Cafe Asia nixes lunch — sort of

Cafe Asia, the restaurant tucked away in the corner of Normandie Village at 6546 E. Central that’s popular with fans of Chinese and Malaysian food, has stopped serving lunch — at least in the restaurant.

Owner Yook Gan said she stopped opening the doors for lunch last month, though patrons still can get lunch to-go from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Gan said she’s picked up a strong catering business, which she wants to concentrate on during daytime hours. Dinner still is served from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

For more information or to place lunch orders, call 316-685-8818.

Crossing one more off the list with dinner at Ming’s

Our Halloween crew at Ming's, which earned from me the hard-to-attain "Chop Suey Palace" award.

As I told readers of my live dining chat last week, I have a short list of Wichita restaurants that I desperately want to visit but for whatever reason never have. Interestingly, they’re all Asian.

One is Cafe Asia, which readers go on and on and on about. It’s at  6546 E. Central, in Normandy Center and apparently has some of the best food in town. I’ve also heard good things about Ah-So at 855 S. Oliver, which has been around forever and beckons to me. “Come to Ah-So. Come to Ah-So. Come to Ah-So” OKAY! I WILL! SOON!!!!

Last night, I finally marked one restaurant off my list. I’ve always been intrigued by the retro sign outside of Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca. My friend and I took our children (all of us have “Little House on the Prairie” costumes) to Trick Or Treat Street at Wichita Children’s Theatre late Sunday afternoon and decided afterward that it would be fun to parade into a restaurant, 1800′s style. We were quite the spectacle (the owner asked us if we were Amish), but I digress.

The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere was great. Ming’s is the kind of place that’s been around forever. The decor is outdated in a good way, and the place quickly filled up with regulars on a Sunday night. It had that mystical quality I always look for in a Chinese restaurant in that it reminded me of the Chop Suey Palace from “A Christmas Story.”

I had some almond chicken, which was pretty good, and my little Laura Ingalls had some delicious pork pot stickers and a side of egg drop soup. My hot-and-sour was fabulous, and Kim (a.k.a. Miss Beadle) loved her dish, made with fried shrimp served atop a bed of sauced-up veggies.

We’ll be back. Next time without the costumes.

Question of the week: Best little-known gem

The dining room at the delicious but tiny Manna Wok.

This week’s reader question on my Dining with Denise newsletter comes from Frank, who wonders if I’ve ever tried Cafe Asia at 6546 E. Central. (I haven’t, but according to Frank, I need to change that.)

It got me thinking about all the little-known restaurants I’ve come to love, many based on reader recommendations. Manna Wok at 4865 E. Central comes to mind, as does Malaysia Cafe at 7777 E. 21st St. N.

My question of the week: What’s your favorite little-known restaurant in town? They’re not all Asian. I’ve heard from readers over the years about several teeny tiny Mexican places and underrated burger joints, too.

If you don’t mind your little-known place becoming a bit more well-known, would you mind nominating it in the comments section below?