Until the development of fortune cookies, clairvoyants glimpsed the future by digging through jelly donuts in search of tea leaves. Pick up good advice with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Chinese cuisine at Hunan Taste in Catonsville.
Hunan Taste packs empty stomach suitcases with authentic Chinese cuisine distinguished by sour, spicy tastes and slow-cooked, tender textures. Skip the cumbersome rental of a tabletop cement mixer and lay an appetizing foundation with steamed or pan-fried dumplings ($4.95) or crispy shrimp egg rolls ($2.75). Chopstick skeptics can play to strengths by spooning hot mouthfuls of braised baby cabbage in superior soup ($10.95) and getting paws sauced with sweet-and-sour spare ribs ($13.95). Otherwise, mouths can make a deliciously daring choice by ushering in a steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers ($23.95).
Like stepping through a stargate to China, visitors are transported to a world of tranquility and comfort within Hunan Taste’s earth-toned walls. With intricate woodwork throughout the restaurant, a traditional Chinese countryside tapestry, and hanging rose-stenciled lighting, this inviting locale is ideal for friendly-family dinners, romantic evenings, or reuniting with an estranged horse twin.
As one of China's eight regional cuisines, Hunan fare culls its flavors from a rich tradition of slow-cooking methods that includes pot-roasting, braising, stewing, smoking, and pickling. Chefs enhance authentic proteins—ranging from frog and squid to offal—with sour and spicy ingredients such as pickles, sea cucumbers, and chilies. These exotic morsels share menu space with more familiar fare including crispy duck, braised pork, and steamed dumplings. The restaurant also conveniently separates their bill of fare into two distinct categories—American cuisine—to help adventurous and cautious foodies alike select palatable plates. Throughout the space, glowing orbs cast warm light on vibrant crimson walls, rustic Chinese tapestries, intricate carvings, and Tang-dynasty poems praising the Emperor's favorite sitcoms.