Category Archives: Chinese food

Last chance for Chinese: Two long timers closing

Farewell, Golden House. Photo by Julie Mah.

Farewell, Golden House. Photo by Julie Mah.

Fans of Chinese food in Wichita are running out of time to eat at two old favorites.

Golden House, a carryout Chinese spot at 504 S. Broadway that’s long been a favorite of downtown workers (including many at the Wichita Eagle) is closing at the end of the day on Saturday. It’s been in business for 16 years, but the owners are retiring and moving to Atlanta. A Sonic will open on the property by the end of the year.

Also, Yen Ching — which was my favorite Chinese restaurant when I first moved to Wichita — also is closing after 30 years at 430 N. Rock Road. The lease is up on the space, and the landlord has decided to give it to Qdoba Mexican Grill. Owners aren’t exactly sure when the restaurant’s last day will be and say it depends on how quickly the stock runs out. It’ll at least be open through Sunday, Mother’s Day, but will close sometime between Monday and May 18.

The closings bring to mind a question someone recently asked me. Where should Wichitans go these days if they want a nice, sit-down Chinese meal and don’t want a chain like Pei Wei?

That’s a hard one to answer. Kwan Court is gone, and Yen Ching soon will be, too. That leaves Wichita with mostly fast-Chinese places such as Great Wall or an array of super buffet restaurants.

My picks are Oh Yeah! China Bistro at 3101 N. Rock Road, which has a nice interior and good food. I also like the retro feel of both Lee’s at 6215 W. Kellogg and Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca, and the food is decent at both.

Where do you go for sit-down Chinese food?

Now open: Jade Garden Cafe

Jade Garden Cafe is the newest tenant in the building at 206 E. Kellogg that’s recently housed Cathy’s Diner, Lili Mae’s and R&S BBQ.

The restaurant, which is visible from Kellogg, opened last week and is owned by Kwai Tam. He’s serving breakfast such as pancakes, waffles and omelets plus Chinese specialties for lunch and dinner. You can see the full menu here.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-265-8806.

Reader recommendations: I take them seriously

Readers often write in to tell me how awful a given restaurant they tried was. But it’s more rare when they write in to say how fabulous one was.

When they do, I take it seriously.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve received three such reader endorsements.

The first comes from a reader named Steve, who raved about Yellow River Restaurant, a small Chinese restaurant at 328 E Pawnee. It’s in the corner of a little strip center, and according to Steve, is run by an elderly couple originally from China. The moo goo gai pan is great, says Steve, who used to live in southern California and knows good Asian food.

Yellow River is open from 11 am. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-267-7030.

Jim Hull e-mailed me and encouraged me to “whiz your sweet little self right down to D’Cruz, at 2716 E. Central.”  He and his wife Judy recently sampled the food at the teeny tiny restaurant, which includes items such as carne asada tacos, burritos and more. The owner was nice, and even though service was’t speedy, it was worth the wait, he said. The restaurant is a year old and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Also, I heard this morning from Ryan, who suggested I write a story about Clifton Square’s Fresh Roast Coffee Company, a little hut that serves up some seriously strong brew. “It’s a tiny little shop, but makes very good coffee, as well as flavored drinks and such,” Ryan said. “The owner learned roasting from Alfred Peet, of Peet’s Coffee fame in California (and elsewhere). He is also a unique and funny guy, and roasts his own coffee on-site with a very expensive roaster which takes up half the shop almost.”

Of the three suggestions, Fresh Roast Coffee is the only one I’ve visited, and that is some strong brew. It was a bit much for me, but I have plenty of coffee friends who would find it just right.

It’s at 3700 E. Douglas and is open from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call  316-778-0846.

Yen Ching is closed — but just for a while

I heard yesterday from a concerned reader, who noted that longtime Chinese restaurant Yen Ching at 430 N. Rock Road  has looked fairly deserted for several days now. She feared the worse for the restaurant known for its sizzling rice soup.

So I stopped by this morning and am happy to report that the owners are just on a little vacation. Yen Ching will reopen on May 10.

Dragon City open — but with a different name than it planned

Originally, Zhiyong Liu planned to call his new Chinese restaurant at 3008 W. Central Beijing.

But there’s already a Beijing in town, he discovered, so he decided to call the new restaurant Dragon City.

Liu, whose brother is Great Wall founder Benny Liu, opened Dragon City in the former Lexi’s Restaurant and Bar/Maharaja space a little more than a week ago.

It offers Great Wall-esque Chinese dishes available for both dine-in and carryout. You can see the menu here.

Dragon City’s hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

For information or to place a carryout order, call 316-941-9966.

Chosen Wok opens Monday

Chosen Wok, a Great Bend-based fast Chinese restaurant, will open its new Wichita location on Monday in the old Starbucks building at 8971 W. Central. (If it can’t be a Starbucks, I’m glad it’s at least going to be something potentially good.)

Owners Michelle Chin and William Tsao will serve Chinese food prepared in a wok in open view of the dining room. I have a copy of the menu here. It includes a list of standard Chinese dishes made with chicken, shrimp, beef and vegetables.

Hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s phone number will be 316-721-3888.

What Chinese food is most like Albert’s?

This photo from the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Society shows Albert's in 1954,

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had two unrelated people ask me the same question — and I don’t have the answer. I’m wondering if you can help.

Both people were fans of Albert’s, the Chinese restaurant at 6425 E. Kellogg that operated in Wichita for 54 years but closed for good in the summer of 2001. They both wanted to know which local Chinese restaurant served food most comparable to Albert’s.

I didn’t move to Wichita until late 1997, and although I remember seeing Albert’s often, I never made it there. So even though I have a good handle on the Chinese food scene in Wichita, I couldn’t say whose food is most similar. I do know that people who went to Albert’s back in the day are split. Some say it had the best food ever, no doubt influenced by several tablespoons of nostalgia. Others say the food was not exactly great and that those who think it was are influenced by several tablespoons of nostalgia.

Anyone have thoughts on this? And can you help me come up with an answer for these mourning Albert’s fans?

By the way, if you’re interested, keep reading. I’m posting Dan Voorhis’ story that was published when Albert’s closed in 2001.

Read More »

Now open: Fusa Fusion Cuisine…plus

Apparently, all the restaurants in town chose to finally open while I was gone.

Fusa Fusion Cusine, which closed in Towne East Square in April, reopened on Dec. 19 at 303 S. Greenwich Road.

Customers who visit will notice two other names on the front of the building in addition to Fusa: Chill Gelato and Red 8.

Owner Yolinda Diec has modeled the new restaurant as a sort of 3-in-1 thing, describing it as a “mini food court.” Customers can order “fusion” items, such as the restaurant’s famous honey walnut chicken, noodle dishes, quesadillas and even burgers, from the Fusa menu. They then sit down and wait for the food to be delivered.

The Red 8 section of the restaurant allows customers to view several prepared Chinese specialties, order up exactly what they want, and take it immediately to the table to enjoy. A gelato counter also is available.

Fusa is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 316-618-1818.

Discount day at Pei Wei

STOP!!!!! Before you head to Pei Wei for lunch today (or tomorrow), grab a can. Diners who bring a non-perishable food item to Pei Wei anytime today or tomorrow, Dec. 7, will get 25 percent off one entree.

All proceeds will be donated to a local food bank.

Wichita’s Pei Wei is at 2441 N. Maize Rd in New Market Square. For more information, call 316-729-7285.

By the way, if you’re new to Pei Wei, I’d recommend the Mandarin Kung Pao with chicken, shown here, or the Thai coconut curry with shrimp.

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Even better than a BB gun

LOOK WHAT I FOUND AT WALGREENS!!! LOOK!!! LOOK!!!!!!!!!!

Those who know me know that I judge all Chinese restaurants against the Chop Suey Palace, the restaurant visited by the family in the movie “A Christmas Story” after neighborhood dogs devour their Christmas turkey.

I love that scene in the movie because it captures a feeling I’ve always loved: Being in a restaurant with your best friends or closest family members, laughing and eating good food. If you have the place to yourself, all the better.

Any Christmas that I have the opportunity, I always cajole my family into going to an Asian restaurant with me as part of my endless quest to create that Chop Suey Palace feeling.

It's a pretty good recreation, in my opinion.

So I’m sure you can imagine the squeal I let out in Walgreens on Saturday when I stumbled across the gem you see above. It was only $12.99. It’s now displayed in my kitchen, set on a timer, and admired every few minutes.

For the record, my honorary Chop Suey Palace awards in Wichita go to Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca and Lee’s at 6215 W. Kellogg. My annual list of restaurants open on Christmas, which always includes lots of Chinese options, is set to be published on Friday, Dec. 23.