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?

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.

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.