Saturday, January 09, 2010

Local Chinese Food, USA-style

Whilst holidaying along the USA west coast recently, I ate quite a lot in local Chinese restaurants. Mainly because it was the only way to get a decent serve of vegetables when eating out.
I tried a popular one in Berkeley (Shen Hua), one just outside of Vegas, and one in 29-Springs based upon the number of cars in the parking lot.

The cuisine appeared to be mock-Szechuan style, as opposed to the Cantonese style so prevalent in Australia. I know that Szechuan cooking is supposed to be very spicy, very liberal with the chillies, yet when you order Kampung Chicken, there was no chilli. I had this dish in Sydney, and you couldn't move for the number of chillies

Each place offered "Mu-Shu", what it is I'm not entirely sure. At Shen Hua - this involved stir fried cabbage, meat and egg, which you would the wrap up in a pancake with hoi-sin sauce, Peking-duck-style.

The most surprising dish, and my favourite was the spring dragon soup. I had this a few months ago, so I might have the name wrong. The large portion was enormous, and enough to share between five people. The soup had a nice balance of flavours and was very more-ish.

The other Chinese restaurants were your run-of-the- mill suburban style restaurants offering "American" meals like steak, eggs and chips. The portion sizes were huge (this is America, after all), and no-one restaurant had gai-lan (Chinese broccoli) as an option.

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