Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chinese Food

So last Thursday marked the Chinese New Year. I had no idea, until some friends of mine invited me to dinner at the Asian Star to celebrate. My friend went to all this effort to make reservations, assuming it would be crowded, but I think our group of eight made up half their customers that night.

To be honest, Chinese food isn’t my favorite. It’s one of those things I crave, and then after two bites I’m done – but that’s typically only the case with places like Panda Express. I’m not really sure what good Chinese food tastes like. My friend Pete took me to Ming’s once and I thought that was pretty good, but I don’t know what to measure it up against. Maybe I need someone to show me some really BAD Chinese food so I can better appreciate the good.

This got me to thinking about the Chinese food I ate growing up. I could be wrong here, but I feel like a lot of families have certain restaurants they went to for Chinese, pizza, etc. – especially when it came to take-out. And we are conditioned based on what we assumed was the standard.

When my mom ordered Chinese take-out it was always from Golden Gate, this little restaurant in Sandy somewhere around the Sandy Mall – I think. I don’t remember exactly. I’m pretty sure it’s long gone because this was 20 years ago.

Sometimes we’d eat there, but mostly Mom picked it up and brought it home. She always ordered ham fried rice, lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork and then pot stickers. So that was Chinese food to me. Any and every other Chinese dish I ate was compared to the way Golden Gate made it. I remember one time; I ordered sweet and sour pork from a different restaurant when my family went out to eat. It was smothered in this bright red sauce and I thought, “This is NOT sweet and sour pork.” I may have even said it out loud. It wasn’t until much later, after I had sampled a variety of Chinese restaurants, that I discovered there are many different ways to make the same dish.

Anyway, I thought the Asian Star was pretty good. I ordered General Tso’s chicken because I remember when I went to Ming’s; Pete told me that was the best dish. Everyone at our table ordered it except me. I ordered the cashew chicken and I must admit, it was a mistake. I have to say, I liked General Tso's at Ming’s better. But overall, the Asian Star had good food. After going to several Chinese (and I’m going to add Thai) restaurants around Utah, I’ve decided the smaller it is, the better the food. And for some reason, if the owner’s kids are in the back room watching cartoons on TV that’s a good sign as well.

This was my third post in a row about food by the way. I’ll try to think of something different next time.

Totally off the subject…

Here is a slide show of pictures from my birthday party in December. I thought I posted these, but I guess I forgot. They are way overdue. I couldn’t help but notice in most of the pictures with Dre, she was the only one aware of the camera – which is funny to me.


Johnny Metropolis said...

The best dish at the Asian Star is the walnut shrimp. Anyone who goes there should trust me in this. Unless you hate shrimp... and in that case you should scrape off all your taste buds cause they aren't doing you any good anyway.

Nasher said...

Ming's rocks. But I don't know about you needing to eat bad Chinese food in order to know what good food tastes like. Just follow your personal tastes.

Abel said...

The best Chinese food in Utah can be found at ABC Chinese in Roy. Nothing compares to that place.

Anonymous said...

This is Carter. Laura, as your brother, I know what you're talking about. We were only exposed to one place. But "Empress of China" in Littleton opened my eyes. It is undoubtedly THE best Chinese place in the world, in my opinion. And that includes China. General Tso's chicken is my favorite dish there, and subsequently, everywhere. I'm on a constant search to find a place that can make it even half as good as Empress of China. I'll have to try this Ming's place.

Ilene said...

I don't remember the last time I had Chinese food. I don't crave it either. I mean, if I am going out to pay for a meal, I want something with bread and/or cheese smothered in butter and served on a steak.

Dang it, now I want a steak.

Bet you never thought such a reaction would come from reading a post about chinese food.

Laura Lee said...

Ilene, I was a little bit surprised but then I remembered you're pregnant.

Cameron's Corner said...

You guys are ALL crazy. The best Chinese food in the valley is Panda Express. The greatest part is... THEY'RE EVERYWHERE and so is their Orange Chicken.

Janey said...

So do you think Pete is right about the General Tso Chicken after our array of food. I kind of think the sesame chicken was better!