There’s no avoiding the fact that Chun Hing’s location, in a Pathmark strip mall several blocks off of City Avenue, is not much to look at. But this BYOB with a mauve and purple color scheme serves both Chinese restaurant staples, as well as other dishes that are less familiar. You’ll find hot and sour soup, General Tso’s chicken, moo shu pork, sliced beef with broccoli, lo mein, and lunch specials that come with your choice of rice. But the “chef’s suggestions” include scallops in tomato sauce, slightly fried squid in special five-spicy-taste seasonings and stuffed fresh mushrooms with shrimp in black-bean sauce. The parking lot might be bland but the food isn’t.
Chef Corey could easily sell hundreds of philly cheesesteaks a day, but he doesn't. Not because he can't, but because at Taste Teaz Seafood & Grill, he chooses to make something not sold in every shop in town: the house's signature salmon cheesesteak. And as a result, Chef Corey and his staff prepped and sold more than 10,000 of the pepper-studded sandwiches in the restaurant's first eight months of business. They pair the hearty sandwiches with sides such as garlic-sauteed broccoli, crab cakes, and corn on the cob, or rice fried with salmon or shrimp. And when they're not feverishly preparing their main dish, staff can be found filling rolls with tilapia, whiting, and flounder to create their other sandwiches and edible snowballs.
At the far end of a small Andorra strip mall housing an insurance office, a paint store and an Irish pub, you’ll find surprisingly sleek Lucky Star Asian Cuisine. Serving numerous Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes, this Philadelphia restaurant has a menu that seems to go on forever. A run of chef’s specials and “must-try entrées” focus on Chinese and Thai options both familiar – sesame beef, pad Thai – and obscure, like a peach chicken dish, or the Thai beef in country wine sauce. On the Japanese side of the menu, there are more than three-dozen eight-piece sushi rolls to choose from, plus assorted other delicacies. Lunch specials are offered for all three cuisines and delivery is available, but the pebble-rock wall at the entrance, dark cherry tables accented with light bamboo and warm atmosphere make for an inviting dine-in experience.
Boasting an impressive Zagat rating, Manny's Place lavishes its signature crab cakes and delectable menu of seafood and American fare with first-rate ingredients and graceful presentation. Handmade with a savory fusion of 100% jumbo lump crabmeat and fresh roux, Manny's specialty crab cakes coast into palate ports fragrantly broiled or deftly coated in golden panko crumbs ($8.45 each, $10.95 for a combo platter). A slew of hot seafood sandwiches ensconce crab cake, shrimp, oyster, or flounder in a fresh hoagie ($7.95+), and bacon-wrapped scallops stylishly blend the farmstead and sea with the panache of an overalls-clad Poseidon ($9.95 for eight pieces). Water-weary palates can seek refuge in Manny's Famous rotisserie chicken ($8) or chicken potpie ($7.95), taking comfort in the menu's complete lack of additives, preservatives, and peanut-oil pools reflecting the haunting visage of George Washington Carver.
Noodles steal the spotlight on the menu at SangKee Noodle House, where chefs churn out popular noodle-based entrees from China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Diners can customize their own soups by selecting from various meats and six types of noodles, or they can choose from a number of tried-and-true dishes, such as lo mein, chow fun, or pad thai. Chefs also whip up peking duck, dim-sum-style dumplings, and smoothies blended from fruit, tapioca, and condensed milk, which comes from cows that have only read the CliffsNotes recipe for regular milk.
Flying Carpet Café & Bar blends international tastes into delightful sandwiches and tapas accompanied by organic tea. The cozy café stocks 14 varieties of organic loose-leaf tea in flavors such as amaretto spice, which defrosts tongues frozen from hands-free ice-sculpting contests. Twosomes opting for the sampler platter can dip fresh olives, feta cheese, falafel, and spinach pie into meticulously crafted baba gannouj and hummus. Region-representative sandwiches dish out delicious geography lessons in forms such as the Norwegian wrap, whose pita coddles cream cheese and smoked salmon together with capers and onions, or the Parisian, which bears roast beef, grilled onions, spinach, and brie, much like an actual Parisian going through customs. Epicurean duos can match their delicately paired eats with the ear-tickling sounds of live jazz on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.