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Richland Center Food Court- Snack Planet, Et al

Richland Center Food Court- Snack Planet, Et al
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  • Richland Center Food Court- Snack Planet, Et al

    Post #1 - November 14th, 2011, 10:41 am
    Post #1 - November 14th, 2011, 10:41 am Post #1 - November 14th, 2011, 10:41 am
    Tipped off by Mike Sula's column over at the Reader this week and unable to resist a new taste sensation in our ever-evolving Chinatown, I hit up the Richland Center food court for lunch this weekend. The food court was bright and clean and fairly busy on a Saturday afternoon, particularly Snack Planet. I could not help but compare it to the Flushing Mall in Queens where I'd enjoyed Szechuan delicacies side by side with Hong Kong style noodle soup several years back. The breadth of options at Richland pales in comparison, but I see a lot of potential here.

    Not referencing Sula's earlier article about the food court, we couldn't resist the pull of the takoyaki stall.
    Image

    This was the first takoyaki I have sampled and my dining companion stressed that these were far from exemplary. They were clearly deep-fried, which I know is not traditional. Their batter-y interiors were just set and not entirely uncooked, but a little gooey and scant on the octopus. We were starving and started with these, so the sweet sauce, mayo, and bonito helped them go down, nonetheless. But I'm glad we did not finish them and saved room for Snack Planet.

    The ordering system at Snack Planet is much like the checklist approach at your average sushi place, and I was weirdly taken aback by the large size and glossy card stock of these disposable menus. The very welcoming woman that took our order was very enthusiastic to make recommendations and I could tell by the briskness of business that the recent press had garnered them some new found attention that she was eager to greet. And the prices- nothing over $3.50- amazing, best deals since the lunch special at Spring World. We ordered some of everything.

    We ordered a bunch of shashlik, pictured below are Chinese broccoli, "bok choy" (actually napa), wood ear and "white broccoli" aka cauliflower in the back, quail egg, squid, and fish balls. Buried underneath are some whole shrimp skewers.
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    All this stuff was quite a mess to eat, the cooking liquid seems splashed over the skewers. No matter though, said broth was rich and intensely fortified with garlic. I would not characterize it as overly spicy. The quail egg did have a pronounced Szechuan peppercorn buzz which I did not notice in the other offerings, perhaps it is more absorbent or marinated in advance. Those were some of the best bites- yielding set, but quite creamy yolks. The veggies fared better than the fishy offerings, absorbing more of the broth and tasting fresher in general. The wood ear was fun to eat, I am quite a fan of the fungus, which my mushroom guides explain as not typically favored by Western palettes due to its crunchy, gelatinous texture and mild flavor. So I guess I have an atypical Western palette. The shrimp were good, real messy digging in to their shells for their sweet flesh and providing good head slurping action. The squid was rubbery and not great. Processed fried fish balls soaked in soup have never been to my thing, but my buddy loves the stuff, so he took his share of the soggy balls.

    Laganma chile paste with beef is worthy of high praises.
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    The ample portion of very tender slices of braised beef marbled with gelatinous connective tissue were wonderful. The chile paste has a very pronounced salty black bean paste base with a medium chile kick and awesome Szecuan peppercorn buzz. Great dish.

    To round things out we ordered brisket noodle (Sorry about the blurry pic)
    Image

    We were half expecting this dish to be soup and we were correct. The broth was lovely, quite chile hot and redolent of Szechuan peppercorn (and likely a fare amount of MSG). It was packed with glass noodles which seemed to rapidly take on more broth, eventually crowding the bowl. The meat left something to be desired, not stewed long enough for the chewy bits to become melt-in-your-mouth. Hard to complain for a $3.50 bowl of soup tough, easily enough food for one for lunch.

    All said, we had a blast at the food court and loved much of what we ate at Snack Planet. That Laganma beef is worth a trip alone and again, and a huge, fun lunch for two for $14 is pretty sweet.

    Richland Center
    2002 South Wentworth Ave
  • Post #2 - November 14th, 2011, 3:51 pm
    Post #2 - November 14th, 2011, 3:51 pm Post #2 - November 14th, 2011, 3:51 pm
    FWIW, the Richland food court is also an easy source for food-themed phone charms. I bought pork belly ones in bulk from there last year to give as stocking stuffers.
  • Post #3 - November 15th, 2011, 6:19 pm
    Post #3 - November 15th, 2011, 6:19 pm Post #3 - November 15th, 2011, 6:19 pm
    Do they have a lot of prepackaged items like the beef ? I'll be in town next week and wouldn't mind taking a few items for on the road.
  • Post #4 - November 16th, 2011, 8:47 am
    Post #4 - November 16th, 2011, 8:47 am Post #4 - November 16th, 2011, 8:47 am
    moose734 wrote:Do they have a lot of prepackaged items like the beef ? I'll be in town next week and wouldn't mind taking a few items for on the road.


    It seemed as though many of the "cold dishes" were served in clear plastic to-go containers.
  • Post #5 - November 16th, 2011, 10:18 am
    Post #5 - November 16th, 2011, 10:18 am Post #5 - November 16th, 2011, 10:18 am
    Stopped by last night at around 6:00. Pretty quiet. Just me and another couple.

    I had the BBQ Beef Noodle Soup from Snack Planet. Quite tasty and a bargain for only $3.85
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde
  • Post #6 - December 3rd, 2011, 6:13 pm
    Post #6 - December 3rd, 2011, 6:13 pm Post #6 - December 3rd, 2011, 6:13 pm
    After lunch today at Hing Kee, swung by the new food court to check it out. Ended up only trying out Snack Planet, as my dining companions didn't seem to understand second lunch and I was left without much ordering power.

    "Beef and Ox Tripe" and "Laganma Chile Paste with Beef"
    Image
    The beef and tripe was good, though it lacked the punch that I was hoping for. It looked like the chili oil had just been poured over prior to service, not really mixed in, so there just wasn't much heat. I also ordered sliced beef, which turned out to be the same dish, just minus the tripe...

    The Laganma Chile Paste with Beef, as Jefe posted about above, was quite good. I liked the flavor and texture, though again I hoped for a bit more heat.

    Off on the far left of the pictures were fried rice balls filled with red bean paste. These were really pretty tasty, especially dipped in the sweetened condensed milk they were served with. Crispy on the outside, with a chewy mochi-like layer surrounding a light bean paste filling. Good stuff.

    "Crispy sausage"
    Image
    The only shashlik I ordered was "crispy sausage" which turned out to be limp, skinless wieners covered in chili sauce. Not bad, but not great either.

    I... have no idea.
    Image
    I don't remember what this was called. It was a noodle soup with beef of some sort... but was strongly flavored with black vinegar. A lot of vinegar. Good, but after lunch at Hing Kee, not great.

    -Dan
  • Post #7 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:17 pm
    Post #7 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:17 pm Post #7 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:17 pm
    Sour chili rice stick with beef hind shank mung noodles ? ( although those don't look like mung beans noodles, the rest of the description sound similar to the dish I ordered there the other week.)
  • Post #8 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:37 pm
    Post #8 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:37 pm Post #8 - December 3rd, 2011, 7:37 pm
    moose734 wrote:Sour chili rice stick with beef hind shank mung noodles ? ( although those don't look like mung beans noodles, the rest of the description sound similar to the dish I ordered there the other week.)
    Sour chili rice stick! Good eyes, sir.

    -Dan
  • Post #9 - February 2nd, 2012, 10:11 pm
    Post #9 - February 2nd, 2012, 10:11 pm Post #9 - February 2nd, 2012, 10:11 pm
    There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of recent interest in Snack Planet, a shame because they offer some unique (and cheap!) food. It's an interesting menu to explore. Here are some old photos (Oct 2011) I never got around to posting.

    Image

    The skewers (shashlik) are fun, and at 50 cents or a dollar each worth getting whatever strikes your fancy. I don't recall everything on the plate but most of it was good.

    Image

    We tried only one noodle dish, sour chili rice stick with beef hind shank mung bean noodle. The broth was rather one-dimensional, tasting mostly of black vinegar.

    Image

    From what I've tasted, the cold dish section seems most promising. Spicy beef hind shank and laganma chili paste with beef both feature thin-sliced beef shank sauced with potent chili pastes. Both are good but somewhat similar so it's best to choose one or the other.

    Image

    Image

    Minced garlic with thin sliced pork is about as heavy on the garlic as the name suggests. Good dish if you like garlic.

    Image

    Five spiced beef offal is a gigantic serving of mostly lung, rather light on the spice. A challenging dish.

    Image

    Mix mushroom with chili oil is a little tamer than its name suggests, maybe a good accompaniment to one of the spicy shank dishes above. In the background are two dessert soups: black bean with tangerine peel and sweet papaya with white fungus.

    Image

    Other desserts are fried rice ball, filled with bean paste and deep fried crispy milk ball. Both pleasant but not exceptional.

    Image

    Image

    This is an excellent place to stop for a quick snack while shopping in Chinatown. A couple shashlik, one of the cold dishes, and change back from a five.

    Snack Planet
    2002 S Wentworth Av
    Richland Center, lower level
    Chicago
    312-842-9390
  • Post #10 - May 8th, 2012, 10:08 pm
    Post #10 - May 8th, 2012, 10:08 pm Post #10 - May 8th, 2012, 10:08 pm
    I stopped by the Richland Center Food Court in Chinatown this afternoon. It has basically folded up. There were only three or four food stalls remaining. It was way too sad to stick around (there were three older Asian ladies watching a Chinese-style American Idol show on the overheard tv screens and no one else around). I guess the concept didn't fly....
  • Post #11 - May 25th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    Post #11 - May 25th, 2012, 2:46 pm Post #11 - May 25th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    Dr. K wrote:I stopped by the Richland Center Food Court in Chinatown this afternoon. It has basically folded up. There were only three or four food stalls remaining. It was way too sad to stick around (there were three older Asian ladies watching a Chinese-style American Idol show on the overheard tv screens and no one else around). I guess the concept didn't fly....

    Too bad you didn't stay; you missed some good food. I guess my take on the food court is a little different than yours. Signs advertising the food court were recently added to the Richland Center façade, giving it some much-needed visibility from the street.

    Image

    The subterranean room isn't at all inviting but on a recent Monday around 5pm, over half the tables were occupied and 5 food stalls were open (Ky Lin Teppanyaki, Ike Buku Sushi, Grill n Chill, Yummy Yummy Noodles and Snack Planet). It seems the bahn mi shop has closed but a new Filipino place (Bahay Kubo) looks about ready to open. Snack Planet is the only one I have much experience with.

    Snack Planet has a new menu, with all the original items plus some new less snack-like dishes (see second page of menu below). Photographs, in color on the larger menu at the counter, are a helpful addition. I realized "dry bean mix with crunch peanut" from the old menu is actually a dried tofu dish (served cold) and decided to give it a try.

    Image

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    Dark-skinned ultra-firm tofu, plenty of peanuts plus cilantro and green onion tossed in assertive chili oil, at $2.75 for a generous serving it's a great bargain. It instantly became one of my favorite tofu dishes (I've had it twice already). This would be a perfect light lunch on one of those sweltering days when nothing sounds appealing.

    Snack Planet
    2002 S Wentworth Av B5
    Richland Center, lower level
    Chicago
    312-842-9390
    10am-9pm

    Snack Planet Menu, May 2012
    Image

    Image
  • Post #12 - May 26th, 2012, 10:18 am
    Post #12 - May 26th, 2012, 10:18 am Post #12 - May 26th, 2012, 10:18 am
    Thanks for the somewhat uplifting update, Rene. I've eaten at several of the stalls before -- including Snack Planet -- and enjoyed some things more than others (as one would expect). It just seemed to me during my last visit that the concept was losing steam -- perhaps it will turn the corner. I would like to see it survive.
  • Post #13 - August 16th, 2012, 6:10 am
    Post #13 - August 16th, 2012, 6:10 am Post #13 - August 16th, 2012, 6:10 am
    This is really a nice restaurant and you can enjoy many different kinds of recipes. I went there last year and their services and food was awesome and delicious. I appreciate this post and nice pictures are shown here of recipes.
  • Post #14 - March 20th, 2013, 1:32 pm
    Post #14 - March 20th, 2013, 1:32 pm Post #14 - March 20th, 2013, 1:32 pm
    Richland Center Food Court was dead as Liberace's lingerie at noon. A Real shame as Snack Planet, one of just a few active kiosks, dealt out at terrific $8 lunch with Nanshan Spicy Chicken, cold Szechuan chicken with peanuts, the most delicious $3.30 I've spent in quite a while.

    Richland Center Food Court 11:45am

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    Clockwise from Upper Left: (#21) Dried Beans mixed with peanuts, Shashlik Quail Egg, (#16) Nanshn Spicy Chicken, Rice

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - March 20th, 2013, 2:12 pm
    Post #15 - March 20th, 2013, 2:12 pm Post #15 - March 20th, 2013, 2:12 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Nanshan Spicy Chicken, cold Szechuan chicken with peanuts, the most delicious $3.30 I've spent in quite a while.

    Allow me to elaborate.
    Tender poached chicken with a hint of fat and cartilage served cold with peanuts, slivers of bamboo shoot and dusting of scallion in a Szechuan pepper accented chili oil. Chicken had a silky texture that played particularly well with peanuts and bamboo shoot.

    I was almost home before I started wondering why I didn't purchase any to go.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - March 20th, 2013, 3:50 pm
    Post #16 - March 20th, 2013, 3:50 pm Post #16 - March 20th, 2013, 3:50 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Nanshan Spicy Chicken, cold Szechuan chicken with peanuts, the most delicious $3.30 I've spent in quite a while.

    Allow me to elaborate.
    Tender poached chicken with a hint of fat and cartilage served cold with peanuts, slivers of bamboo shoot and dusting of scallion in a Szechuan pepper accented chili oil. Chicken had a silky texture that played particularly well with peanuts and bamboo shoot.

    I was almost home before I started wondering why I didn't purchase any to go.



    Hi Gary -
    At my now defunct, yet fondly remembered Spring World, their cold dish of boneless chicken chunks with chili oil (house shredded chicken in spicy vinegar?) was one of my favoritest things ever, in life, to eat. Call me simple, I don't care. I LOVED that stuff. Last time I went after the re-branding to Lao Mynewjoint, the chili oil was not as luscious, the chicken chunks were bone -in, haphazardly chopped, bone fragments and shards everywhere, and it just didn't hit any of the same high notes as it did before. I'm wondering if you've ever had the dish I'm talking about at Spring World, and if this Nanshan Chicken is something I should get my hopes up for.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #17 - March 20th, 2013, 5:44 pm
    Post #17 - March 20th, 2013, 5:44 pm Post #17 - March 20th, 2013, 5:44 pm
    seebee wrote:I'm wondering if you've ever had the dish I'm talking about at Spring World, and if this Nanshan Chicken is something I should get my hopes up for.

    I've had the dish at Spring World though not for a number of years, they are not the same.

    Snack Planets Nanshan chicken is a terrific dish, no bone shards, a pinpoint of cartilage here and there, with a silky delicate texture to the chicken flesh. Loved the point counter point of crunchy peanut/bamboo shoot and scattered bright bite of scallion. Szechuan pepper accented chili oil did not knock me over the head, but slowly built heat so that by the end of the clam shell I was sniffling.

    For my $3.30 there was subtlety, power, grace, balance. Seebee, if you are not completely enamored by Nanshan Chicken I will refund your $3.30 next time I see you.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - March 21st, 2013, 1:56 pm
    Post #18 - March 21st, 2013, 1:56 pm Post #18 - March 21st, 2013, 1:56 pm
    A similar dish of diced, poached chicken tossed with chili oil, soy, and sometimes sesame paste and cilantro, is available at many Szechuan restaurants in NYC. Perhaps you can find a similar dish at the Szechuan places in Chicago? It is, indeed, delicious.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #19 - March 21st, 2013, 2:00 pm
    Post #19 - March 21st, 2013, 2:00 pm Post #19 - March 21st, 2013, 2:00 pm
    Habibi wrote:A similar dish of diced, poached chicken tossed with chili oil, soy, and sometimes sesame paste and cilantro, is available at many Szechuan restaurants in NYC. Perhaps you can find a similar dish at the Szechuan places in Chicago? It is, indeed, delicious.

    Oh, most certainly, but, for instance Lao Sze Chuan's menu (see #100-120) charges twice as much, and the chicken items are labeled "with bone". I am particularly fond of the rabbit version of this dish at LSC.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #20 - March 21st, 2013, 3:22 pm
    Post #20 - March 21st, 2013, 3:22 pm Post #20 - March 21st, 2013, 3:22 pm
    JoelF wrote:Oh, most certainly, but, for instance Lao Sze Chuan's menu (see #100-120) charges twice as much, and the chicken items are labeled "with bone". I am particularly fond of the rabbit version of this dish at LSC.

    Yes, absolutely, similar, but as Joel said Lao Sze Chuan's are "with bone" and quite shardy. Don't get me wrong, I love the chicken and rabbit versions, but in comparison Snack Planet's $3.30 version seems a more thoughtful preparation, larger pieces of tender poached chicken with no bone shard, peanut, bamboo shoot and balanced chili oil.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - April 1st, 2013, 7:02 pm
    Post #21 - April 1st, 2013, 7:02 pm Post #21 - April 1st, 2013, 7:02 pm
    Gary's right. The chix is excellent on a few levels. I've had it twice now. The texture/consitancy of the birdmeat we suspect has to do w/the poaching method. Then add peanuts, ginger, bamboo shoots, scallions, szechaun peppercorns... a lotta things I like right there. Kinda like a chiken version of beef w/maw. I even saved the chile oil and drowned some leftover carnitas I bought out of the hot box @ Tierra Caliente with it.

    Damn good magic in your mouth.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #22 - April 12th, 2013, 8:14 am
    Post #22 - April 12th, 2013, 8:14 am Post #22 - April 12th, 2013, 8:14 am
    Rene G wrote:new Filipino place (Bahay Kubo) looks about ready to open.

    Bahay Kubo opened four days ago.

    Image

    I did not try Bahay Kubo as I am having a full-blown culinary love affair with Nanshan chicken from Snack Planet. Nanshan chicken was the highlight of our lunch, though Beef brisket (spicy) w/noodle stood out for tender flavorful beef and beefy mouth coatingly rich broth.

    Beef brisket (spicy) w/noodle #2

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - April 12th, 2013, 10:38 am
    Post #23 - April 12th, 2013, 10:38 am Post #23 - April 12th, 2013, 10:38 am
    The girls and I played Mah Jong there late one night. I can not comment on the food as we were already full from dinner. However, I was impressed at how clean, well-lit and spacious the area was. The employees who were still there that late were very congenial even though we were not ordering food. Looked great, cant wait to go back!
  • Post #24 - April 12th, 2013, 8:01 pm
    Post #24 - April 12th, 2013, 8:01 pm Post #24 - April 12th, 2013, 8:01 pm
    I actually had plans to get summa that chicken to take home last Sat, but our plans changed so rapidly, it wasn't to be. I even went in and scouted the place out while the kids terrorized the passersby outside with those little paper popper things while they waited for me. (The kid in me says every child should get a box of those things when in Chinatown.) I think me and jr are hitting this joint up tomorrow night for dinner. This chicken has me quite curious. If I don't like it, Gwiv, I'll be sending you an invoice.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #25 - April 13th, 2013, 9:01 am
    Post #25 - April 13th, 2013, 9:01 am Post #25 - April 13th, 2013, 9:01 am
    seebee wrote:If I don't like it, Gwiv, I'll be sending you an invoice.
    No worries, you have my address.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - April 14th, 2013, 8:22 pm
    Post #26 - April 14th, 2013, 8:22 pm Post #26 - April 14th, 2013, 8:22 pm
    Found myself at the Richland Food Court today around dinner time, and hungry. If I had a shred less restraint, I'd have ordered something from each vendor. I think I hit three.

    I started with the sushi counter next door, Ike Bukuro "Sushi House."
    Just something simple, an unagi roll, and a spicy tuna roll. Both about as good as I should have expected. Ran into a little issue with the second piece of the spicy tuna roll though.I doubt that issue would be the norm. Try this stall for yourself.

    There is a counter a few doors to the left of Snack Planet, NOT Grill and Go, and NOT the Phillipino one, either. I forgot the name, but as I walked by, there was a picture of "Soup Dumplings" for 5.95 or whatever. I had to. I was expecting xiao long bao, but that is probably my fault. These were just big ol honkin steamed dumplings stuffed with a porky filling. No soup to be found. They were a little sweet for my tastes.

    The "Nanshan Chicken" was nice, indeed. A little too subtle for my tastes, not missing heat, but missing a zestiness -like an acidic note, but for the price, it was very nice, indeed. I grabbed two orders of it, so I get to snack on it for a few days. :P
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #27 - April 15th, 2013, 8:22 am
    Post #27 - April 15th, 2013, 8:22 am Post #27 - April 15th, 2013, 8:22 am
    seebee wrote:The "Nanshan Chicken" was nice, indeed. A little too subtle for my tastes, not missing heat, but missing a zestiness -like an acidic note, but for the price, it was very nice, indeed.

    If you were mentally comparing Nanshan Chicken to Spring World (RIP) House shredded chicken in spicy vinegar I can see how you might think it lacked "zestiness" but I, obviously, feel it stands tall as its own entity. You may wish to add red vinegar, rice vinegar or cider vinegar (ascending order of zing) to what you brought home, but I'm guessing you are ahead of me on this. At least I don't have to reimburse you $3.30, whew!

    Me, I like Snack Planet's Nanshan Chicken so damn much I'm at the roll my own stage.

    Thanks for the info on the other kiosks, I'm sure (hope) there is another gem or three there, but I've been unable to break from Snack Planet's gravitational pull.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - June 27th, 2013, 9:00 am
    Post #28 - June 27th, 2013, 9:00 am Post #28 - June 27th, 2013, 9:00 am
    Snack Planet continues to amaze, two Nanshan Spicy Chickens, 8 soft cooked quail eggs in Szechuan chili oil and stir fry lamb under $15 for two with rice and bottled water. Fantastic lunch, almost embarrassingly inexpensive!

    Snack Planet

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - April 23rd, 2014, 11:38 am
    Post #29 - April 23rd, 2014, 11:38 am Post #29 - April 23rd, 2014, 11:38 am
    Newish chinese meat on a stick place next to Snack Planet is really good. Had both lamb skewer and the chicken wings. 1.50 each.
    Snack planet is still delicious.
  • Post #30 - April 23rd, 2014, 1:54 pm
    Post #30 - April 23rd, 2014, 1:54 pm Post #30 - April 23rd, 2014, 1:54 pm
    It's called Lao Pi, and it's excellent. Cooked over live charcoal, clearly visible from the counter, this is by far the best Chinese style kebabs--called shaokao in general--that I've had here in the States.

    I've been a few times already, and the lamb is tops, chicken wings are good but were once overdone, the mantou is excellent and unique (different from how I had it in China, but improved), chili peppers, garlic cloves, all kissed with charcoal. I regularly made whole meals of these during my summers in China, and have happily done so here.

    Language barrier might be a problem occasionally--I've had one person who did speak English and one who didn't--but thankfully Kevin Pang wrote about this place in the Trib not long ago: https://twitter.com/pang/status/451743072175411201

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