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Jul 23, 2009 03:19 PM

New to Chapel Hill, Chinese Please!

We just moved to the Chapel Hill area and I need some serious non-curry based, top-shelf Chinese food. Any suggestions?

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  1. You aren't going to find anything like that in Chapel Hill. There is The Lantern (, but it is pan-Asian.

    Other posters have been talking about Super Wok in Cary as the place to go for Chinese in the Triangle - there are some other places, too, but none of them are in Chapel Hill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: romansperson

      If you are delving into pan-asian, don't forget Jujube on Hwy 54 in Glen Lennox Shopping center. I find it equal to Lantern, although Lantern has received more press.

    2. Super wok in Cary is the go to spot for authentic Chinese. It's in Chatham Square and I have driven an hour and fifteen minutes on numerous occasions for a fix

      1. Here is the best of what we have found in the area--

        We enjoy the special Chinese menu at Red Lotus ( ) in Chapel Hill. The regualr menu seems to be pretty standard stuff, but the Chinese menu, while not inexpensive, is very tasty. Here is a link to the menu--note: we always have to ask for it at the restuarant. The exciting news is they have another whole page of items which is in the process of being translated so more dishes to try. Yeh!

        I enjoyed Super Wok for the experience of trying their Schezuan dishes though it is a much oilier style of cooking than the Shanghai-style at Red Lotus. Still, the dishes with Schezuan peppercorns were rather addictive. Here is a link to the Chinese menu. The only disappointment was the Kung Pao Chicken which tasted pretty much like every other one I've ever had. Maybe it was because it was on the regular lunch menu and they made it for the non-adventurous crowd.

        Another place to try is China Palace on Garret Road in Durham. I wouldn't order from their regular menu--I was tempted by the inexpensive price for the lunch specials a couple of days ago--but to me was just standard fare. In fact, my husband really disliked his dish. I have ordered many times off their special Chinese menu and have had some very good dishes, such as lamb stew and shredded pork with preserved cabbage. I read a little buzz that the special menu isn't as good as it used to be, but can't confirm that. We were disappointed when we special ordered in advance the Szechwan-style whole fish when my daughter was in from Texas. The sauce was way too sweet and sticky. She said it was nothing like what she was used to having. I will have to make a trip to Super Wok and try it there. On Saturday and Sunday China Palace offers a special weekend menu. The last time we went on a Sunday for lunch we were one of four non-Asians in the place so they must be doing something right.

        The dim sum at Hong Kong Chinese restaurant (3003Guess Road) in Durham is good on the weekends. They come around with the carts and I have always enjoyed it. Go early--we try to get there at 11 a.m., or be prepared for a wait. Also, when we came late, we got stuck in the little side porch room, and the carts seemed to pass us b. It took forever to even get the basic dumplings.

        For basic but fresh tasting, non-greasy Chinese we enjoy Peony Asian Bistro (3515 Witherspoon Blvd., Durham). Staff is nice, food comes quickly, the sushi special at lunch is a good deal, and it is walking distance from our house. Standard fare, but nicely done standard fare.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Panski

          Terrific post, Panski, thanks so much. By the way, I live about 1/4 mile from China Palace in Durham, and I order takeout from them very frequently (at least a couple of times per month). Their food is inconsistent: sometimes it's delicious, sometimes it is so-so or even bad. A few times, the meat has tasted rancid and inedible. I continue to order from them because (1) they deliver to my doorstep, and (2) about half the time, it's really excellent. I've tried talking to them about it, and they haven't given me any impression that they understand how variable the quality of their food is. So the long and short of it is that they are worth trying, especially if you are in the neighborhood. But just know going into it that they are extremely hit or miss.

          1. re: durhamois

            Thanks, durhamois. That was very interesting information. I knew I had some very good meals there--I thought maybe my taste buds had changed.
            And, too be fair, I had the leftover lunch for dinner last night and it hit the spot. We will keep trying because the hits are so good.

          2. re: Panski

            Panski, thanks for this. I've never even met you and feel a deep need to buy you a beer - I grew up in the Triangle but haven't lived here since the early 1990s; my wife and I relocated to Chapel Hill this spring.

          3. My husband insisted I add an addendum to my suggestions. In the RTP area of Durham, China Express ( is located in the Park Terrace Shopping Center at 2223 Highway 54.

            We go for one dish, and one dish only, Jan Pong, described on the menu as “noodles with sautéed shrimp, pork, scallops, squid, and vegetables in a hot, spicy soup. The soup is available in two styles—Korean or Chinese. The Korean is the spicier of the two. The bowl comes in two sizes—medium for $6.50 and the large for $7.99. And large is very large. The noodles are made in house, and you can up the spice level if you like things extra hot. I have had the stewed beef noodle soup one time. It was good, but Jan Pong is still my favorite.

            Here is a link to a write up which pretty much says it all.

            By the way—I order it medium and spend most of the lunch blowing my nose.

            There was a recent discussion on the board about Chinese Food in the triangle--

            1. If you travel near downtown Raleigh, I LOVE Five Star. Semi-upscale, trendy restaurant with GREAT crispy beef!