If Canton's chefs were asked to pick the most indispensable tool in their kitchen, they'd no doubt point to the wok. After all, this versatile cooking vessel helps them recreate a wide range of traditional Asian dishes, from savory Mongolian tofu to zesty orange chicken. Most diners, however, will never see the fiery-hot wok in action. This is a good thing, as it means they'll be enjoying their meal in the midst of the dining room's dark woods and contemporary furnishings.
The Chinese dumplings that arrive at Zen Dumpling's tables are like small, edible treasure chests. Inside awaits a bounty of savory fillings: veggies, pork, chicken, and beef, all hidden within the dumplings' soft dough exterior. Along with serving food, the staff also enjoys sharing their knowledge of Chinese cuisine. If asked, they may recount how dumplings––which traditionally symbolize wealth––are often served around holidays, potentially indicating gifts of good fortune or durable socks. Their culinary expertise extends to other types of Chinese cuisine, as they also cook chow mein, fried rice, and hot soups filled with the likes of beef tenderloin or spicy fish.
Meat eaters and vegetarians alike can find something on China Wok’s lengthy menu of Chinese favorites. The comprehensive lineup features more than 100 specialties, including the Dragon and Phoenix plate—an extra-spicy mix of sautéed shrimp and chicken. The Happy Family platter arrives dotted with barbecue pork, shrimp, and scallops. Vegetarian entrees include a fragrant bouquet of nutritious fresh broccoli, snow peas, and bamboo shoots cooked in a clay pot, which can restore the body, even after a four-day binge on nothing but donuts.
The chefs at Asian Express cast a wide net over the Pacific, ensnaring a collection of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai recipes. They pan-fry tender meats and fresh veggies to create colorful dishes, such as pad thai and fried rice, that satisfy grumbling tummies with dine-in, takeout, catered, and slingshotted portions.
A local foodstitution since 1963, Edna Ray Chinese Restaurant serves up a tasty mélange of dishes in its current cozy confines of Willow Glen with the same friendly service of its former digs in Los Gatos. Head chef Kwong Wing Suen has more than three decades of gastronomic experience in Hong Kong stored beneath his magic hat, which is the same place from which he pulled the expansive menu. Lead off with the egg rolls ($5.55) or wonton soup ($6.25 for two people) before digging into house specialties such as the tangerine chicken ($10.95) or the romantic, wine-sauce-soaked sea fruit known as lover's prawns ($12.95). The kung pao chicken ($9.25) and Mongolian beef ($9.25) can be spiced to any degree, while the pork chow fun entertains the tongue with parlor tricks ($6.75). Pleasant décor and friendly, quick service accentuate Edna Ray's welcoming noshing quarters, which host a bevy of repeat diners seven days a week.
Spicy Town's culinary conductors orchestrate a variety of sophisticated and exotic ingredients, and compose an extensive menu of authentic, traditional Sichuan dishes. Dress up customizable hot pots, beginning with a broth base ($3) and adding edible accessories such as tender sliced beef ($5.95), quail egg ($3.50), napa cabbage ($2.95), and any of seven varieties of noodle necklaces, including egg, shrimp won ton, and friendship ($2.95–$3.50). Midday lunch specials silence grumbling bellies with pan-fried duck tossed in chili and ginger ($7.99) or eggplant in a sweet and spicy Sichuan sauce ($7.95), all served with steamed rice and soup. During dinner, taste buds can elect comestibles, such as brown beech mushrooms stir-fried with smoked pork ($12.95), into mouthy office to rewrite flavor policies and outlaw the presence of Legos.