Filed under: Chinese, Northwest Portland | Tags: Authentic Chinese food, beaverton, best dumplings, paleo, Sichuan
The Meat-O-Meter is from China. He has been on a seemingly never-ending quest to find food that will take him back to his childhood in Hei Fei Lu, Shanghai.
There are a number of authentic Chinese restaurants on 82nd. But the ones we frequent are all Hong Kong style, which is different than Northern China or Sichuan cuisine.
So we haven’t felt that any restaurant has earned an “OMG, this place is LEGIT, for REALS, YO!!” label (Asian-Fast-and-Furious-speak ) …until the Taste of Sichuan! Taste of Sichuan brought back all of the Meat-O-Meter’s childhood memories and he was simply giddy. (I know it’s hard to imagine, but with like most foodies after having found a great restaurant, there was noticeable change in outlook in life :D)
Upon the recommendation from Matt U. from CFP, we ventured all the way out to Beaverton for the possibility to get some LEGIT Chinese food. What sold us was the fact that they have two sections to their menu. The first section contains the typical Chinese American foods you see at any Westernized Chinese restaurant, but the next section is called “The Wild Side”. Please read the excerpt on their menu that explains this title here.
It was like they wrote it directly for us! They knew exactly what we were looking for! We were pretty blown away…hence our 20 minute trek out to the burbs.
What we ordered: 5 Flavored Smoked Beef, The Great Fire Pot Debate – Beef Brisket, and Dry Cooked String Beans.
How we ordered it: As is – it’s Chinese food so I guarantee there is some soy sauce and sugar used in the cooking process. I’ll offer some substitution suggestions below. I just need to note also that some dishes are made with MSG and our waiter told us that you can request for NO MSG when you odrer!
Just be warned that when you see Sichuan, you should equate that with SPICY! Some of the dishes may be ordered mild, but probably not most of them.
Cost: Five Flavored Beef – $6.95, The Great Fire Pot Debate – Beef Brisket – $12.95, Dry Cooked String Bean – $8.95
Quality: It’s hard to express in words the quality of the food here. With every bite you get a warm fuzzy sensation that is China-rrific. We will come back here repeatedly until we have tried every item on the menu. Eating at another restaurant would just seem wasteful when we know there’s amazing Chinese food waiting for us to order here! (So if you’re looking for us, this is probably where we will be for the next couple of weeks.)
The spiciness in the 5 Flavored Beef isn’t too overwhelming. It doesn’t set your mouth on fire when you take your first bite. You can taste the awesome complex flavor before the spiciness kicks in, which makes this dish a bit easier to eat for me than the similar sliced beef shank dish at Lucky Strike.
The String Beans were perfectly cooked. With this type of dish, it is made with black bean and soy sauce. You could probably ask them to make a garlic sauce, or order the bok choy or any other green vegetable with garlic sauce and that would be more paleo friendly. When we go back again, we will do this and let you know how it turns out!
Quantity: The best buck-for-meat from what we ordered was the Five Flavored Beef. It’s made from thinly sliced beef shank and just one of numerous other meat appetizers that surely are meat heavy as well. The beef brisket was a pretty good size, considering the size of the serving “pan”.
Like most other Chinese restaurants it had a similarly tendon-y texture to it, which really makes this dish LEGIT and awesome! This is the Meat-O-Meter’s favorite types of meat. For me, I can only eat so much of the “chewy meats” and sometimes I just want some good ol’ muscle meat and this brisket dish had a really great balance of the two textures.
We were really impressed! If you had told us that there would be great authentic Chinese food in the suburbs we would have never believed you. This restaurant was really clean, the service was uber professional, everything was in English AND Chinese in and out of the menu. Taste of Sichuan is definitely less hipster than the Lucky Strike, but nice and clean like a decent restaurant should be. It was almost a bit surreal.
For the few that are reading that are non-paleo ( all one of you ;)), here’s an extra gem we found:
OK, so there is a non-paleo item that we ordered and it is too good to not mention. Since visiting China last year, we are on the hunt for some dumplings. Not just any dumplings, but the dumplings that are called, “Xiao Long Bao”; which literally means “Little Dragon Buns”.
These dumplings are a pork and green onion mixture wrapped in a flour dough and then steamed, but the MOST important is the juice that is inside. Usually you have to eat them with a spoon because there’s so much meat juice/fat inside. Sometimes the juice is from the dab of duck fat that they put in the dumpling right before they wrap and steam it.
These dumplings are impossible to find in Portland. When we saw this on Taste of Sichuan’s Specials Menu we were in disbelief! So we had to order them and they ended up tasting so much like the ones we had in China! They are only served on Fri, Sat and Sun night during dinner. Probably because they are only good if they are made fresh.
These dumplings pretty much solidified the authenticity of this restaurant.
Back to Paleo speak:
So if you are feeling adventurous, you can order from The Wild Side menu. Grab a bunch of friends and go experience something new and try it out! I will try to post additional dishes that would be good to order so that the not-so-adventurous types can be forewarned.
Of course you can always stick to the “Normal Menu”, which I’m sure are all just as good, but that would be boring and predictable and probably would not optimize the adventure that could be when headed out to Beaverton Taste of Sichuan, oh how we heart you!
Filed under: Chinese, Southeast Portland | Tags: authentic chinese, Chinese, paleo, Portland
3862 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard Portland, OR 97214
We were on our way to a favorite restaurant of ours called ARISTA. Then we find out that it closed! Up popped in Lucky Strike. A bit disappointed, but excited to try a new restaurant! We heard that Lucky Strike was good and also that they were super spicy. Given the cool name, out interests were peaked.
What we ordered: Chicken on Fire, Chives with Egg, Twice Cooked Pork, Kung Pao Chicken
How we ordered it: As is. No rice.
What we got:
Cost: Hot Pepper Chicken Bath – $10, Kung Pao Chicken – $9, Twice Cooked Pork – $10, Chive Stir-fried with Egg – $7.
Quality: So on their menu they state that all their meat is from local farms. They write which meat is from what farm, it’s so Portland! A Chinese restaurant that serves real authentic Chinese food and is concerned about where their meat comes from. Hmm, could this place be the best of both worlds?
Quantity: This was not too bad. The fact that most authentic Chinese restaurants would charge between $10 and $18 for major entrees, this really wasn’t that bad.
This was after I dared him to eat one red pepper. OK, so some people’s palettes can handle really spicy food, but geez, they are some special people. You can get other entrees that are not spicy and somewhat Paleo, but they are limited to the Chives with eggs and the baby bok choy. If you are looking for a solid cheat, go for the Seafood Pancake. (so good) Otherwise, it was pretty easy to order Paleo here, everything can be ordered as is. If you love spicy food and don’t need rice to help alleviate the painful temperature in your mouth then this is the place for you!
Filed under: Chinese, Southwest Portland | Tags: Chinese food, downtown, not authentic chinese food, paleo
101 SW Yamhill, Portland, OR 97204
The words Bistro and Asian should never be used together. We had a restaurant.com coupon and we thought these guys would get Chinese food right. Their website looks pretty cool, the inside looks nice and Zen like, so we thought the food couldn’t have been that bad. They might have a chance. When we sat down at our table there was a postcard that said, “Best Chinese restaurant for 10 years”. This sentence was incorrect in every way. Literally and grammatically.
What we ordered: Beef with Green Beans, Crispy Prawns with Mandarin Sauce, Fried Eggplant in Gon-Bon Sauce.
How we ordered it: It read like it was good on the menu and so we ordered it all as is.
What we got:
Cost: Beef with Green Beans – $12.95, Fried Eggplant – $9.50, Crispy Prawns – $17.95.
Quantity: We got sooooooo jacked. That’s 8 prawns for $17.95!!!!!! Where do I begin. Can you guess what the next picture is going to look like?
Yikes that is not a happy camper. I know cuz i heard it the whole way home. (love you, honey!) Words just can’t explain our disappointment. Our server said the eggplant was lightly breaded. Whaaaaaa? Would you like some eggplant with your breading? To be fair, we were thinking was this our mistake? Should the word fried always be interpreted as having breading on it, especially when ordering Chinese food? OK, so maybe lesson learned, we should always ask if it’s breaded……….really? That’s a load of hooha.
I’ll say it…..WTF? $18 for some prawns. As my mother would say in Korean: AYEESH!!! Ay-goh meh!!!!! (translation: expression in total disgust, then OMG!)
If you see the words Asian and Bistro together, tread lightly.
Filed under: Chinese, Southeast Portland | Tags: Chinese, paleo, southeast portland
Review coming soon! Sorry all for the delay in posts. After a 3 week vaca in China and then I recently got my computer and camera stolen!
(I curse the day those evil people were born!)
So no camera yet, I’m working on it. However, we did just eat at a great restaurant on 39th and Hawthorne called Lucky Strike.
This will be my first review back after our 3 month meateats hiatus!
Thanks everyone for still coming back! Hopefully within the week I’ll be able to get my reviews and the Meat-O-Meter back up and running again!
With the disappointment of Golden Coin closing, we haven’t found another LEGIT Chinese Restaurant. With the help of Yelp, Shenzhen seemed worth trying out. We did circle around the parking lot a couple times, partly because there were no spaces left, but exclaiming our hesitancy the whole time.
It was a gamble, but when we walked in and all the specials that were posted on the wall were written in Chinese, we were a little bit more optimistic.
What we ordered: Appetizers – Pig ears, 5 Spiced beef. Entree – Beef in a Bucket (With a name like that, how could you not!)
How we ordered it: As-is. No Rice.
What we got:
Cost: Beef in a Bucket – $9.95, Pig Ears – $2.50, 5 Spiced Beef – $4.50
Quality: As the Meat-O-Meter would say, “It’s pretty legit”.
Quantity: The “Beef in a Bucket” lasted us another day. It was craziness!
Look there’s still leftover. We were stuffed! This restaurant is the real deal. AND they’re open until MIDNIGHT EVERYDAY! Woohoo! So next time you pick up friends or family from the airport and it’s after 9 pm and you need to go eat somewhere….GO HERE!
More photos of the 2nd and 3rd time we went back:
We got the seafood Hot Pot. It was the best meal to end the year! I think it’s a chinese tradition to eat it on New Year’s Eve, but not sure….If you haven’t gone here yet, for the love of the Paleo gods, GO!
Filed under: Chinese, Northwest Portland | Tags: Chen's Good Taste, Chinese, Northwest Portland, paleo
18 NW 4th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97209
I really believe that cleanliness of the interior of a restaurant affects a restaurant experience. It’s odd because I would go to a Mexican taco stand and have no problems there. Maybe because this restaurant is in downtown Portland and I would expect a little bit of a cleaner atmosphere, but I think the cleanliness really did affect our visit this time. Call me a hypocrite, but I could not get over it.
It was very promising walking in; tiny, hole in the wall, cooked duck hanging out in the window, about half of the room was filled w/ other Asians. It looked a bit dirty, but it felt a bit dirty too.
What we ordered: Beef Brisket Hot Pot, Tripe Hot Pot, Garlic Bok Choy.
How we ordered it: Hold the rice!
What we got:
Cost: Each Hot Pot dish was about $9.95, Bok Choy – $7.95
Quality: I have no idea where this meat came from. In general, it tasted the way we would have expected. Personally, both meats were a bit too chewy for me. Not for the light stomached. Nothin’ special.
Quantity: There was plenty to go around and then some.
BTW, that is the largest indoor bamboo plant that I’ve ever seen!
Maybe it was the dim lighting or the hygenically (is this a word?) odd event that we witnessed in the kitchen, which I will not go into detail here. Go at your own risk. Yelp reviews were generally positive, which I was surprised. But heck this restaurant has been there a long time and it sort of has a bit of a legacy, so maybe it’s reputation precedes itself to others. Go forth at your own risk!
Filed under: Chinese, Hot Pot, Southwest Portland | Tags: Chinese, Hot Pot, paleo
Ready to experience something different? Going to a hot pot restaurant will be sure to spice up the typical restaurant experience.
“Hot Pot” consists of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. (Thanks Wiki!)
This is what “Hot Pot City” looks like:
Nice steaming hot broth ready to be consumed!
If you’re worried about what you’re supposed to do at a hot pot restuarant, here is what we like to do; specifically at Hot Pot City.
1) Order broth type.
2) Obtain frozen meat and veggies and dipping sauce from buffet.
3) Using your chopsticks, place a couple pieces of meat and veggies into the boiling broth. (If you put too many pieces of frozen meat in your broth, it will take longer to cook.)
4) After cooking the desired amount in the broth, use the provided strainer to dish it onto your provided small bowl. Eating hot pot means the meat is all thinly sliced or cut into small pieces in order for fast cooking time. One thin slice of meat only takes 15-30 seconds to cook.
5) Dish more food into the broth to cook. Be sure to dip your chopsticks in the hot broth before you start eating or use a second pair of chopsticks.
6) Dip into dipping sauce and eat!
7) Repeat steps 3-6. It’s an efficient system, you’ll get the hang of it.
This will be your place setting:
What we ordered: There are different broth types, meat broth, chinese cilantro with egg, spicy meat…After you cook all your food in the broth and eat it, the leftover broth will be full of flavor and deliciousness!!
How we ordered it: We tried everything in the buffet line. The only processed carbs were the noodles and tofu, very easy to skip!
What we got:
There was also, sliced lamb, sliced pork, sliced beef, oysters (huge), tripe, pork tendon, fish balls, whole shrimp, beef balls, pig feet…yes it was delicious….veggies were: bok choy, chinese cabbage, mushrooms, yams, radish, tomato….They bring out a lot of different stuff.
Cost: $14.95 for dinner. Very well priced for all you can eat goodness!
Quality: We’re not sure about their meat source. It’s probably not as fresh as we’d like, since it does need to be frozen, but it does the job good, really good!
Quantity: Holy cow, like the Brazil Grill, it’s hard to know when to stop!
The ends of his lips are actually curled upwards! Hot Pot City may be the best of the best so far! This restaurant is great if you have just come from spending the day up at the mountain. Hot broth is perfect for this type of occasion. Like other buffets, make sure you’re starving before you get there so you get the most out of it. This restaurant is located near PSU, so a lot of students go there. That could be why the price is so great. Don’t miss this great Paleo-friendly dining experience!
Filed under: Chinese, Southeast Portland | Tags: Authentic Chinese food, paleo
They have since remodelded and are now called Ocean City Seafood….
Remember Your Roots!
Authentic Chinese food can be hard to come by in Portland. When we say Authentic, we’re talking about the real deal, no quams about it, the shiznat, straight off the boat, direct from the homeland. It’s hard to find, but it’s out there and we’re determined to find it. In case you may not understand what we’re talking about, here is some insight:
1) Fried Rice is not Authentic Chinese food; neither is General Tso’s Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Crab Rangoon, Chop Suey or Chow Mein. Basically, anything that’s on the Anglo menu.
2) The amount of steamed rice Asian people eat in Asia with their dinner is at most 1 cup, that is, after it’s cooked, not before.
1st rule of thumb – When you walk into an Asian restaurant, or if you are fortunate to look in the window before you walk in, pan the room. If there are a lot of Asian people, you are good to go. If you see a lot of non-Asian people…check the address. If you’re at the correct address, get back in the car.
2nd rule of thumb – When going into a restaurant that has the potential of being Authentic, look for a menu that is not in English. Close the Anglo menu! Don’t even think about ordering egg rolls or the orange chicken. If they serve hamburgers, pizza or french fries, get out IMMEDIATELY.
Authentic Chinese food can be incredibly Paleo friendly. Not much breading and opting out of rice is very easy.
What we ordered: Seabass mixed with some type of white green onion, steamed pork belly with oysters in a clay pot and seafood - fish mung soup.
How we ordered it: We first looked briefly at the menu that was posted on the hanging white board by the entrance written all in Chinese and our eyes widened with excitement. We sat down, briefly opened and then closed the menu, told our server that we were in the mood for a fish and pork. He then recommended some dishes; which all sounded good. We decided and then confirmed with him that these items were not on the menu. He affirmed. We knew we were on the right track. Then he asked if we wanted steamed rice and we politely declined. No problem. Easy Peasy, Stressless and Easy.
What we got:
Seafood Fish Mung Soup
Seabass with white green onion
Pork belly and Oyster Clay Pot
Cost: $13.95 for the Pork Belly Clay Pot, $11.95 for the Sea bass, $10 for the Seafood Fish Mung Soup.
Quality: It was like the MEAT-O-METER was back home again. The dishes were flavorful. The pork belly was cooked perfectly, like good bacon should be. The oysters in the clay pot were a good texture. They may have been a little bit fried, which made part of it a little bit carmelized and crunchy. Delicious!
Quantity: We both ate very well, stuffed to the gills.
I’ll be frank. This place from the outside looks really shady. There’s some type of sketchy lounge in the back. If you look up reviews of this place on the internet, they get panned for their service. This, however, is very questionable. Who knows? Maybe it was because we were Asian and we never asked for water and was OK with the hot tea they served us. Or maybe the server really liked the MEAT-O-METER’s glasses. But the service to us was fine. Nobody asked us if we were doing OK in the middle of our meal, but that’s really a Western Hemisphere cultural thing. So we weren’t offended when nobody checked up on us. Hmm, is their service really that bad? Keep an open mind – you be the judge…
HAPPY Chinese New Year! It’s the year of the Ox. It is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This year we went to eat dim sum and with fortitude and hard work we will recover from our meal. Dim sum, is not very Paleo friendly, but with fortitude and hard work it can be. If you have never been it’s quite an experience and we highly recommend trying it once in your life.
Dim sum - Dishes are served in small portions and include a variety of different meats, vegetables and seafood. They are served in a steamer basket or small plate. Nice ladies push a cart around with different dim sum dishes and you just point to which one you want and they give it to you.
What we ordered: ”hum bow” barbecue pork buns, “shu-mai” – pork, open faced dumpling, tripe, boiled spare ribs, steamed broccoli stems, “lo mai gai” lotus leaf sticky rice, taro root pancake and shrimp balls.
OK, not at all Paleo, except for the broccolli stems, tripe and spare ribs and maybe the taro root. We did a work out after the meal. Like I said, it’s gonna take some hard work to recover.
How we ordered it: Point and eat!
What we got: We were ordering with 3 other non-Paleo people, so we didn’t eat all of it, honest!
Yes, you do see some bread like food there. We did have some self control.
This little dude was just hangin’ out as we walked into the restaurant. We didn’t have any, but I’m sure it would have been tasty.
Cost: The more people in your party, the better. Dim sum at Legin ranges from $2.00 to $6.00. Most items you would get are between $2-$4. For 5 people it was $15 per person and we had a lot leftover.
Quantity: Though the nature of dim sum is small plates, it fills you up fast!
Quality: A little on the greasy side, very tasty though.
Other dim sum dishes are strictly meat. Such as chicken with the bone, boiled spare ribs, sliced barbecue pork, chicken feet, tripe, jelly fish and beef meat balls. Unfortunately most dim sum has breading around meat, but if the restaurant has a wide variety of different types of dishes it should satisfy your Paleo appetite. Legin wasn’t as diverse as we like. Hence the OK rating.
I would put the website here, but I can’t do it, I just can’t bring myself to do it….
Yes, we know, fast food. But for research purposes, we had to investigate. When you’re on the road and all your choices are McD’s, Burger King and Panda Express….hmmm, which one r u going to try?
I know what you’re thinking, anyone could have told me that, but just to be fair and objective, we had to find out first hand.
What we ordered: Teriyaki Chicken, Barbecue Pork, Stir-fry mixed vegetables.
How we ordered it: Basically it’s like a la carte. You look at the foods in their metal trays and tell them which ones you want. 2 entrees and a side. We picked the mixed vegetables instead of the rice. Kudos for the choices and visual-ness of the food. I asked for some of the pineapple pieces in another entree and they were nice and accomodating!
What we got: We got some reasonable servings. At first glance, you’re thinking…not bad! Then we tasted it….
First, the pork wasn’t bad, then we tasted the chicken and that tasted like the pork, then we tasted the veggies and that also tasted like the pork and then we decided that the pork didn’t really taste like pork, then the food just blended together and actually, didn’t really taste like anything.
Cost: Cheap! $5.95 for 2 entrees and one side.
Quality: Does it really matter now…(On a side note: They did score a 100 on KATU News’ Dirty Dining Report)
Quantity: Not bad
Is there a fast food place out there that can satisfy a Paleo’s appetite? The search continues….