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Entries Tagged as 'Cantonese Cuisine'

Chef Danny Ting: Coco’s Chinese

So guess what? I found Chef Danny Ting!!! The slippery-as-Peter-Cheng chef came full circle and ended up where he started from: Wan Lai. I’m guessing his stint at BoBo was aimed at having a better opportunity; and his briefer stint at Golden House was all about fame and success. After all the politics have died down, he’s back to his roots and will start what he set out to do from the very beginning: cook. Where is he now? Coco’s Chinese.

Coco's Chinese Restaurant

The original Coco’s replaced Wan Lai after it closed. Opened on October of 2010, it stayed afloat for one year closing in exactly one year on October 2011. It reopened on January 20, 2012 and the savvy owners kept the name and the sign, I’m thinking, to save money. While the old Coco’s specialized in Fuzhou cuisine, the new Coco’s under the helm of Chef Danny, specializes in what he does best — Cantonese food. The menu is the exact replica of Wan Lai, BoBo Garden, and Golden House, except tinier. A lot tinier. The dishes are also a lot cheaper. I’m not gonna go through great lengths about the food. The food is as fantastic as ever. And, tastes just like when he was at the other three places.

Coco's Chinese Restaurant
Beef Tripe and Tendon: fork-tender meat and amazing savory sauce with a just a hint of five-spice powder

Coco's Chinese Restaurant
Spicy Pork in Garlic Sauce: this Cantonese style dish differs from its Sichuan cousin in that it is a tad sweeter and the sauce is thicker

Coco's Chinese Restaurant
No one does Salted Crispy Shrimp better than Chef Danny. No one.

There’s one tip I want to share, however. Go at lunch. Lunch combos cost $5.50 and comes with soup, egg roll, and rice. And while this deal sounds just like at any other Chinese places, the difference is that the portions you get are almost as big as the dinner ones. The pictures above are lunch portions. So… get two or three combos like I do so you can sample a bunch in one sitting.

I am so happy that Chef Danny finally came to his senses and decided to lay low and start cooking again. I hope he stays here longer than anywhere he’s ever been. Now don’t complain when he finally leaves again and you never had a chance because you were always meaning to go one day. There is no excuse. Go NOW.

Pictures of the menu are on my Flickr.

Coco’s Chinese Restaurant

4897 Buford Highway, Suite 104
Chamblee, GA 30341
(404) 555-1212

Coco's Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Mr. BoBo: Golden House

Golden House (Duluth)

The illustrious chef, Mr. BoBo, (as I fondly call him) also known as Chef Danny Ting, has moved again. First Wan Lai. Then Bo Bo Garden. Now, Golden House. Mr. BoBo is a star chef among the Chinese. He’s like the Linton Hopkins of Cantonese cuisine and the talented version of Peter Chang minus the “wide-eyed” groupies and the New York Times. I was told he’s been around since the early 80s, starting at the very first Chinese restaurant in Atlanta. His new venture — yes, he has a financial stake — Golden House, is aimed to be the best Cantonese restaurant in the south.

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Mr. BoBo went all out in creating his restaurant. Not only is the place humongous, it is grandiose. It is an exact replica of a fancy Chinese hotel restaurant, complete with the 95% Chinese clientele, 5% tourists, an army of servers, bowed chair covers, round linen-topped tables, huge chandeliers, red carpet, and fountains everywhere. As my eating buddy said, “Wow, it feels like we’re in China!” Its grand opening was held on September 10th. A momentous date. It coincides with the Chinese Mooncake Festival. It was also a Chinese public holiday.

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)

Golden House (Duluth)
my favorite mooncake (served during grand opening): with salted duck egg in the middle

The menu — and the food — is an exact replica of Wan Lai and Bo Bo Garden with one exception: dimsum on weekends in the coming weeks ahead. I have visited twice since its grand opening and Mr. BoBo’s food is as exceptional as ever. You can read more about his food here and here.

Go now and taste real Cantonese cooking from a highly-experienced, brilliant chef. Trust me, it’s worth the drive.

P.S. FnS was also there during opening day. You can read his impression here.

Golden House
1600 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 921-2228

Golden House on Urbanspoon

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Bo Bo Garden

Late to the game but nevertheless… I wasn’t really planning on writing about BoBo — every single person in Atlanta has been to it and written about it. It’s still my favorite haunt for over two years now. I’ve been going a lot more lately especially for late night dining, and, before things get shaken up a bit once more, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what I’ve been eating here when most everyone is asleep.

Bo Bo Garden

Bo Bo Garden

Bo Bo Garden

Bo Bo Garden

Bo Bo Garden

BoBo’s chef is one of the most pedigreed Chinese chefs in the city. He’s been around for decades and headed the kitchen of one of the first Chinese restaurants in Atlanta. His famous work was seen at Wan Lai and after leaving there, moved to take up residence at BoBo. That’s partly why I also never wrote about this place; it’s because the food was exactly the same as Wan Lai. His signature dishes remain the same, too. I absolutely love his Crispy Fried Chicken. Garlicky, crispy, tasty. The dry-fried Beef Chow Fun is smoky with a tiny hint of sweet, it’s perfect. The Three Dumpling Soup has this amazing clean, flavorful broth that spells comfort in every single way. Of course, you cannot miss the hot casseroles. They take 20 minutes to prepare but they are so worth the wait.

Bo Bo Garden

What I’ve really been eating lately aren’t the mainstream dishes. This isn’t the place to get slutty Chinese. This place is where Chinese elders go to get a taste of home. Just take note that such elders eat late… like around 11PM so it’s quite common to see the place packed around this time of night. A great alternative to the popular dumpling soup is the Beef and Cilantro soup. The light broth has tender pieces of beef and specks of cilantro with the cilantro lending just a slight taste of green but not enough to overpower the soup. Love it.

Bo Bo Garden

Beef Intestines. Warning, not for the squeamish. Why? Because for the uninitiated there’s that teeny, tiny off-putting smell and texture. Don’t worry, they’re all erased by the fantastic taste. So savory. So tender. So delicious.

Bo Bo Garden

Deep-fried Sea Bass. The very light coating of corn starch right before frying gives this dish the crisp. It’s topped with julienned garlic and scallions and drizzled with sesame oil-soy sauce. A very common Chinese dish. They do it here right.

Bo Bo Garden

Beef with Bittermelon. Another dish not for the faint of heart. Think collard greens except way more bitter. And crunchier. There is a trick to get the bitterness out of these veggies but what’s the point, right? People want to taste the real flavor of the veggies, not dumb them down! Worry not, the flavors are so balanced, you’ll welcome the hint of bitterness in the black bean sauce. Mm, really good.

Bo Bo Garden

Spare ribs (read: pork) are so delicious in every which way. Yum. Yum. Yum.

So you say you miss Wan Lai? Come to Bo Bo. For the exact same food you were used to.

Bo Bo Garden
5181 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30340
(678) 547-1881

Bo Bo Garden on Urbanspoon

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Best Chang Fen: EeRecipe Rice Crepes House (Duluth)

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

I’ve always known those steamed, wide, rice noodles filled with shrimp found in dim sum as chang fen. It’s actually a bastardized (read: Americanized or pinyin) way of saying the real Cantonese term which is cheong fun (similar to chow fun). In any case, if you’ve had dim sum then I’m sure you’ve seen them. Chang fen houses are very common in Hongkong — a wide a variety of chang fen is eaten for breakfast, snack, and of course, dim sum.

I have never really liked any of the chang fen in the US as I find them thicker and stiffer than they ought to be. Real, authentic chang fen (my preference) should be smooth, silky, not sticky, and paper thin. Almost like ribbons of rice sheets. They should slide very easily when picked up with chopsticks and impossible to eat with a spoon. A month ago, a Chinese family friend told us about a chang fen house that opened in Duluth: EeRecipe on North Berkeley Lake in the same plaza as Well Bean Tofu.

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

Family-owned by Malaysian-Cantonese, EeRecipe puts out the best chang fen I’ve tasted outside of Hongkong. They make the authentic flat, ultra-wide, super thin noodles fresh, by hand, everyday. There are 9 kinds on the menu including the traditional shrimp, Chinese sausage/cilantro, BBQ pork, to name a few. My favorite is the EEeRecipe Rolls which come filled with savory, assorted dried meat and veggies. The filling is pressed onto the noodles instead of loosely inserted in the middle so you get a taste of the minced meat and veggies on every single bite. Topped with fried, crunchy onions and garlic and served with a soy-sesame seed oil sauce and a side of shrimp paste and pickled long green peppers, this is the best on the menu. And the best in the city. At $3.77, it’s also the best for your money. While all the chang fen here are really very good, if there’s one thing you MUST try here, it’s the EeRecipe Rolls.

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

With three visits under my belt, I’ve eaten the entire menu. Another must try here are the soups. The Rice Crepes Chicken Soup will knock your socks off. The clear chicken broth is absolutely fantastic with its boiled-for-hours taste. A big metal bowl filled with strips of rolled chang fen, fish balls, a large amount of coarsely chopped chicken, bean sprouts, and crispy-fried minced garlic is comfort food at its best. Delicious is an understatement.

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

Other notables here are the Fried Dumplings (fried to perfection with very flavorful filling of minced pork and veggies), Chicken Wings (flavorful all the way to the bones), and the Fried House Special Rice Crepes (char kway teow) which is a dish of stir-fried chang fen, eggs, tofu, scallions, and bean sprouts.

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

EeRecipe Rice Crepes House

Oh, and if you must have something sweet after a meal, both of the rolls in their Sweetie Rolls section of the menu are worth a try. Chang fen is either filled with syrupy yet not cloyingly sweet fillings such as banana/corn and peanut/sesame. Both are good.

So head on out make the trek if you want to know what authentic chang fen tastes like. The 30-minute drive from ITP is far quicker and shorter than the 18-hour flight you have to endure to get to Hongkong.

EERecipe Rice Crepes House
2645 N. Berkeley Lake Rd. Suite 129
Duluth, GA 30096
770-497-3393
Closed on Mondays
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11AM-9:00PM

EERecipe Rice Crepes House on Urbanspoon

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Newsflash: Hong Kong House

Verdict: RUN, don’t walk. And. Get. There. NOW!!!

Hong Kong House
Chinese Elvis. Better than the King himself. He provides live entertainment nightly.

Family friends invited us to the grand opening on July 3rd. But I was in Sanibel at the time. Talks of real, authentic Cantonese cooking circulated and wouldn’t die down — with the chef coming from the Guangdong province and apparently a brilliant one to boot, including lengthy stints in Hong Kong under his belt. But then I got a hold of the menu. And felt deflated. Disappointed. With the location being right-smack in the middle of suburbia, I kind of expected it could not sustain a menu worthy of Buford Highway clientele. And the menu was testament to that: all Americanized dishes. Yeah, I’m talking Panda Express Americanized.  The only thing I hoped for was that there was a good chance they had a Chinese menu. You know, the one reserved for the lucky Chinese people.  Written in Chinese. Well, what do you know… they don’t.

Hong Kong House
Can you read (computerized) Chinese? These are part of what we ordered.

But we still gave it a chance, banking on familiarity with Cantonese cuisine; we knew we can make the chef make dishes we liked to eat in Hong Kong. And boy, did he surprise us. Forget Bo Bo Garden and Wan Lai. This is real Cantonese food. Exceptional is even an understatement. Every single thing we ate was just beyond perfection. Do note, however, that there are no names to these dishes. We basically asked what is fresh that visit, what they had in the kitchen, and gave very loose guidelines as to how they should be prepared.

Hong Kong House

The Pig’s Ears cold dish is a great appetizer. The ears are sliced thinly but big enough to constitute two bites. Tender yet still gelatinous with the requisite chew. The cucumber slices and cilantro provide texture and added background flavor with the soy sauce and sesame seed oil serving as the main yet subtle tastes in the foreground.

Hong Kong House

Quite possibly the best dish of the night. And my favorite: Giant Clam. Served in its shell. The meat was sliced into tender pieces then stir-fried in XO Sauce. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chef made his sauce from scratch. I’ll remember to ask next time. The Chinese chives provide a tiny hint of sweet that offsets the savory flavor of the sauce. Brilliant. (Tip: mix the accompanying cilantro with the dish for added oomph.)’

Hong Kong House
Soft slices of taro are underneath the duck.

The Duck+Taro was another stellar dish. First, the duck is steamed and then braised. The result is tender pieces of duck with bones crunchy enough to eat. The sauce is infused in every bite. Delicious.

Hong Kong House

The Steamed Flounder is just absolutely divine. The fish was so fresh, buttery, and just melted in the mouth. The ginger-scallion sauce was amazing. In Chinese restaurants, always opt for salt-water fish. They go better with Chinese cooking. For future reference. That’s all.

Hong Kong House

Hong Kong House

Hong Kong House

Other items that were attacked either before I could take pictures or pictures that weren’t as good because it was unbelievably dark in there include a “two-way fish” — a deep-fried Tilapia dish (freshly fished from a tank). The head is used for tofu soup and served along side the crispy fish. It will blow you away. A delicious black bean sauce is used to top the fish. Seriously delicious.

Hong Kong House

The stir-fried Sea Cucumbers were so tender yet still have a slight chew. Bite-sized pieces are laid on top of steamed baby bok choy. The sauce is light and thin. I like this version a lot because this is what I was used to eating.

Hong Kong House

Fresh Manila Clams in dry XO sauce is an excellent finger food. The clams are salty-sweet. You can taste the ocean!

Hong Kong House

The Dry-fried Beef Chow Fun has that addicting smokiness.

The Chinese Fried Chicken is crispier and doesn’t have that cloying five-spice after-taste. The stir-fried Shrimp with Oyster Mushrooms is refreshingly light. The Seafood Hot Pot puts all hot pots to shame. And the Yeung Chow fried rice (a staple in every Cantonese meal) uses sweet barbecue pork. Everything. Is. Fantastic.

Additional notes:The chef has been with the family for decades and used to cook in their old joint in Buford Highway.

Located on the corner of State Bridge Road and 141/Peachtree Pkwy/Medlock Bridge. Inside the plaza where Regal Medlock cinema is. In a free-standing building that used to be a Greek diner that used to be a Mexican place.

All servers speak English. Use this post as your guide as dishes have no names and are not on the menu.

Hong Kong House
5710 State Bridge Rd.,
Johns Creek, GA
30022
678-584-5855
Sunday-Thursday: 11AM-10PMFriday-Saturday: 11AM-11:30PM

More pictures here.

Hong Kong House on Urbanspoon

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