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Best Chinese in Tidewater

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Have had a tough time finding exceptional Chinese in the area. Any recommendations? Thanks.

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  1. I grew up here in the Tidewater / Norfolk area, and there actually used to be several good Chinese restaurants. Sadly, Chinese food has become the small to-go places located in every strip shopping center. There are only a few of these Chinese Restaurants left operating in the area. There are two off of Kempsville Road near Providence Road, and one near the corner of Damn Neck Road and General Booth Blvd. The Peking Duck is probably the best of these. They are OK, but not fabulous. P.F. Changs at Town Center seems to dominate the Chinese restaurant market.

    If you want really good food, then try the BoardWok restaurant. It is locally owned and operated. They prepare a fusion of Chinese, Polynesian, and American food that is very good. Prices are reasonable as well. It is located in the strip center next to the Food Lion at the corner of Sandbridge Road and Princess Anne Road.

    1. Jade Villa on Independence in Va. Beach is fabulous. They have an "American" menu and a "Chinese" menu plus weekends they have really good dim sum.

      When you walk in and your the only person who isn't of Asian descent, then you know it's good.

      9 Replies
      1. re: krisrishere

        What is it near on Independence? Sounds great; I'd like to try it.

        1. re: foodjack

          It's right across the street from Sears Pembroke Mall. It's in a little plaza with Federico's Italian Restaurant and an unfinished wood furniture store.

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          Jade Villa
          353 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

          1. re: krisrishere

            I second them, Love the Dim Sum breakfast on the weekends (Even had my 30th bday party here!) I grew up in the Bay Area (CA) and cut my teeth on great chinese and dim sum, this place is comprable to most out there and def the best chinese food in the area. hope you love it, just remember to get there early (before 11) for the dim sum on the weekends or be prepared to wait in line for a while. Also try the chrysanthumum (sp?) tea w/ rock sugar, one of my faves!

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            Jade Villa
            353 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

            1. re: krisrishere

              I went to a Chinese restaurant at that location when I was in high school 35 years ago. I can't be the same owners? It was good. Glad to know about this place; I'll try it soon.

          2. re: krisrishere

            For the Jade Villa fans, do you have any specific dishes to recommend? I occasionally have meetings in the area, and would like to have a "go to" Chinese option, but my visit this week (hot and sour soup, tripe in black bean sauce) was competent, but not up to the level I expected from the recs here. I want to believe that they are really good, not just "good compared to the other options in the same genre in the area", but at this point, I'm not entirely convinced.

            If you have any hints as to specific dishes, or other hints ("Get the specials", "avoid the specials", "anything with {specific ingredient, specific sauce} tends to be good", "go for dim sum, not dinner", etc.), that guidance would be welcome. I'd like to give the place another try on a future trip.

            As background to help you understand my approach, I tend to prefer the "not Americanized" version of ethnic cuisine, and I do tend to follow the "If I'm the only one speaking English, I might be in the right place" rule of ethnic restaurants. In this case, I wasn't blown away on this first visit, but this seemed like the sort of place where it might be crucial to know what to order, or even how to convey that one is seriously interested in the real versions. All hints or suggestions would be appreciated!

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            Jade Villa
            353 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

            1. re: Warthog

              Well, this town isn't like New York or San Francisco with a China town area. Jade Villa is about as close to ethnic Chinese that you are likely to find around the Tidewater region. My favorite local place for Hot and Sour soup is The Board Wok restaurant. However, it is a fusion of Chinese, Polynesian, and American foods type of restaurant. This doesn't meet your background description above, but the food is good and fresh there. Chinese food is one of my favorite cuisines, I wish there was more to offer around here.

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              Jade Villa
              353 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

              1. re: foodjack

                Just to clarify, my query wasn't meant as a knock on the area's Chinese options. It's just that the particular restaurant had gotten good reveiws, and I wanted to give them a fair shot if my experience was just an off night, or if I ordered things that didn't show off their best.

                I can fully understand and sympathize with the "You can't get good [fill in the blank] here" issue. For example, in the Baltimore/DC area, which is my normal haunt, we get people bemoaning the lack of a good New York style pizza by the slice shop. Yes, there are places that try, but according to the NY-style pizza fans, it's just not the same. The answer to the question on Chowhound is usually a listing of the best available options, followed by some variant of "Sorry, but to be honest, you can't get a slice here like you had back in NYC. Why not try to enjoy the things we DO have in the area that are good, that you may not have had wherever you are from?"

                In my case, I come down to your area enough for meetings that I'm always scouting for "nothing like this back home" places, too, but that should probably be another thread.

                1. re: Warthog

                  No Problem Warthog. I didn't think you were trying to knock the area. It's just a fact that this area is very transient due to the military, and that does effect our restaurant choices. I was just trying to say that we really don't have the big ethnic pockets of population that would help create more authentic ethnic style restaurants. I wish we did! The Board Wok is nice, and is operated by an owner / chef named Kev. However, it is more of a fusion of food styles.

                  Is that Chinese restaurant where all the Presidents eat still open in Bailey's Crossroads? That place was a good find when we were up there. Let me know if you need more info on places to eat down here.

              2. re: Warthog

                I love your question, ordering chinese food is an art - there are often things not on the menu or variations that you have to ask about (point out at others tables or modify to your liking or to go with what else you are ordering). It is never as good to go by yourself vs. with a group where you can get a good variety.

                I am always trying things at Jade Villa and the menus are not very descriptive. I would like to hear others favorites, but have a few to share. (Please note: This is the best chinese restaurant I have found in the area and while it doesn't outshine chinese restaurant in bigger cities it does stand out around here and at least gives you a taste of what you might be missing.) Beef Chow Foon, I have only tried "dry" giant thick rice noodles pan fried (a little greasy) there is another style wet? with couple different sauce choices.

                Ask what greens they have fresh and if any not on the menu - order one of these, and get sauteed with garlic very simple but super yummy/healthy. I liked their Peking Duck, they serve it with these thicker steamed folded buns which are different than many places. Salted and Spicy Shrimp (with shell - you eat the shell). Fried tofu (not on menu it is soft tofu breaded and deep fried and has lots of fried garlic and jalapenos along side - sooo good although it would benefit from a sweet/spicy sauce to dip into). I am a sucker for the Kung Pao shrimp on the american menu. You can always order off of the Dim Sum menu (however those in red are only offered during weekends during the dim sum cart time). I like the Stuffed eggplant with shrimp and the Pan fried leek dumplings.

                On weekends for dim sum I like all the noodle creps, egg custard dessert and the tofu dessert (this one has its own cart). Remember during dim sum you can always order items fresh - if cold or your fave is not out. And it is typical to order a fresh sauteed green and/or others to go with your dim sum offerings. I hope this helps!

                Anyone have any faves I should be trying?

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                Jade Villa
                353 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462