DTW - Cheng's, Rochester Hills
I was just reminded (thanks, Y*lp!) that Cheng's has a real Chinese menu along with the typical Americanized one. And the new (?) owner is maybe a former dim-sum chef from Shangri-la. Anyone ever been? It's in the strip mall on Rochester Rd along with the post office and my favorite crazy Indian snack food outlet (has kulfi Dixie Cups, just for starters ...)
I was in that mall quite a few times back when I was out that way fairly frequently, and never even noticed the place.
2666 S Rochester Rd
Rochester, MI 48307
AK994, Thanks for the great lead—and when I say great, I mean that the place is 15 minutes or less from my house and that it is VERY respectable…not that the place is extraordinary in a broader sense. Basically everything you heard seems to be true.
They do cynically target a white clientele and patronize them with comments such as, “Chop suey will be a good choice for Americans, you will order chop suey.” And, “How about if you order deep fried xxxx (crap)?” Then, after I politely decline, they bring it out anyway and say, “You change your mind. You want this?” Maybe I was overly sensitive, but I was bordering on being offended.
That is where the downsides end, as best I could tell from my brief first visit (well they don’t serve beer, either…). I assertively tracked down the separate Chinese menu and found that it offers many big city authentic sounding Cantonese dishes, approaching but never crossing over into the exotic—jelly fish, chitterlings, fish maw, preserved vegetables, lily flower and taro root all were on offer, but with ho-hum sounding accompaniments. Maybe they are special. Maybe not. I’ll report back this summer unless someone beats me to it.
I arrived on Sunday at 2:30PM and I was not told of or offered dim sum. I had to specially request it. I’m glad I did, too. The manager claimed it was fresh made-to-order. I was incredulous. No microwave?, my *ss. In fact, I still don’t believe my tastebuds. How can a modestly priced place across the street from a shamefully bustling Olive Garden and Red Lobster do made-to-order dim sum?
I had a small tray of “Chiu Chow Fun Kor,” three large pieces for $2.85, which consisted of perfectly sautéed diced veggies and peanuts and herbs in a rice flour dough dumpling*. In my enthusiast, but NON expert, opinion this was certainly worthy of serving in reputable SF and NYC Chinatown joints. As well, Cheng’s common shumai (Wikipedia it, if unfamiliar) was at least a tad better than the DTW stalwarts Eastlake, Golden Harvest, Shangrila, etc., and the bean curd skin roll at the very least matched those other restaurants. I can’t wait to try their other dim sum offerings, and I’m confidently recommending it to my many Chinese friends. Based on my sample size of admittedly just one visit, I say that If you live in Oakland County and enjoy dim sum, you MUST give Cheng’s a chance.
*Well, just looked up Chiu Chow Fun Kor, and apparently it is made as follows (my guess seems to have been imprecise): “Typically filled with chopped peanuts, garlic chives, ground pork, dried shrimp, dried radish and shiitake mushrooms. Other filling ingredients may include cilantro, jicama, or dried daikon. The filling is wrapped in a thick dumpling skin made from de-glutenized wheat flour, tapioca flour, and corn or potato starch.”
PS: I had to special request the dipping vinegar, and I was not offered chopsticks. But, I'm telling ya, the guy in back who makes the dim sum is no slouch. Maybe we CHers need to "mentor" the front end of this joint. (the chili paste --not oil-- was good, by the way.)
I haven't been there in months... Every once in a while I'd go there for their silver needle noodles. Otherwise, the menu was pretty generic Americanized Chinese and all proteins were cooked just slightly past shoe leather level. Needless to say I'm excited to hear about new owners. I'll give it a try soon and report back.