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China Village [Albany]

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It seems like China Village has been very consistently good lately. We have been going almost every weekend. They have a new dish which is particularly addicting. It’s on the specials list. I think the name is dry fried spicy fish. The numbing-hot combination of Sichuan peppercorn and red chili perfectly matches the delicate fish. It goes really well with their sesame flatbread. The owner was joking with us last weekend that we always order the dish and that he has one customer who orders it several times each week.

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  1. This seems like a place that if I knew what to order, I might like it more. Maybe this is a good place for people to post the hits and misses. The fish sounds delish.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lmnopm

      There are lots of tips on what to order there. Some of my favorites:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/42931

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Thanks. That predates my first visit!

        1. re: lmnopm

          You can go back even further:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/22569

          I have not been in some time, for some reason. Will have to check it out again. I used to eat here 2-3 times a week in 2003-2004.

      2. re: lmnopm

        If you look down at the bottom of the page the site has very handily provide a host of threads on China Village.

        1. re: lmnopm

          Tonight we popped in for a quick bite which was so yummy: Sauteed pea shoots with garlic, fish with hot bean paste, rice and "classic" chicken chow mein. The pea shoots were by far the best dish; but they were all very generous portions and tasty plates.. I guess I just wish they could all be served at the same time because between just two people, we can't really eat ta whole plate before it gets cold. Tonight, the pea shoots and rice came first, then the chow mein, and then quite a bit later, the fish (our vegetables and chow mein were then cold).

        2. Sounds very ma la!!

          I remember enjoying their pig's ear and ma la beef tendon (these are probably on the snacks or appetizers section of the menu), so a dry fried spicy fish sounds right up my alley! I think they have a version of this with chicken as well that's quite good.

          1. This sounds great. How does it compare with the twice cooked fish fillets which is one of my favorite go to dishes there?

            1. Tried the General Zhang's spicy beef for the first time. Beef tendon, Sichuan peppercorns, fresh and dried chiles, boiled peanuts, onions, tofu, delicious.

              What cut is "beef tendon," anyway? Is it big fat tendons from the legs? These were good-sized chunks, couldn't figure out what they were at first.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                My recollection is that General Zhang Fei's beef is made with beef belly (navel cut), not tendon. Is it beef tendon now?

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  It now seems like I must sample this tomorrow night, as either option appeals to me.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I asked and they said tendon. It didn't seem fatty or meaty, but it was bigger chunks of tendon than I recall having before. Long-simmered to make it tender, I guess.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I also recall it being made from what they called beef belly, though it was not the same as bacon cut. More an alternating lean meat and connective tissue sort of thing.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Beef tendon is really the tendon from the legs. They are usually very gelatinous and not very meaty or fatty. Kingdom of Noodles (18th and Irving) in SF makes a fabulous beef tendon noodle soup with giant chunks of the stuff and hand-pulled noodles. I'm hungry just thinking about it!

                  3. I can't believe they weren't on my radar until I joined Chowhound. So many wasted years... Here's what I've ordered in the past month. I've had a few uneven dishes, but the good aspects immensely overpower the weaker ones:

                    spicy cabbage: this was a complementary dish placed on the table before I ordered for dinner last night. It was fantastic, and I don't remember seeing it before. Do they regularly do this and is it on the lunch menu anywhere?

                    #58 hot and spicy pork shoulder: excellent and a conversation started with the people at the next table

                    #127 west style spicy fish filet soup: the best Chinese soup I've ever eaten. The leftovers didn't taste nearly as good the next day.

                    #125 village special lamb w/ cumin: good, but not enough spicing. I prefer the one at Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant.

                    #151 dry cooked bamboo: a bit fibrous, but the dish grew on me, and seemed to improve as a leftover the next day.

                    #199 village special seafood noodle soup: $7.95 for an excellent soup with freshly made noodles? Are you kidding me? Best buy in the house.

                    #206 szechuan style spicy cold noodle w/ chicken: I consulted Chowhound during my dinner to see if I should send these back, and based on a few descriptions of these as "chewy," I concluded that they're supposed to be this way. The noodles were extremely chewy, and seemed like fresh pasta that was uncooked. The color of the cross section was uniform last night, but as I eat some leftovers for breakfast (heh), I'm noticing that a few have a white uncooked cross section. On the upside, the dish was otherwise great. What are other's experience with these?

                    #215 sesame puff bread with spicy meat: the bread was a bit old and stiff, but the topping was outstanding. I wound up eating the meat by itself, and saving the bread by dunking it in the #199.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      A few other dishes I recommend:

                      Spicy numbing beef tendon (mentioned above)
                      House special shrimp
                      Tea tree mushrooms