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Restaurants & Bars 2

Christmas in chinatown (kind of)

rachel hope | Dec 26, 200112:17 AM

I am in a mixed marriage. My English husband insisted on a British Christmas dinner (complete with a Sussex Pond pudding); and as a good New York Jew I insisted on a Chinese lunch. Mid-afternoon we made our way to Ranch 99 (in Richmond), and were surprised (perhaps foolishly) to find the parking lot more crowded than I have ever before seen it! The line at Daimo was too long, same for Pacific East Seafood (our usual favorite). So instead we tried "Shanghai Gourmet" -- toward the back of the mall. All around us Chinese families were digging into hot pots and luxurious looking trays of soft creamy tofu. Imagine my surprise then when we were handed a menu of General Tso's chicken and sweet-and-sour pork! I know we've been through this before, but I REALLY hate it when this happens. "I know there's another menu," I said to Tim. Looking around, I spied it at another table, asked the waiter to bring it to us, and suddenly ... a completely different kitchen. The food was pretty good, nothing to go out of your way for: yellow fish in hot sauce; sauteed mustard greens with bean curd skins and soy beans; thick scallion pancakes. Everything was a bit too salty. But if the lines are too long at some of the more well-known Ranch 99 establishments, then Shanghai Gourmet is worth visiting. Merry Christmas!

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