Food

Chinese Food


Okay so I was feeling weird about not writing anything for a while (even though I shouldn’t feel bad…YOU DON’T CONTROL ME) so in an act of desperation, I carefully chose the topic of Chinese food to entertain the troops.

If I meet someone and they say that they don’t like Chinese food, I immediately make a mental note that I can’t ever really be friends with that person. We just won’t be able to bond on a spiritual level. My best friend told me once that she didn’t like ice cream and it took me a while to process it. But I forgave and forgot. Mostly because I can’t afford to lose my only friend. And she still loves me even though I don’t like cheese. So I guess we’re even.

Speaking of cheese being gross, I think that’s one of the reasons that I like Chinese food so much. NO CHEESE. These are my kind of people.

I think we can all agree that Chinese food is best in buffet form and second best in P.F. Chang’s form. There are always good hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants, and even some uber classy ones, but let’s be real. No comparison to buffets or Chang’s. Sometimes Chinese food is just better when terra cotta horses greet you.pf-changs-2251

The best Chinese buffet that I’ve encountered in my life was a place called Kowloon (Ft. Wayne, Indiana). Maybe it’s just because I was a child when I ate there, but I remember the buffet being so long. A short buffet is the sign of death. A long buffet means lots of choices and delicious food. One of the things that made Kowloon stand out in my memory was that their ice cream was really good. Usually Chinese restaurants lack in the dessert department, but Kowloon had all the bases covered.

The best fancy Chinese food place I’ve been to was in D.C. called Tony Cheng Restaurant. This place was expensive! My order (1 dish) was $40. BUT I literally had a plate full of shrimp the size of my head sooo I guess it was worth it?

The best chain Chinese Restaurants are tied–P.F.Chang’s for a sit-down, nice meal and Panda Express for when you have no shame whatsoever. P.F. Chang’s fried rice is like butta. And for Panda Express I have two words, Orange Chicken.

Did this person order a plate of Beef w/ broccoli and Orange Chicken AND a to-go Beef w/Broccoli and another side of Orange Chicken? My hero.

Did this person order a plate of Beef w/ broccoli and Orange Chicken AND a to-go Beef w/Broccoli and another side of Orange Chicken? My hero.

And my favorite regular non-buffet, non chain, non expensive Chinese Restaurant would have to be a place near and dear to my heart called China Cafe (Suburbia Illinois). Their food was always solid and delicious. Their sauces were good. And it was family run so the owner’s daughter would always come over and talk to us. She was probably 6 at the time. It was just an awesome experience overall. Plus, at the end of the meal they would give us these amazing almond cookies that changed my life.

You might think I’m crazy, which I definitely am, but Chinese food is a big part of my life.

What are some of your favorite Chinese Restaurants, chains, or buffets? Any favorite dishes?

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88 thoughts on “Chinese Food

  1. Not really Chinese, but I used to frequent a terriyaki restaurant near my old work so much the management knew me by name and would immediately prepare my favorite dish. When I went back to school I stopped going and after several weeks you would think I was their gweilo prodigal son. The lady behind the counter asked if I was okay. Apparently, I attended so frequently they had imagined the worst. After all, I must have died, contracted walking plague, been kidnapped. Even after I told them I was okay and just needed to save more money they handed me a bag of cold medicine, some tylenol and some kleenex. It was like they had it ready for my arrival. For some reason this act of kindness made me feel so uncomfortable that I never went back to their restaurant again.

    • I didn’t know there were such things as terriyaki restaurants. For Japanese I would usually go to a steakhouse (like, a teppanyaki grill or whatever) or sushi. But that’s way cool. I love being a “regular” and ordering my “usual”. It’s embarrassing but cool at the same time. That’s so sad/creepy that they made up a little Get Well Soon package for you. Awwwww. And then you never went in again! Hahah omg.

  2. Reading this made me really hungry then it made me want to throw up. Chinese food is gross before it enters your mouth, wonderful when it’s in your mouth, then gross against once you swallow. A big Chinese buffet is always the best. I prefer a sushi buffet because they have a lot of sushi so I feel healthy plus there are always other items for people who tag along and hate sushi. I’ve been craving going to a buffet for a while now. I think I need to build my self-esteem up a little higher though before tearing it back down after going to a buffet. When I go to a buffet, I take advantage.

    You say you had a plate of shrimp the size of your head then made this sound like a lot. Do you have a big head? For some reason I didn’t think you did. Well, in the hypothetical aspect of thinking you’re perfect I guess you do but I meant more on an actual physical measuring level.

    • You definitely have to put your mind somewhere else when you eat Chinese food. It’s actually super greasy and gross but it tastes like magic. I like when Chinese buffets have sushi too. It’s like a little extra effort goes a long way. Have you ever been to one where they randomly have pizza and fries in the buffet? It’s so weird.

      Lol I never said I was perfect. I just said I was better than most people. But yeah I think my head is on the average to large size. I could see you having a small head for some reason.

      • My head has actually shrunk over the years. I know this because I tried on an old hat that used to be too tight. I had a huge head when I was younger.

        Of course I’ve been to a Chinese buffet with pizza and french fries. Do you think I haven’t lived?

    • You Sir, get extra points for catching the details on the size of Lily’s head, something I think we’ve all wondered about for some time.
      (I think it has something to do with her gloriously gazelle-like neck.)

  3. Yet anther reason we would be besties if we met in real life. Chinese food is the best. In fact I made it for dinner last night! We had beef stir fry and it was yum like whoa. I also make egg rolls pretty often. So good! The most memorable Chinese restaurant I ever ate at was in our town in Korea. The menu was all in Chinese and Korean with very few pictures, but the owner guy spoke enough English to help us out when we ordered. We ate stuff there that I had never seen at a Chinese restaurant in America. There was this one shrimp dish that had like a sweet, doughnutty batter. It was surprising awesome. We always brought friends there with us and they were really grateful I guess because they would then send out a bunch of complementary dishes too.

    • We would be like, the best of besties. Your Chinese food DOES sound yum like whoa. I don’t think I could make a Chinese food creation. That’s a little beyond my cooking abilities. But a stir fry sounds so good right now.

      Okay your favorite Chinese restaurant is in Asia which is totally cheating! But I guess it’s not IN China so you’re still safe. Doughnutty batter sounds like something I could only dream up. Yummmm

  4. There is so much right with this post, but I feel a need to point out the wrong. DON’T LIKE CHEESE? This makes me feel better that you live in Canada! Good Day!

    Anyway, I just happened to eat Chinese food for dinner last night. I had the usual – Shrimp Fried Rice, Cashew Chicken (all white meat) and a order of Crab Ragoons. All of this came from the special “Hole-in-the-Wall” place here in town, Peking. This is the single greatest place for Chinese food…of any kind. Chinese food is a little different around here though. Cashew Chicken is something that was invented in Springfield, MO so I don’t think many people outside of the area knows what it is. It’s wonderful. And this place is the only place that actually fries it’s rice. All the other places hand out this stuff that always seems steamed. It’s awful….and healthy…how dare they.

    • I know, I know. Everyone hates me for the cheese thing. BUT I do eat cheese on pizza. Sooo find some room in your heart for me.

      I feel like I’ve seen/had cashew chicken before. Are you sure it was invented in MO and not in China? πŸ˜‰
      I love fried rice so much. Sometimes, when I can’t decide what to get, I’ll just get a huge order of shrimp fried rice and call it a day. Yummmm. Ugh Steamed rice is the bane of my existence. How dare they! Abuse!

  5. unfetteredbs says:

    I am really hungry now and I cannot get out of my driveway due to Storm Nemo.
    However- I would never do a buffet and Chinese food is always mysteriously disguised. You never REALLY know what is in it. So if you are at a buffet, how do you know if someone hasn’t dropped a chunk or two in something? Say like a cheese cube?(you know a little rug rat brought in their string cheese for a snack) or something worse? Stay away from the buffet– just saying.
    and you redeemed yourself with the cheese thing and pizza. Not liking cheese is just weird Lily. And before you say anything both of my daughters are like you– only on pizza and they are weirdos too. (ps i did not see any comments at celery man’s blog on his oat bars?–grin)

    • Hey I didn’t realize you were the blog police! Get outta my biz-nass biotch! Haha but seriously, thanks for reminding me to go over to his blog…almost forgot..!
      Dude. Dude. Buffets are delicious creations of beauty and I will never stay away from them. I’ve already tasted the forbidden fruit.
      Cheese is sooo gross. And it’s not healthy. Think of the nacho cheese at movie theaters or cheese whiz or cheddar cheese….ewwww.

      • unfetteredbs says:

        I wasn’t reminding.. more like teasing. (and perhaps I shouldn’t– more him than you)
        I would not eat nachos at a movie theater or cheese from can. I agree that is just wrong.
        Carry on Buffet Girl.. carry on

  6. Well, gosh. It sounds pretty good. I’ve never eaten “Chinese” food. It’s in quotes there because I don’t really know what it is. Do Ramen noodles in those little plastic packages count? I think they’re Japanese.

    Eating out is something I try to avoid. I’ve been in some of those kitchens…no one’s sneezing on my food unless it’s me.
    I get it about the cheese, though. Some of that stuff is rank. And cheese with mold on it is a good thing????? Gah.

    πŸ™‚

    • Wait. WHAT? You’ve only ever had ramen noodles? I mean, ramen is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but Chinese food is glorious. You’re joking, right?

      Yeah cheese is gross. Eww moldy cheese makes me want to cry. So gross. Cheese should not have veins!

      • Nope. Never eaten Chinese food. I got a fortune cookie once, but that doesn’t count because (a) I didn’t eat it and (b) fortune cookies aren’t Chinese food. I sniffed duck sauce but didn’t eat it bec I was afraid it had actual ducks in it somewhere.

        Cheese with veins!!!! ::gags:: Is that the Gorgonzola? Even the name sounds scary.

  7. LOL!! As you know I can take or leave Chinese food. Only once in awhile do I get a real hankering. The terra cotta horses do make me feel like I’m entering into the Forbidden City and therefore improve the overall experience. Haha! Oh yeah – and Crab Rangoon is the bomb.

    • I never really liked crab rangoon. Too creamy for my taste. But yeah, I never understood how you don’t always like Chinese. It’s like my favorite food of all time. Well, maybe Italian and then Chinese. Yummm

  8. We have multiple dive Chinese restaurants in our area. The one we use for delivery is pretty good, and when we order something other than our usual, they ask “Oh, no chow mai fun tonight?”.
    For sit down though, my all time favorite is King Yum.
    And not just because of the name.

    • New York Chinese food is it’s own category. I’ll be damned if I can’t find New York style (Yum) Chinese food in the midwest. I miss those egg rolls and won ton soup. We used to go to “Ho Yen.” My dad told me, when I was young and stupid, that it meant Lots of money. haha!

      • Please tell me you know Wo Hops near Lafayette st.
        One of the most unappetizing dining rooms I’ve ever seen (white formica and bright flourescent lights), but the food makes up for it!

      • I went to a buffet in NYC Chinatown – it was the only place open the day before hurricane Irene hit. Was the absolute most disgusting and vile thing I’ve ever eaten. Even at $4.75 I got completely ripped off. That said, the other Chinese places there are Amazeballs. Best part – after dinner you can get a “Rolex” for 20 bucks.

      • Sadly, I’ve never been to Wo Hops. Do you think they would Fed Ex some egg rolls and spare ribs?
        Some of the very best food can be found in the diviest places. Next time I visit, I’m heading over to Wo Hops! Good to know.

    • Dude. Stop bonding over your amazing NYC Chinese food. King Yum, Ho Yen, and Wo Hops are all amazing names. I’m jealous that I’ve never been to any of those places and feel like I truly haven’t experienced life.

  9. omg, I HATE cheese too, and love Chinese food. Yet, I am married to a man who is not so keen on it, or dim sum but loves cheese … do you see the sacrifices I’ve made for love? I’m starting to think too many …

    • Omg same here. Well, my husband really likes Chinese but he also likes cheese and it pains me. My entire family loves cheese too and I don’t get it! So many sacrifices, I’m with ya girl.

    • That makes sense. A big Asian population, right? Same in Vancouver. Although, I haven’t hung out there enough to discover a good place. But yeah, I would love to go to San Fran! I’ve only ever been to the airport. 😦

  10. I’m a little leery about Chinese buffets. Have not had the best experiences. But I do love Chinese. And cheese. Then again, I’m from Wisconsin and they’d pretty much kick me out if I didn’t.

    • Yeah some Chinese buffets are pretty sketchy. But I can’t help but love them. If I’m scared, I’ll usually stick to safe stuff like rice and noodles. But yeah you couldn’t be a true cheese head if you didn’t actually like cheese. I’m from Chicago and I was always so thankful that we didn’t have a nickname like cheese heads. I would’ve died!

  11. You are making me hungry. PF Changs also has a Gluten Free menu which is nice. On a side note, I have a friend who hates ice cream and flannel (wearing it, not eating it). Wtf?

    • I didn’t know that they have a gluten free menu. Is it good? How can someone hate ice cream?! I don’t get it! It must be a texture thing? Flannel is awesome. Shame on this person!

  12. Those first sentences already brought a smile to my face!
    But I must admit I have a hard time taking people who don’t like cheese serious. I mean, I basically eat cheese all day long, except when I eat sugar. How can one live without it?

    • Hehe thanks!
      You are not the first person to comment on my lack of cheese eating. I do eat cheese on pizza, and that’s the most important food to have cheese on, right? I’m trying to branch out though… πŸ˜‰

  13. I had no idea u were from Chicago! Same here. And I think I’ve been to China Cafe, tho there could be 20 I them in suburbia. PF Changs and their casual version -Pei Wei- are good in a pinch. Best best best Chinese is in the Chinatowns of major cities – Chicago, San Fran, NYC. Not sure if ur near Toronto, but the one there is excellent.

    But THE best Chinese thing to try is Dim Sum – small plates that are meant to share. Better and fresher than buffet. True sign of an authentic Chinese place is if they have it. Warning tho – some of it can require being adventuresome. Check out my post http://foodandwinehedonist.com/2011/08/11/dim-sum-or-weed/

    • I’ve never been to Pei Wei or had dim sum! I feel like I truly haven’t lived life now. You’re right about Chinatowns having delicious Chinese food. I used to go to London’s Chinatown and pick a new buffet each time I went. Yum!

      Thanks for stopping by! We Chicagoans need to stick together!

  14. I harbor a fondness for P.F.Chang’s. too but for every day Chinese we go to our neighborhood King of King’s. Wherever I go, I get the General Tsao’s Chicken. That’s my favorits. We get Chinese on Christmas Eve and open our family Christmas presents at my daughter’s house. That’s our “new” tradition. My daughter always orders Orange chicken when we get Chinese. My one granddaughter gets combination Lo Mein; the other gets chicken wings (she’s not big on eating anything non-American). My son-in-law get beef with broccoli. We’re very predictable people.

    • Haha I love when you know what everyone will eat because they get the same thing. I like having a “usual” at restaurants. I guess I’m a creature of habit.

      That’s a good tradition to have. I love Chinese food, so that’s a good thing to look forward to during the holidays!

    • Lol I feel your pain. Many people take a step back when I say I don’t like cheese. But I always have to make a point of telling them that I DO like it on pizza. So I’m not all bad, you see?

      Chinese food is so good and greasy I just love it. It’s okay to be conflicted. I’ve never seen Star Wars so I’m conflicted about that with your avatar. (Don’t hate me!)

  15. I hate Indian food, that’s the only food I hate. Chinese food on the other hand, I never used to be a big fan, especially when I was actually in China; because the Chinese food you get over there is not like the Chinese food you get in resturants. Luckily I don’t live over there so I’m quite partial to spring rolls and sweet and sour pork.

    I still don’t like rice though, don’t hate me k?

    • You don’t like rice? Rice is so plain! And so good! As long as you don’t hate me for not liking cheese, I think we’re even. But yeah I’ve heard that Chinese food isn’t the same here as it is in China. I probably wouldn’t like it there either. But how do you not like Indian?! It’s so flavorful and delicious! Isn’t England’s national dish curry? You must like it!

      • Ew no, I went to an Indian restaurant with my work peeps and while they’re all diving into currys I was sat there eating scampi and fries. Fries that had a green tinge to them and made me violently ill the day after. I had this one Indian once in Spain; apparently it was the hottest thing on the menu but I didnt know any better and no one told me, the day after I was so close to sending my friend to get me an ice lolly to shove up my arse. Since then, no chance.

        And no I don’t hate you for not liking cheese, I suppose we have to make sacrifices πŸ˜€

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  17. Chinese food is pretty amazingly delicious. My grandpa is Chinese so we grew up with him continually feeding us dumplings and going ‘eat eat! the more you eat the taller you’ll grow!” (in all honesty, I think he’s still crushed that I’m skinny and short…not that that has anything to do with his genes AT ALL). Fond memories. And yes, I quite agree with your statement about judging people. My first boyfriend didn’t like Yum Cha and we ended up breaking up. Should of known then really.

    • Omg dumplings are delicious. Your grandpa would’ve been so proud of me because I would’ve eaten everything in sight. Do you want to trade grandpas? I’m also 6 feet tall so he would’ve been extra proud of me. Lol!

      I’ve never had Yum Cha but it sounds really good and I’m sure I wouldn’t disappoint you. I hate when people don’t like the food that I can’t live without!

  18. MMM! Chinese food!
    It SUCKS here. It’s horribly nasty. I don’t know how people eat it. Okay, okay… I eat it sometimes. But only from particular places. I haven’t had it in a while though. Last time I had it, it sucked.
    In Halifax, I LOVED Jean’s. I have no idea if Jean was actually Chinese or not, but she knew how to run a Chinese joint. Wait… That came out wrong…
    ANYWAY, they DELIVERED. WIN! And it was always enough for liek 3 meals. WIN, WIN, WIN!
    During a conference in Hamilton, Ontario, we were taken to some Chinese buffet, and it was ah-maaah-zing. (Do you watch Happy Endings?) I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it was gooooood!

    • Haha omg the first time I had sushi was in the Bahamas! Haha it wasn’t very good, but it’s weird that I had the experience there. I couldn’t imagine Chinese food being that good there but I would probably still eat it because you’ve gotta take what you can get!

      Haha If I ever go to Halifax, I’ll definitely hit up Jean’s for a joint…I mean…!

      Lol yes I watch Happy Endings! When ever I say Ah mahzing, my husband rolls his eyes! Hah well if I ever go to Hamilton, Ontario, I’ll go on a hunt to find the place you went to. Yummm!

  19. PF Changs…ick. Sorry. You live in Vancouver! That city has outstanding Chinese food! Portland has some good stuff. Right now my fave is a vegan place called the Green Wok. Their salt and pepper tofu is one of the best foods EVER. Portland also has a restaurant called Hung Far Low.

    • I don’t live in Vancouver! I live on Vancouver ISLAND. Big diff! But yeah next time I’m in Vancouver, I definitely need to hit up some good Chinese because I’m getting bored of the selection here! Vegan Chinese? Nooo. No Maggie, shame! I didn’t know you were a vegan. That’s hardcore. I was vegetarian for a year and then I couldn’t do it any more. I still don’t eat a ton of meat, but yeah.
      Hung Far Low! Haha Portland sounds like an amazing place. I can’t wait to visit one of these days!

  20. Here in the UK we don’t have chain Chinese resturaunts (weird, right?) and everytime there’s a buffet in my area they always close down (the rumours say “dog in freezer” I say “rat in kitchen”….hahaha)
    But god do I love Chinese food D:

    But once my sister bit into a chip (or fry :D) from a Chinese takeaway and it was FULL of little black hairs. EURGH HAHAHA!

    (Still love it though. Mmmmm Chow Mein….)

    • Haha it’s definitely rat in kitchen! Aww I don’t want to think of dogs in freezers! Ewww. Damn Chinese food is so good though.
      NO WAY. If I see a single hair in my food, I’ll usually say it’s mine or disregard it. but if one item was full of hairs I would probably puke! Sickkkk. Hahaha

      Chow Mein is delicious. I’m with ya on that one!

    • I’m always jealous of athletes for that reason. They’re able to eat tons of calories and not feel bad about it. But then you have to exercise. So that kind of stinks. (haha just kidding.)

      But yeah Chinese food has so much salt/sodium in it–I love it!

  21. This brings back memories of how we almost killed ourselves with eating too much Chinese food and made me swear never to eat Chinese food again which of course was not true since I have another Chinese meal a few months after :).

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