We're kicking off the new year by having each of us write a review of a Chinese restaurant in our areas! We realized that for many, getting a ton of Chinese food and staying at home has replaced going out to bars and dodging drunk drivers on New Years Eve. So we thought we'd each try a different spot in a different state and report back! Well, we're starting in the upper left side of the good ol' U.S. of A in Seattle with Rich!
Many of you know that I moved out here from the east coast a year ago. What you might now know, is that Chinese food simply IS. NOT. AS. GOOD. On the west coast. I know, I know, bombard me with the argument that it's "MORE AUTHENTIC", and "NOT AMERICANIZED" all you'd like. I heard these stories of sub par Chinese food and didn't quite understand until the first time I tried to order it and didn't see the classic staples I had known all my life. No chicken fingers?! No teriyaki sticks? No boneless spare ribs? I was like:
But luckily we tracked down a place that has a handful of great items and we if we're smart about ordering we can tweak their menu a little bit to make it more what we want. Golden City in Ballard is that place! Located at 5518 20th ave in Seattle, it's nestled right in the middle of Ballard. There's a bar attached that I have never been in. The inside is your traditional decor. I know they do a ton of takeout, but I rarely see anyone sitting down eating inside. I would have gotten a picture of the outside but when we got the food it was already dark out. Rookie mistake right?
This year we started with an order of Crab Cheese Wonton...known on the East Coast as CRAB RANGOONS!
The Crab Cheese Wontons at Golden City are pretty damn great. Their shell is very crispy all around and in the middle there's a blob of weird cream cheese goo just like we all enjoy. I find both the cream cheese and crab flavors to not be as prominent as in Chinese places back east, but they are still awesome, despite having NO DUCK SAUCE TO DIP THEM IN. Yes, that's another issue. Every restaurant out here has that terrible red sweet and sour sauce instead of duck sauce. At least the ones I have come into contact with. But duck sauce aside, these bad boys get a thumbs up from me.
Next up...ALMOND CHICKEN without the sauce, aka: CHICKEN FINGERS (kinda).
What we found here is that there's no way we've found to order just chicken like this. They are sort of like mini Chinese chicken fingers. Instead they come as Almond chicken covered in a sauce that looks like something a goblin would have puked up in an 80's horror movie. The trick is, you order it with the sauce on the side and you're left with a batch of golden, crispy chicken fingers that are damn good.
Then we also got some veggie Lo Mein. With the rest of the meal being pretty meat-heavy, it only made sense to get a bunch of noodles and vegetables, right? RIGHT?
As far as Lo Mein goes, it was par the course. Noodles, lots of big veggies and that familiar sauce. It was good, but probably the least memorable part of the meal. A little less broccoli might have made this better. Can we all agree that cooked broccoli taste a little bit like farts? I think we can. Less of that in my meal, the better.
But the main event of this Golden City feast was the General Tao's chicken. This stuff is spectacular. It's made with a different batter than the chicken fingers. This one seems a bit tougher to stand up against the sauce that the pieces are drowning in, and that's a good thing. Each bite has just the right bit of crunch, and the sauce is out of this world. Borderline too spicy after you've eaten a bunch, but also very sweet and tangy. There's what seems to be razor thin slices of garlic in here too and each one bursts with flavor. This is right up there with my favorite "Generals" chicken ever.
For all those out there who may not believe the legend that West Coast Chinese food is lacking, I can tell you that at least up here in Seattle, I haven't found and equivalent to back home in New England. But I'm glad to have found Golden City to quench my thirst for crab rangoons when it gets too intense. Ahem, Crab Cheese Wontons, sorry.
But if you find yourself in Ballard and are looking for some damn good General Tao's Chicken, head on into Golden City and that and a side of Crab Cheese Wontons will be sure to make you leave happy. Check out their website for more info!
Stay tuned for three more Chinese food restaurant reviews coming up next!
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