Bean
Salty and Spicy Dry Fried Tofu
Sichuanese Cuisine: 2001 Coit Road, Plano, TX 75075 - 972-758-0808
(Yes they have white meat chicken if that is of concern)
Ma Po Tofu
Crispy Fish Filet (Cod) with a spicy turmeric and pepper batter - Not on the Menu, but the Wall
Water Boiled Fish (aka Sichuanese Boiled Fish)
Sichuan Smoked Tea Duck
Dan Dan Noodle
There is always a waitress who has a slight disposition to the typical non-Asian diner here. Ask for another waiter or just ask a lot of questions and you will get someone else! The manager is particularly helpful as he has recommended items written in Chinese on the wall!
Little Sichuan Cuisine - 240 Legacy Drive Suite #302, Plano, TX 75023 - 972-517-1979
(Yes they have white meat chicken if that is of concern
)Fresh Bamboo Shoot with Roasted Chili Vinaigrette
Ask for the Sichuan Pickles - small plate cost about $1 - $2
Tea Smoked Duck - excellent
Shredded Duck with Ginger
Fish with Roasted Chili Vinaigrette (same as Water Boiled Fish)
Sautéed Beef with Conjac
Any of the Beef Dishes
Shredded Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce
Sliced Pork and Napa Cabbage with Spicy Chili Sauce
A green veggie that was crispy and sautéed at the same time...had no English translation
There are seasonal dishes on the Chinese menu close to the front counter. I always order a new one off there. Ask the waiters as they light up and become very interested if you explore off the usual "Americanized" dishes on the menu.
Items that I have not tried but are very interesting to me:
Crispy Fish Filet with Sichuan Chili Miso Sauce
Stir Fried Prawns with Yibin Chili Asparagus
Sichuan Double Cooked Bacon
Both the Sauerkraut Soups
Sichuan Pickled Radish and Pork Soup
I don't read Cinese either but I also don't order Americanized dishes and most of the waitstaff at the places have seen me enough to know I like the "good stuff".
My recommendation would be ask a lot of questions and don't be afraid to venture off into creating your own dish (tell them you would like more fresh ginger if you really like it, put extra Sichuan peppercorns, have a dish sauteed instead of fried). You are paying for it and the cooks are more than willing to make accomodations (actually they prefer it rather than banging out the same dish over and over). Just mis dos centavos.
As usual LewisvilleHounder has a good list of good recommendations.
The one I would add and I added on a similar thread to this one before is Hong Kong Royal in Carrollton. It is at the corner of Frankford and Josey. My wife and I made a trip to Hong Kong earlier this year so we tried different authentic Chinese and Dim Sum places around Dallas Fort Worth and found Hong Kong Royal to be our favorite.
It is slightly Americanized from what you would find on Nathan Road in Kowloon but not too much. The wait staff speaks good English and it is very clean, but the food is still very authentic.
We got somewhat lulled into orginally trying more of the fried dim sum options because they felt more americanized, but really to us the best authenthic Cantonese/Chinese and Dim Sum is when you get away from the battered and fried options. Our two favorites are probably the Shrimp toast and then also the Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings. Both look a little different but once you try them, you will be very impressed.
In that area is an Indian Bakery called Royal Sweets which does sweets (obviously) but also chaat and puri, on the west side of 75 just north of Beltline (Inge Rd). Good place to pick something up to go.
I second the recommendation Little Sichuan. Be prepared for spicy though. And apparently that Asia World next door can also be an interesting experience for people. I had a friend visiting from Arkansas this weekend, we stopped in to pick up a bottle of sake and he went nuts and bought 10 varieties of pocky, since apparently you don't find that sort of thing there (although apparently regular Pocky is now standard at Walmart).
Also on top of the Bistro B recommendation that area (ie Garland) has a lot of Vietnamese restaurants, Nam Hua was just reviewed positively in Guidelive, Bistro B is popular, and there is still my favorite which is La Me.
I am very excited to hear of more explorations of taiwanese shaved ice.. i've been looking for a decent one along with beef noodle soup, but that's for another post.. just wanted to say that jeng chi also sells their own frozen dumplings in the front.. they are awesome.. a bit more pricey than grocery store, but i like them since they are heavy on the dough part of the dumpling and that is all i eat. Back to shaved ice, yeah May's is a bit scary at first, but i think they have been around for a long time and folks go for the economical small eats dishes, i have not tried the kings noodles shaved ice, b/c i am always too full, but have recently discovered the shaved ice offerings at taiwan cafe plano, 15th/ independence. Cash only, but you can get it to go and it is like a giant snow cone in a cup. You can mix and match all sorts of toppings but I usually go for taro root, red bean, or green mung bean, oatmeal, almond pudding, and of course condense milk on top. ps.. Pinkberry is copying shaved ice like they discovered it.. I think the workers can be nicer, but i guess they are busy enough that they don't have to be super nice.