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Oct 22, 2009 07:37 PM

No Mas - Jfood gives up on Chinese in MSP

After attempts to find Americanized Chinese to his liking jfood feels like Giuseppe O'Toole. Who is Giuseppe O'Toole? He left France in 1491 in search of America, and he failed. Likewise jfood has failed.

Maybe it is a different taste that he grew up with back east, maybe there is just a difference between NJ/NY/CT Americanized Chines versus what is available in MSP.

But with all the great other choices and his total lack of success, jfood will call it quits on this venture. He claims success on the Cheesburger and Ice Cream Tours, but he he gives himself an "F" on the Chinese venture.

Oh Well. Jfood returning in two weeks and already has a reservation at Bar La Grassa and the Taste of the NFL.

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  1. And you're going to deprive us of all the gory details? I haven't seen you writing about any of this bad Chinese food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: faith

      No gory details at all. Just not to his liking but each place was thriving with locals enjoying. So jfood will take the hit on this one. No need giving bad reviews if it is not the restaurant's fault. Just different strokes for different folks syndrome.

    2. This made me giggle -- "no mas" is what we say to Miss Dog when all of her treats are gone. Is there really no decent Chinese in MSP? Seems like there should be something.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pikawicca

        pika, there is indeed decent Chinese food here (my favs are Little Szechuan and Tea House; but Pagoda (it's pan Asian, including Chinese), and Mandarin Kitichen aren't bad; also there's Shuang Cheng for Lobster, Keefer Court for bakery, Yangtze (per ScoopG--I haven't been yet) for passable dim sum) but good AMERICANIZED Chinese is difficult to come by, in part because it depends on what Americanized means to you. We even have (about 15 years after the curve) have a new upscale pan Asian restaurant Ginger Hop that's getting a lot of buzz.

        For Americanized, I think the cream cheese won tons here are pretty good here, but I hadn't really encountered them before, either, so they define cream cheese won tons to me. I don't understand the bizarre bologna stuff that comes on chow mein here.

        I get my Americanized Chinese food from Grand Shanghai on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Little Szechuan has a decent, though not extensive, Americanized menu, though I haven't ordered from it in yonks, because I go there for the Szechuan menu.


      2. Americanized Chinese food is very different here in Minnesota. We have weird and seemingly singular taste when it comes this and I have no idea why. Heck, I'm still searching for the old-fashioned Minnesota brown Chow Mein of my youth. You'd probably really hate it, but it's what my tastebuds remember.

        One thing that's very different about our "Chinese" food is that it's usually packed with sugar. Also, over the past couple or so decades it's become much more Vietnamese than Chinese.

        I personally go for Broccoli in Garlic Sauce in most places and it's wildly different everywhere I've tried it. I kind of like that it's so unpredictable but I'm thinking that would frustrate most people.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MplsM ary

          "Americanized Chinese food is very different here in Minnesota. We have weird and seemingly singular taste when it comes this and I have no idea why."

          Agreed wholeheartedly.

        2. I can understand the wanting to give up. But if you can't find something to love at Pagoda, you're not trying at all. (Which reminds me, have you taken my advice to get a burger at Good Day Cafe yet?)

          Pagoda has hundreds of dishes and a constant array of changing specials -- everything from Americanized to standard Chinese Chinese food. All of the...let's see....25-30 (?) dishes I've tried there have all been between good and amazing.

          When Mother Nature is pissed off like she seems to be right now, their hot pots and soups are the perfect cure for the shivers. I wish I was having lunch there today.

          1. I found Pagoda's dim sum to be so-so and not as fresh as Yangtze. Also Pagoda offers a mixture of Chinese, Japanese and even Thai items if I recall which is always bad news for a Chinese restaurant. Has Jfood tried the quintessential Midwest Chinese-American dish: Chow Mein - a mixture of ground pork (or turkey) and celery in a sauce served over the crispy Chungking Brand style noodles with rice on the side? Big take out item. I've not seen this elsewhere in the USA although I've heard it used to be served in northern NJ. I tried to find an old thread on Chow Mein from the MSP board but did not have's a start with four places but I expect every local neighborhood Chinese serves it:


            3 Replies
            1. re: scoopG

              Dim Sum and the regular dining are two different things -- my comments are re: the regular dining.

              1. re: MSPD

                i went to pagoda for dim sum the first weekend they offered it, and it was a durn good improvement over mandarin and the like. but since then i've been working weekend mornings. has the dim sum at pagoda just sucked lately, or is yangtse just that much better (i haven't been)?

                i look forward to dim sum sometime when i get a weekend morning off next month, so this is big for me. help me out, hounds! :)

                1. re: soupkitten

                  In my once only taste tests of both both Pagoda and Yangtse, Yangste won hands down. Some of the dumpling skins at Pagoda were withered or cracked and overall just not as fresh as Yangstse.