Monday, April 20, 2009

The hunt for good Chinese food... Part 1

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 5:12 PM

I've been living in the area for two years now and am still on the hunt for good Chinese food.

Let me clarify this though — for the first year, I was living off of exit 33 in Mooresville. If you're ever in that neck of the woods, I highly recommend Rice Fun in the Target shopping center. I used to go there at least once a week and was never disappointed. It had the absolute best flavor of any Chinese food I've ever tasted.

I would usually order the "Supreme Family" which had chicken, pork, beef and shrimp, plus broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms and red peppers, rice and a spring roll (or egg roll) all for just over $5. You couldn't beat the price, quality or flavor of it. I should say that I never ordered anything I didn't like though, and the dumplings are fantastic.

For the last year, I've been living closer to town — much closer, thankfully. However, now I can't find respectable Chinese food. Granted, I have a high standard in my mind thanks to Rice Fun, but I just haven't found any place that I would go to for a second visit let alone something weekly.

There's PF Changs, which isn't bad, but it's a bit pricey and I'd prefer something locally owned to a chain. I tried Soho Bistro downtown, but again, a little pricey and you didn't get too much for the money. Taste wasn't bad, but nothing that made me say, "I'm going back there soon!" It's also hard to beat that $5 standard set for me up at the lake.

I tried a place on Harris Blvd. near the University this weekend, Lotus Express, and while I got a ton of food for $8, it wasn't the best I've ever had. Actually, once I'm done with the leftovers for tonight's dinner, I doubt I'll go back.

A friend and I went to another place near Davis Lake a few months ago, Golden Taipei, because I had heard good things, but apparently, the high prices are for presentation and not for the amount of food. Flavor wasn't bad, but it felt more upscale.

I've been to Mama Fu's but that's more of a conglomerate of flavors from different countries. Panda Express is like fast food — cheap and fast, but the quality isn't there.

It shouldn't be so difficult. I want a sauce that makes my tastebuds dance instead of something that tastes like cardboard and has the consistency of paste.

Sure, maybe it's a stereotype, but this is Chinese food. I'm expecting leftovers. How many times have you gone into your fridge to find the little white box with the metal handle and wanted to have some tasty leftovers over stale rice?

When I asked friends yesterday if they knew of anything in the University area with good Chinese, most of the reactions I got were, "This place isn't bad..." I'm not looking for "isn't bad," I'm looking for "this place is the best!"

However, while I live up on the north side of town, I do travel on weekends and for lunch. I'm just looking for something a little closer to home. Otherwise, I'd take the trek up to exit 33 on a regular basis.

Now, I know I'm not asking for the impossible — I already found it once up at the lake. And I'm naming this "Part 1" because I'll revisit this topic again until my search ends. But it can't be the only one around. So, where do you go? Who's got the best Chinese food in town?

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