Category Archives: Chinese food

Eat an egg roll, help a cause

Hungry for some Chinese food? If you print and download this flyer and take it to the Panda Express at 2760 N. Maize Road between 11 a.m and 8 p.m. on Nov. 7, the restaurant will donate 20 percent of your purchase to Starkey, an organization that helps mentally disabled people achieve independence.

I’ve noticed several restaurants, including Chipotle, Il Vicino, Panda Express, Baskin Robbins and more, are participating frequently in fundraisers such as this one. Has your organization or school ever participated in one? Did it raise a lot of money? Talk to me.

Question of the week: Best Chinese buffet

A photo for the memory book: The fabulous fried section from the Kwan Court buffet.

In just about four weeks, Kwan Court will be no more. The restaurant at 1443 N. Rock Road is closing after 21 years, plagued by financial troubles. (You can read my farewell story here.)

When it goes, Kwan Court will take with it what has been in my opinion Wichita’s best Chinese buffet — one that, even through ownership changes, has always emphasized quality over quantity. (Though there was always plenty to choose from.)

This week’s question: Where else in Wichita can Chinese fans find a decent Chinese buffet? If you know of one, name it in the comments section below, and tell us why it’s worth checking out.

Wanted: Kwan Court memories

On Sept. 18, Kwan Court at 1443 N. Rock Road will close after 21 years in business. I do not approve of this message.

I’m going to miss it terribly. Though I haven’t visited there as much as I should have over the past several years, it was one of my favorite places during my first decade in Wichita. It served good sushi, and its Chinese buffet was certainly Wichita’s best and most high quality.

Any other Kwan Court fans out there mourning? Share your memories and thoughts in the comments section below. I’m writing a story about the closing for Friday’s paper, and I’d love to share some insights from other longtime fans. Be sure to leave your name. Or if you’d rather e-mail me your thoughts, just click here.

Question of the week: Best Chinese carryout

Wichita just got a new Panda Express — right down Maize Road from the already popular Pei Wei.

Both serve Chinese food fast, as does Great Wall and any number of other home-owned Chinese places.

The question of the week: What’s your favorite place to grab some quick Chinese carryout? What’s your favorite dish from your favorite place?

I’ll throw in my vote: There’s almost nothing better than Great Wall’s won ton soup with a crab Rangoon on the side for good measure. I’m also a big fan of their chicken fried rice, which is spiked with ginormous hunks of onion. Yum.

Give me your nominees in the comments section below.

Wichita’s second Panda Express open out west

West-side Wichitans now have a tough decision to make when they want fast Chinese food: Pei Wei or Panda Express.

A new west-side Panda Express, Wichita’s second, opened last weekend at 2760 N. Maize Road (316-722-4649), just down the street from the popular Pei Wei.

Wichita’s other Panda Express opened last summer at 11787 E. Kellogg Drive, and I reviewed it last July.

Kwan Court’s sushi bar is sake-free… for now

Kwan Court's famous buffet.

Don’t count on having sake with you sushi or Cabernet with your crab Rangoon at Kwan Court.

The restaurant at 1443 N. Rock Road let its liquor license lapse accidentally,  said an employee at the restaurant, which has been dry for about three weeks now. She said that the restaurant hopes to have everything straightened out and the license renewed within two weeks.

I’ll drink to that.

Zen Vegetarian adding meat, changing name

Two years after opening as one of Wichita’s first meat-free restaurants, Zen Vegetarian Cuisine at 3101 N. Rock Road is changing its approach — and its name.

Starting on May 1, Zen will be known as Oh Yeah China Bistro and will add meat dishes to its menu. Owner Shu Tsao, who previously operated Chinatown out of the space before remodeling it and adopting a Chinese vegetarian menu.

Tsao bought out her partner, Alan Hsu, so her daughter will move to Wichita from Houston to help manage the restaurant. Her husband, Robert Liao, will remain in the kitchen.

There just weren’t enough customers to support the business, said Tsao, who is a vegetarian. “It’s just not big enough,” she said of the vegetarian community in Wichita. “But they said, ‘We’ll still come if you keep our favorite dishes.’”

Tsao says she will keep many of Zen’s most popular meat-free dishes on the menu but will add back more traditional, sweet-and-sour-chicken type dishes plus Korean, Thai and Vietnamese fare.

Tsao also will add beer and wine to her offerings and will deliver within a four-mile radius of the restaurant.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-425-7700.

Lunch and din din at Din Din

Combo 2, featuring pork fried rice, two egg rolls and a little salad

I stopped by yesterday to check out Din Din Gourmet Asian Carryout, a new restaurant at 717 N. Waco that opened just a few days ago. In fact, it’s so new, its owners technically consider themselves still working on a “soft opening,” which in the restaurant biz means they’re quietly open but sort of “practicing.”

I ordered one of Din Din’s combos, which range in price from $4.99 to $9.99. Mine, featuring pork fried rice (shrimp and chicken also were available), two egg rolls and a salad, was $5.99.

My lunch was good. My only complaints — the menu is pretty limited (besides fried rice combos, the only other items offered are chicken wings, fried shrimp and crab rangoon), and Din Din is the sort of place with an overpowering aroma of deep friedness in the air, which instantly attaches itself to one’s clothes and hair.

Din Din dine-in is an option, but there’s only one table. Call ahead orders can be placed at 316-425-1886. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

I had my Chinese Christmas, sorta

The whole gang on Christmas Day at Saigon.

The whole gang on Christmas Day at Saigon.

I’m lucky I have a family that’s so willing to go along with my food whims.

Just before Christmas, I wrote a little essay for the Go! section about the joy of eating out at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day. My inspiration, of course, comes 100 percent from “A Christmas Story,” — specifically the scene at the Chop Suey Palace.

I cooked a nice dinner of molcajetes (a recipe The Eagle secured years ago from now-closed Mexican restaurant El Torero) for my family on Christmas Eve, and in exchange, they agreed to eat out on Christmas Day. We debated our options and ultimately decided on Saigon 1103 N. Broadway. True, it’s a Vietnamese restaurant, but it SERVES Chinese food. And several of my family members ordered it.

My BFF Jaime Green caught the image above during our festive feast, which included a nice Vietnamese appetizer plate sent over by owner Hanh Bui.

I’m at the end of the table on the left, not looking at the camera because I was so entranced by the WHOLE FRIED CATFISH my nephew Cody ordered.

Merry Chinese Christmas!

‘All is right with the world’

chopsueypalaceThe movie “A Christmas Story” has so many fabulous scenes, from the frozen tongue-on- a-pole to the arrival of the cherished and very “fra-gee-lay” leg lamp.
But as a food fan, my favorite scene is at the end of the movie, when the family — whose much anticipated Christmas turkey has been devoured by dogs — has its holiday meal at the local Chop Suey Palace.

Serenaded by the staff in broken English, they laugh, snort and dine on roast duck — squealing when the manager whacks off its head.

“That Christmas will live in our memories as the Christmas we were introduced to Chinese turkey,” the narrator says. “All was right with the world.”

That scene has always made me want to go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day, and a few years ago, I made it happen.

To accommodate various schedules, my family had agreed to celebrate Christmas at my house on Dec. 26, which meant that on Dec. 25, we had no dinner plans.

A big group of us giddily caravanned to Lee’s, a Chop Suey Palace-esque restaurant at 6215 W. Kellogg.

It wasn’t just any Chinese restaurant meal we enjoyed that night. The cashew chicken tasted special, and all the diners in the restaurant felt like they were part of an exclusive Christmas club. The people at the next table laughed and sang along when we broke into a version of “Deck the Halls” inspired by that scene in “A Christmas Story.”

Schedules are such again this year that it looks like the Neil clan will be able to make another visit to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day.
All is right with the world.

Follow this link for a reminder of some of the restaurants open and serving on Christmas Day. (They’re not all Chinese.)