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Dec 15, 2010 01:23 PM

China Chef - Rochester, MI

Unsuspecting little chinese restaurant. I thought it was another one of those cheap mom-pop Panda Express wannabe littering SE-MI.

Com Ga Xoi Mo - Vietnamese fried chicken.

Its Crispy Chicken on their menu. What an understatement! Its half a chicken lovingly deep-fried, and it is fantastic. No batter, the skin is crispy hiding underneath succulent pieces of meat. I normally can't stand breast meat, but even this was amazing. Soft, moist, flavorful. Great, great dish. Their dipping sauce is just salt and msg. If you take out, I suggest the more ubiquitous salt, pepper, with a squeeze of lime over it.


p.s. Yelp reports a decent bowl of pho from there, but I haven't tried it. Maybe one day.

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  1. Two reviews in one day? Go on with your bad self, donbui82.
    I've driven past this place a million times, and never thought to try it. Based on your rec' and on the indirectly referenced photo of their Pho, I'll give it a try. Looks promising. Thanks for the tip!
    PS--While it's on Rochester Rd., it's actually located in Troy proper (not being picky; just trying to help orient people to the location of your place...which happens to be next to a good Korean grocery store, as you know).

    PPS--I also haven't forgotten your Prime Rib lead (Parrot Cove). But, I'm totally locked-up for the two weeks leading to Dec. 26.

    1. Sounds spectacular! Never would've thought that little hole-in-the-wall would have anything decent. Intrigued!

      1. DonB: thanks for the lead. Went for lunch today and the chicken was as good as advertised. Incredibly crispy skin (corn starch I think) and at $11 for a whole bird with rice it was good value too. As mentioned the rest of the crowd (all asian) were having pho. I'm going back in to add a review to the pho thread.

        1. There's a China Chef in Ypsilanti, too. One Chinese friend used to speak well of it. Wonder if it's related.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jim M

            Would be interested to know since that is my neck of the woods.

            1. re: Jim M

              As donbui82 and goatgolfer say, the fried chicken is perfectly done. They don't do something radical with the chicken, but they just make it great. If you can get excited about very "simple" fried chicken, I'd recommend it. China Chef seems to sell a lot of them.

              Next time I go back, though, I'm trying their second most popular dish-- the aforementioned pho. (I can more easily fry my own chicken at home than can I make good pho)

              I must say, however, that the other "Chinese" dishes I tried there were unimpressive. Today I had stir fried noodles with chicken, and fried rice and sichuan beef. All were no better than Panda Express.

            2. Went there for dinner the other day.

              1) Chicken.. as good as always. Just a heads up.. it takes 25 minutes to prepare, so call ahead for take out, or call ahead if you're gonna eat there to save time.
              2) I chatted with my waiter a little. Turns out their chinese-vietnamese, hence the mixed menu. So i decided to try some other stuff Ordered the summer rolls and Mi Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu. Their summer rolls.. decent. Its nice because everything's made fresh to order. The rice wrapper and noodles were warm, chewy and pliable. Shrimp was ok. The pork, instead of just boiled pork, they use chinese BBQ style pork. Personally, i don't think it works here. With the hoisin sauce, its too sweet.

              Having said that, the Mi was FANTASTIC. Few caveats. My family and I are Egg noodle fanatics. Cantonese style egg noodles. Sad to say, Its an integral part of our family vacations. Let's break down China Chef's version of Mi Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu (Cantonese style egg noodles with wontons and bbq pork)
              Broth. Good. Very good. Even more impressive is that I didn't sense too much MSG. I wasn't sucking down water after my meal there. Deep, rich, tasty, and more importantly made specifically for this meal. It wasn't like.. pho broth, or bun bo hue broth that they put in a different noodle. done RIGHT. Rare around here. Most other places cheat that way.
              Noodles. Not fresh, handmade stuff, but cooked right. Decently chewy, good textures and flavors
              Wontons (hoanh thanh): Tasty little morsels. Flavorful, thin wrapper, yummy. Nitpicking: They're a touch small. Real wontons should have a whole shrimp in them and a mushroom. These were devoid of both.
              Veggies: BokChoy. standard stuff
              BBQ pork: The real surprise of the meal. Really good bbq pork. The two Chinese bbq meat places (13/dequinder and John R 13.5).. doesn't make very good Xa Xiu. Its too sweet, and use too fatty of pork bits. They also overcook it so there is a crust on the outside. Here, its slightly sweet, salty with tender flavorful meat. I forgot to ask if they make this inhouse as well.

              Pretty interesting place. Mostly everything is made fresh to order, so it takes a while, but well worth it. Their Mi (egg noodles) is by far the best version in Detroit that i've had, ace-ing Thuy Tang/Que Huong/and Pho Hang by a long shot.

              BIG thumbs up


              Pho Hang Restaurant
              30921 Dequindre Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071