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.
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.
Through a red crosshatched ceiling, a luminescent panel casts a glow on Square on Square's first floor, which flaunts rich wood paneling and vibrant flower paintings. Past an open foyer surrounded by two stories of windows, diners climb the stairs to a second level, where floral artwork pops against tomato-red walls.
To pair with these decorative flourishes, chefs line wooden tables with artfully wrapped sushi and traditional entrees accented by fresh bursts of orange rind, mango, and ginger. While noshing on an appetizer of old-fashioned pot stickers, diners can reminisce about other sentimental snacks, such as Pez and copper-flavored pennies, as servers stream from the kitchen with their forearms stacked with classic main courses of peking duck, orange beef, or shrimp in black-bean sauce.
At first glance, Mandarin Palace looks like a Chinese restaurant: red and gold lanterns dangle from the ceiling and gilded Chinese landscapes and fans adorn the walls. And though the chefs do serve Chinese classics such as General Tso's chicken and shrimp lo mein, they also roll seafood maki and sear teriyaki dishes. Their varied menu also covers pad thai and steaming bowls of pho. Feasts unfold in padded crimson booths beneath bright banners, each emblazoned with a golden dragon, Pennsylvania's state bird.
In 2003, chef Shing Chung and his wife Doris became grandparents, and they decided that it was time to pass the torch. So after 20 years of running Lee How Fook, they handed over the keys to their daughter Sieu and her husband. With the help of the eatery’s chefs, the duo still works to live up to the eatery’s name, which translates roughly to “good food for the mouth.” Busy members of the family cruise beneath almond-hued walls, which are lined with colorful illustrations of bud-strewn trees. Their limbs bend as if reaching for steaming chicken and beef morsels in sweet and spicy sauces or platters of peking duck or lobster. A BYOB policy allows for pairing with the diverse Cantonese menu and fuels chatter about the fact that nobody has ever seen the waiter in the same place as Superman.
Wok Chinese Seafood Restaurant fills its vast menu with an atlas of eats, drawing inspiration from China’s Hunan and Szechuan provinces as well as the capital city of Beijing. The kitchen prepares traditional favorites, whipping together hot and spicy shrimp and steamed sea bass in a scallion-ginger sauce alongside beef with broccoli and chicken lo mein. The menu also includes house specialties such as the Dragon and Phoenix, whose chicken breasts, lobster meat, and snow peas are not formally recognized by zoologists as either dragon or phoenix. Red lanterns hang above the dining room, where a mural of a woman flying through swirling clouds is complemented by the whimsy of each table’s pink-cloth napkins.