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Jan 29, 2014 06:14 PM

Ultimate kung pao in Des Moines-Ankeny-Ames?

Where do you get your favorite kung pao chicken in the Des Moines-Ankeny-Ames area? I like it fiery hot and with plenty of vegetables. In Ames I've tried two places: at 888, you get lots of vegetables (green pepper carrot water chesnuts) but it's very mild. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being very spicy hot, it rates maybe a 1. At Mandarin, you get yummy velveted chicken and really good rice, but all I got for vegetables was 3 pieces of green pepper. On the spicy hot scale, maybe a 3. Both were good in their own ways, but where do you go in central Iowa for great kung pao?

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  1. Well I'm in Tulsa and just a few months ago a place opened here that served Sichuan food that's so authentic I never dreamed I'd see it outside of China. So this inspired me to see if Des Moines maybe had a similar brand new place. And I think it does! It's called Sichuan Chili and these newspaper food photos look very authentic indeed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      Although I could be wrong, it appears that this restaurant is in Ohio ....

      1. re: hawkeyeui93

        Yes it's in Cincinnati. But how the heck did it get in a Des Moines newspaper? Sorry.

        1. re: Brian S

          No idea, but it had me excited initially ... No worries!

    2. Try Chinese Homestyle Cooking in Ames and ask for it to be prepared extra spicy.

      1. Take this with a grain of salt. When I was in Ames in the early 2000s Little Taipei had a decent Kung Pao. It's a hole in the wall in the middle of campustown though, so don't expect a lot of ambiance.

        1. I would give Red China Bistro (in DSM) a try. Although the ambiance is sometimes better than the food. Also, I would try the Waukee or Urbandale Hy-Vee...they honestly have some very talented chefs and will cook to order if you ask nicely. Good luck.