Let's nominate the "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants
- smilyfoodcritic Mar 1, 2009 05:56 AM
I got an idea reading Gary Soup's post about the pitiful "Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the US" announced by Chinese Restaurant News - that is to create a list of "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants around the world.
Chinese restaurants are everywhere, but good, needless to say about great, Chinese restaurants are hard to find outside of Asia. So which Chinese restaurants in your area or which you visited before would you nominate to be included in the "Best "Chow-Approved" Chinese Restaurant List"?
Here are the rules:
- Name the Chinese restaurant and specify the city/state it is located
- Include the URL if available
- Briefly describe why the restaurant is worthy of nomination (e.g. what is their specialty? Taste wise? Chef? Service?)
- What are their signature "not-to-miss" dishes (or your personal favorite dishes there)
- Nominate as many Chinese restaurants as you like
Below are my nominations:
- Lao Sze Chuan, in Chicago and Downers Grove in IL
- They specialize in Szechuan dishes which are known for its spiciness and their menu provides more "authentic" options than just the regular American-Chinese dishes
- Some of my personal favorites are their "Chef's Special Dry Chilli Chicken", "Boiled Beef in Spicy Szechuan Sauce", "Crispy Shrimp in Mayonnaise Sauce", but there are many more dishes that are also delicious.
Pepper_mil, Lao Sze Chuan does have a Chinese menu available. Mayonnaise sauce shrimp is one of my favorite dishes when I lived in Taiwan, so I am not sure if it is a Szechuan specialty, but I am glad to find it on LSC's menu.
The scope is not limited to outside Asia - I would love to know which restaurants are local favorites when I visit China again.
Chopstick Express, College Ave., State College, PA. As 'authentic' as any NYC Chinatown Sichuanese. Specialties (and my personal faves) include: stir-fried dry green beans with ground pork & chili, cucumbers in garlic sauce, diced chicken with hot peppers, hot and spicy pork, and the fantastic ma po tofu. No website, unfortunately.
Great idea, great future resource.
My nomination (nobody who knows me will be surprised) is Hong Kong House in Knoxville Tenn. The home of Peter Chang, a Chinese chef who has wowed the 'hounds and Atlanta and before that in DC for many years. He once cooked for the President of China, and came to the US originally to cook at the Chinese embassy in DC, so you get the picture. Fantastic Sichuan specialties. I understand he has at least 3 more years on his contract, so will be there at least until 2012 or so. Don't ask me how he got to Knoxville, it is just one of those mysteries.
Hong Kong House
8079 Kingston Pike
No web site, but googling the resto name will bring up much commentary, as will searches of the relevant CH boards.
If you go, as you enter the restaurant there are numerous photos of his best dishes posted on the wall to the left--choose from among those things.
It appears that at least two of the places he previously cooked at, China Star in Fairfax VA (DC metro area) and Tasty China in Marietta GA (Atlanta) have both managed to keep the good times rolling in his wake, so they may both be worth a try if one is in those cities.
Was not wowed at Tasty China, went there in spring 2008, do not know if Mr Chang still there or not. Group of people from Philadelphia,. We rented a car just to go to this restaurant, ate total about 11 things and again were not wowed. Not a fault just ok,
My nomination is Lee How Fook, 11th and Cherry in Philadelphia. Fish Hot Pot, Oyster Hot Pot, Hot and Sour Soup, Salt baked scallops. Mundane stuff, but never had them better elsewhere and l have tried all over the world.
Interesting--I would have thought a restaurant names Hong Kong House would have served Cantonese food more than Szechuan. I haven't been to China Star in a couple of years but thought it was okay, not amazing but worth going to if I were in the area. Definitely not a top Chinese restaurant. I do prefer Cantonese food over Szechuan, though.
As the story goes, HKP used to be a run of the mill strip mall carry out type of place, but it was taken over by new owners from Chengdu, whom being practical Chinese businessmen, didn''t bother to change the sign outside, and just changed the menu instead to a genuine Sichuanese one.
My favorite is Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan. Szechuan, obviously, as spicy as you could hope for but the other flavors of the dish still come through. I get regular cravings for their dan dan noodles and spicy cucumber salad. I don't think they have a website, but you can find their menu here: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...
And (somebody's got to say it) Grand Sichuan in Chelsea for their dry cooked string beans, soup dumplings, and spicy pork with cellophane noodles. Yum. www.thegrandsichuan.com
Different restaurants have such different specialties. I'd nominate Mui Kee in Falls Church, VA but only for their won tons and dumpling soup, with Hong Kong style noodles or not. By far the best I've ever had, light, nice flavor, great broth, melt in your mouth wrappers. Bob's 66 in Rockville for their Taiwanese oyster pancakes. I'd go to both places exclusively for those dishes, far better than any I've had elsewhere.
Oh, foo. You really need to come to north to Canada for the best Chinese food in North America. I can't speak for Vancouver with authority, since I live 3,000 miles away, but friends tell me it's even better than Toronto. However, my Chinese wife's friends and relatives from the US all agree that what you can get in Toronto is significantly better than what they get in NYC or LA.
Try O-Mei, Ambassador, Legend, or Dynasty, all in the northern suburbs. Check out the Ontario board for more detailed descriptions and locations.