|Asian Cafe Express
|Chili Salt and Pepper Crab from Asian Cafe Express
As most of you know by now, we're three days into the 15-day
Chinese New Year celebration (those Chinese sure know how to party!).
And since it's a 15-day celebration you have no excuse for not joining
in on the fun at least once - and no, grabbing a plate of fried rice,
chow mein, and orange chicken from Panda Express doesn't count!
why would you want to go there when we have plenty of decent authentic
Chinese food restaurants around town? We may not have anything as
amazing as Mission Chinese in San Francisco
(if only we could get out hands on a couple orders of their
Mongolian long beans and stir fried pork jowls right now) but we have a
few places that come really close.
As with most Asian
restaurants, everyone has their favorite spot and it's difficult to
stray from the place where you've been eating since you were a child.
The same goes for us - we have our favorites too.
We absolutely love Mesa's Asian Cafe Express
. Yes it's located next door to a Subway and orange chicken is on
the menu, but if you look past both of those things you'll find the huge
Hong Kong menu, which is full of delicious menu items that you won't
find at most Chinese food restaurants around town. Hong Kong style
bittermelon with short ribs over rice, dry satay sauce combo chow fun,
chili chicken wings, spicy vegetables with black mushrooms - we haven't
had a bad dish yet. This week, the Hong Kong Cafe is offering Chinese
style poached chicken with vegetables. It's a simple dish but a staple
for the Chinese New Year and an everyday Chinese comfort food. And if
your dining companions aren't as daring, they have a second menu
of Americanized Chinese food staples (which are still really good).
But the best thing about Asian Cafe Express
is that you can bring your own fresh raw seafood and they will cook it
for you. Bring a lobster or two and have the kitchen turn them into a
Chinese feast of lobster pan fried noodles or snag one of those cool
looking fish that you really want to buy from the Mekong Market
(it's right across the street) and let chef Michael Leung turn it into
something fabulous. Don't forget to bring your receipt - they won't cook
your fish without it.
on Baseline and McClintock in Tempe is another Chinese restaurant with
two menus - one for the wimps and another for the daring. The Pink menu
is made up of spicy Hunan and Mandarin cuisine while the Blue menu
features more Cantonese seafood dishes. We normally stick with the
garlic fried shrimp and the delicious pork short ribs off the Blue menu
but we never miss out on the flavorful sizzling rice soup from the pink.
And if you go, you have to try their pan fried dumplings - they take a
little bit longer to prepare but they are well worth the wait.
There is also
Great Wall Cuisine if you're in the mood for jelly fish; Com Tam Thuan Kieu for a bowl of blood soup; and Lao Ching Hing for thousand year old eggs!
Don't forget about the Chinese New Year Festival this weekend at the Chinese Cultural Center on 44th Street and if you are looking for more traditional Chinese New Year eats, check out
Chow Bella's handy Chinese New Year guide.