Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chang's Garden

Ah, Chang's is a happy place. From the warm and friendly staff to the delicious fare, I don't think I'll ever feel sad here. To echo the words of my nephew J., "Mom, why don't we come here more often?"

J., his brother, and his mom met up with me, D., and my folks for lunch. At the entrance, there's a huge menu poster.

We had a huge order, starting with scallion pancakes. They're crispy, yet thick enough to have a tender middle. I love scallion pancakes.

What else can you do with them? You can use them as a wrapper.

The wrappers don't have obvious bits of scallions, but they're the same dough. Thin and tender slices of brisket are wrapped with cold scallions and cucumber. It's hearty and refreshing at the same time.

Next on the list was ma-po tofu. Yum. I admit to enjoying it with much less heat than tradition dictates, but I love the soybean curd sauce that's the base of the dish. Mom taught me how to make it, so I'll have to make it and write about it some time soon.

Next, Shanghai style pork spareribs. I know, meat with a sweet sauce on it screams American, but this dish still tastes rather Chinese. It's slightly sweet, sticky, and the spareribs are nicely cooked. No fatty chunks here.

I love lamb. It totally violates D.'s rule of not eating cute animals, but I love it. Besides, I think pigs and cows are cute, so if I followed that rule, I'd be a vegetarian. Chang's Garden makes a gorgeous stir-fried lamb with scallions and cumin. I've had versions where the cumin is overwhelming, but Chang's isn't too heavy-handed with the cumin. In fact, the warm, gaminess of the lamb is the focal point of the dish.

The xiao long bao were decent. A bit chewy on the skin and a bit bland in the filling.

My nephew G. asked for the Shanghai chow mein. Done with thick and doughy noodles, this dish rocks. That's exactly why G. inhaled the dish.

It's not a visit to Chang's without the beef noodle soup. One of the best bowls I've had, it has a rich broth and fresh noodles, although I suspect the noodles are not handmade.

The meat is perfect and there's fresh spinach in the broth. They're generous with both noodles and meat, so there was plenty go around. We really do need to come here more often.

2 bites:

KirkK said...

Hey GF - Funny thing...when we lived in the SGV, very few places served Niu Rou Chuan(or juan)... those and the pumpkin jiaozi seem to be everywhere.

Meandering Eats said...

It's the fancy mac-n-cheese of the Chinese food world, huh? I've never had niu rou chuan until that visit to Chang's. Still haven't tried pumpkin jiaozi, although I keep hearing about it.

2 bites