Any good Chinese food in SW austin?
Does anyone know a good,authentic or at least decent Chinese place for lunch near Mopac/360/290 area. I can do Taiwanese, Cantonese, whatever.
To get an idea of what I am after, I love Pao's but they are way out in Lakeway so that is out for lunch. Love Din Ho but it is kinda far north (although doable and very good). T&S is good but way up north. Coco's is good but up north or by campus is a bit of a pain to park. I was wondering someone knows of some other places.
I'd have to agree with Hao-Hao at the SE corner of Manchaca & William Cannon...
Now there's one place west of SW Austin, in Lakeway, that is arguably the best Chinese restaurant (certainly for Dim Sum) in all of Central Texas--Pao's Mandarin House in Lakeway about a mile north of the Backyard--which also happens to have the best Vegan cuisine I've ever tasted anywhere (American Vegans who are skeptical should remember that the Chinese have been doing Vegan cuisine for several Millenia, American Veganism is still in its infancy)--you'll want to order from their "Chinese menu" (which does have English translations) and show up around 11am Saturday or Sunday--seriously amazing food...
1901 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78745
Tien Jin has an authentic Chinese menu but you have to ask for it since they hand you the Americanized menu. Hao Hao has a fantastic Hot & Sour Chicken Soup. Can't get past it on the menu but I think it's the best soup in town.
1205 Round Rock Ave Ste 135, Round Rock, TX 78681
There are two places in SW Austin (both off Westgate Blvd) to get good Chinese food.
Definitely order from the "authentic" Chinese menu at both.
Tienjin, on South Lamar, (http://www.tienjinrestaurant.com/chefspecial.htm
)has more sit-down dinner dishes, like steamed whole fish. Honestly, it's been years since I've been to Tienjin, but I remember pipa tofu (like fluffy savory dumplings) was good.
By the way, when you're in north Austin, Ho Ho Chinese BBQ makes a nice version, too.
China Hill, on William Cannon,
)is better at the typical HK-style lunch plates like BBQ pork over rice, beef flat rice noodles, etc. It's not First Chinese--in fact, there are only a handful of tables. They concentrate on phone-in orders, more like a "Din Ho to go".
Glad to find this thread yesterday, as I was having some serious cravings but driving from downtown to Ho Ho is just too annoying of a trek at rush hour. So we went to Tienjin instead and were pleasantly surprised.
We got there early, so the restaurant was empty, but it had filled up nicely by the time we left. Many online reviews suggest asking for the "other" menu but we were provided with both upon seating. We tried dishes from both menus:
- Crab Ragoon - I love these fried cream cheesy bombs, and theirs were very good, with an actual depth of flavor to the gooey-crunchy fried goodness,
- Fried Dumplings - okay, probably wouldn't order them again. 8 pcs and nice crunch on the bottom but filling was a bit bland.
- Pipa Tofu - their speciality according to one of the owners. Lovely pockets of fluffy tofu combined with minced shrimp, shaped into little oblong spheres and lightly fried, served with a gelatinous white wine sauce. I really enjoyed the shrimp flavor with the soft tofu texture, though I could have done with a bit more crispiness on the outside/contrast in texture. The sauce complemented the tofu well. I liked these so much I may order them every time and plan on trying to make a totally bastardized version at home.
- Spicy Crispy Chicken - "Spicy Crispy __(anything)_" was recommended in several reviews online. I am very curious as to how this dish was made...small pieces of chicken seemingly dry-fried(?) with grilled onions and jalapenos. Neat preparation - the chicken was indeed crispy but juicy at the same time. Perhaps in salt? (ETA from eating leftovers at lunch - nice hint of five-spice-ish sweetness) I totally want to see how they prepare other proteins in this style, but we had two complaints - it definitely was not very spicy, and I thought it was overall too salty. (I'm thinking part of that is because salt is used in the way it's "fried," but I don't know for sure.) That said, I kept sneaking bites off of the plate when we were full.
- Sesame Chicken and Orange-Flavored Beef - I like trying new dishes and cuisines but sesame chicken is one of my comfort foods, and the best I've had remains from Ho Ho. Orange beef is the BF's Chinese comfort food so we got these two dishes to go to see how they compared. The Sesame Chicken was nowhere near as delicious as Ho Ho or Din Ho and used the same curious chicken prep (very small pieces) as the spicy crispy dish. I have to say for chicken I far prefer fewer, larger pieces of meat, and dark meat at that. The orange beef was really tender and tasty and I wish I was having that for lunch today instead of the chicken...
Other reviews note that this is a mom-and-pop shop, and we briefly spoke to both of them, very welcoming atmosphere. They greeted the next table over by name. All in all we are *really* happy to have found such good food down south and look forward to trying more items off the Cantonese/second/other/authentic/real/tasty/blahblahblah menu. I expect Tienjin to become our go-to South and takeout place for Chinese food...
The Chinese food in south austin is pretty abysmal, which I found to be a bit surprising. Usually just about any town will have a pretty good, run of the mill Cantonese place that'll give you your basic egg rolls, moo goo gai pan, egg drop soup etc.
Suzi's on South Lamar is pretty good though, the one saving grace in my opinion. It's nothing that'll knock your socks off, but it's better than your average takeout place.