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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Chowdown

Champa Gardens chowdown

foodfan | | Aug 24, 2006 12:45 AM

Met a few hounds today for a sampling of the huge menu at Champa Gardens. First of all, thanks to whomever ever found this spot ~ I never would have run accross it on my own.

Guided by previous mentions and posts, we ordered the rice salad and sausage plate. The rice salad (#3) was great, chewy warm rice, distinct flavors of each ingredient and nice texture;like great fried rice. Wrapped in lettuce packets, I really liked this. The sausages were grilled and served in thin slices. They had a lemony taste, smooth texture and were not greasy at all. These were pleasant, but I found them boring after a slice or two.

They did not have the rice porridge we were looking for so we ordered spring rolls (#1). I'm glad we did, these are a winner. Crisp, light and delicious wrapped in fresh mint leaves and dunked in the clear, sweet sauce. Very similar to Vietnamese imperial rolls but with a lighter, less brittle shell.

Squid salad with mint and red onions was good. Excellent texture on the calamari and the dish seemed light and herby. I wasn't as fond of the green papaya salad, a little too spicy and one dimensional for me.

Two entrees, one a shrimp and mango with coconut milk curry was very tasty with soft, hot sweet mango chunks, lightly cooked shrimp, some crisp vegetables and lots of flavorful curry for scooping over rice. We also had catfish which was ok but seemed pale and wan next to the shrimp dish. Finished with excellent sweet sticky rice and mango.

A nice selection of presentations and flavors at a bargain price of $11 a person. I am sure others will fill in what I have forgotten. For the Friday lunch, I would suggest double orders of #1 and #3 to munch while you persue the menu. Nice folks, good lunch, thanks for the invite!

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