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Restaurants & Bars

Triangle Chinese: More on Eastern Lights

David A. | Aug 28, 200311:44 AM

The wife and I beat a line to Eastern Lights. The menu is largely Americanized, but the chef clearly has a basic idea of what it means to cook Chinese food, which is more than can be said for most the jokers around here. What's more, the dishes are huge, meaning that less food needs to be ordered. Two could dine amply for $20 or $25. I don't want to rush to judgment, but preliminarily I would say that this is the best, or at least potentially the best, Chinese restaurant in the area.

Ordering our entrees off the "Chinese menu," we had:

Hot and Sour soup: very good. Light and subtly flavoured. No MSG broth, this.

Potstickers: excellent by any standard. Saleable even in Taiwan. Clearly homemade. I would return merely to eat potstickers.

"Mandarin Chicken": this verged dangerously into General Tso territory, but it wasn't as bad as it might have been. The sauce was less cloying and the chicken less heavily battered than the standard buffet versions. We had no idea what we were ordering: clearly a mistake, but not a tragic mistake. I ate the remainders pretty happily for breakfast this morning.

Hongshao tofu: a fine light flavorful dish of fried tofu and mixed vegetables. The tofu was clearly not of the frozen variety, but fresh and fried on the premises. Again, excellent.

I'm not sure that Eastern Lights is going to recall meals in Chinatown and certainly it's not going to recall meals in Asia, but I suspect, given a fair trial, it would beat the local competition pretty consistently.

Apparently they make homemade noodles -- these I didn't try.

David A.

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