I'd like to say that Erin and I tried out this new Chinese supermarket/restaurant because of the Chinese New Year, but we weren't that clever. But, wow, it was amazing. One perk about my job is that I get to hear about new restaurants opening before they even open and most of the time, we go to the grand openings, etc. While I wasn't there right when it opened, others in my office came back stuffed and raving about this place. One person in our office even went a few days in a row for lunch, it was that good! I'd like to say I'm pretty discerning when it comes to Chinese cuisine, so I knew it had to be on my list. My mom and I tried it out once for lunch and we raved about it. Erin suggested we go so she could try it out and I can say it only got better this time.
The funny thing is, the adage that the worse the building looks, the better the food tastes completely applies here. Funny thing #2: The place is in the old Chuck E. Cheese where we used to play as kids. Erin and I were trying to map out the place while we ate. ("Here's where the prizes were. Oh, and this is where that stage was.") Yep, that was us.
Plus, the place was PACKED. The restaurant, with only about seating for 100 people, is really second to the supermarket with a complete aisle dedicated to rice vinegar and soy sauce.
Once we were seated, we ordered steamed dumplings and crab rangoons to share (at this restaurant you actually order off an EXTENSIVE menu which even included a section just for tofu dishes and a whole page for different flavors of bubble tea). There were three sweet women absolutely running around the place taking orders, which only added to the ambiance.
I have never tasted a dumpling so good. It was filled with pork, cabbage, and other veggies not gross filler like you'd expect an your local King Chain buffet. I don't know how this sauce is different from other gyoza dipping sauces, but it was somehow more savory. I could have slurped the rest.
Crab rangoons. I'm sorry, but there is nothing wrong with a little fried cream cheese. Just like the dumplings, the wonton wrappers were filled with not only the usual cream cheese + crab, but also onion and another green veggie (looked like spinach, but I'm sure it was not). So good. By this point, Erin and I were on Cloud 9.
Unlike lunch where meals are smaller, dinner is family-style, like something you would see at P.F. Chang's (and I'm ashamed to even compare it to a chain like that because the taste was so much better and so, so much cheaper). We ordered the Orange Chicken, which actually was a little spicy. They say your palate changes every 7 years and mine must have changed, because I am really liking spicy dishes now. This was fabulous, but we were both so stuffed we left half of it for a take out box.
We got our bill, which only came out to... $17 for the both of us! We were shocked. P.F. Chang's has nothing on this place and by my calculations, dinner would have been $29 for the same meal there.
Half of the entertainment is walking through all of the aisles afterwards, so we took a look around. They have tons of fresh produce including some items I never thought I'd see in Jackson: dragonfruit, Chinese eggplant, purple yams, at least 6 varieties of bok choy.
Even quail eggs.
Yes, I know. On the drink aisle, we even saw a whole section of Aloe Vera drinks. While I love the restaurant, I think it'll take me a very long time to think about trying some of the other products.
I can't tell you how good this place was in enough words. If you're ever in town, you have got to try out the Oriental Restaurant/Supermarket and your stomach can thank me later.