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Restaurants & Bars 34

China Village redux

Ruth Lafler | May 7, 200303:23 AM

After two chowhound meals at China Village in Albany I took my mother and sister there this evening (after a tea brewing class at Celadon down the street).

The manager didn't recognize me, and picked up only the American Chinese version of the menu as he escorted us to our table. But I grabbed the Chinese specialties menu off the host stand, and when he saw that he wisked the offending version away and brought more of the "right" menu for everyone.

What's on the other menu? my sister asked. Kung Pao chicken and sweet and sour pork, I said. I peeked later: also, General Tso's chicken (vbg).

They let me order. My sister moaned with delight over the sliced side pork in spicy garlic sauce (a whole reason to live, in my opinion). She was wondering how the pork is cooked, and I wasn't sure -- poached, maybe? Anyone know? We also had the cucumber with the same sauce. I thought you didn't like cucumbers, Mom said. I don't, I said. These aren't cucumbers, they're pickles on steroids.

I asked the manager to recommend a seasonal vegetable, and it was water-something. Watercress? Haven't we had this discussion about how Chinese watercress isn't the same as American watercress, but something else? Anyway, it was good and a nice antidote, along with the sesame flat bread, to the heat from the spicy tofu w/fish fillet (aka "Red Bowl of Death").

We all survived the heat, except for an unfortunate episode when my sister inhaled a bit of chili oil and coughed for several minutes.

Anyway, I wanted to report that an all-"round-eyes" party can get the "real thing" with minimal effort. Thanks again to chowhound for discovering and supporting this hidden gem.

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