A couple weeks ago, my friend and I had a serious craving for Chinese food. It had been so long since I'd eaten Chinese food, as it's so hard to find a good Vegan friendly Chinese restaurant not too far from my house. Luckily, I discovered a restaurant called Golden China, that had a completely separate Vegetarian menu, listed on restaurant.com. While I had never heard of it, a quick internet search provided great reviews and many customers were quite satisfied with their Vegan options. I found myself purchasing the $25 dollar restaurant.com gift certificate and could not contain my excitement to try a new restaurant.
When we arrived at the restaurant in Culver City, it was nearly empty. This seems to be very typical of Asian restaurants, thus I did not worry about the quality of the food. The restaurant had a great vibe and had a traditional decor that made the restaurant seem very authentic.
We were both famished and since the restaurant.com gift certificate required a spending of at least $40, we went a little overboard in ordering. Nevertheless, we had very little leftovers. We began our meal with egg rolls ($5) as an appetizer, which oddly was the only appetizer that was Vegan. All of the other appetizers actually contained egg as an ingredient.
The egg rolls were massive and very delicious. The outside was deep-fried and very crispy. The interior consisted of well-seasoned, delicate vegetables. I love that the egg rolls were served on a bed of lettuce, as it made it seem healthier and the lettuce provided a cooling accompaniment. The egg rolls were also served with a sweet duck sauce, which worked perfectly with the mildly spiced filling.
Next, we had a hot and sour soup ($6.55) made Vegan (it normally contains egg).
The bowl was so large and was poured into two smaller bowls. We were able to get several portions out of this amazing soup. It was very spicy and had a tangy, vinegary flavor. There were soft, chunky pieces of tofu, along with various Chinese vegetables interspersed. The soup reminded me of the beefy version from my childhood and made me feel a little nostalgic, as I slurped it down.
Next, we had three fantastic entrees. First, we had the House Vegetable Pan Fried Noodles on a Sizzling Plate ($12).
This was very good. The vegetables were soft and well cooked, with a light seasoning. The sauce was delicious and seemed to be a combination of soy sauce and garlic sauce. It had a mild spice that was not too overwhelming. The noodles were mostly crunchy, although some were fairly soft and slurpy. There was a great assortment of vegetables, from the chewy pieces of broccoli to the crispy, slightly salty water chestnuts.
Next, we had the Kung Pao Soy Duck ($12).
The Duck was so delicious and was very meaty. It was not overly chewy, but actually replicated the meat quite well. The crunchy cashews and water chestnuts worked perfectly with the soft, delicate chunks of soy meat, providing a slight contrast. The sauce was very spicy and garlicky and had notes of soy sauce. The addition of the chili peppers created much heat in my mouth and I found myself grabbing for my water glass quite often. Fortunately, the waiter kept refilling it and brought us more complimentary tea.
Lastly, we had the Cashew Nuts Soy Chicken ($11).
While I enjoyed all the dishes, this was definitely my favorite. I think it's because it's such a familiar dish for me and I used to order it all the time when I was younger. The soy Chicken had a perfect consistency, matching the texture of Chicken almost to an exact. The sauce was also very scrumptious and had a sweet, tangy flavor, with a hint of garlic and soy sauce. It heavily coated every item in the dish. The stir-fried peppers were beautifully softened and meshed so well with the crunchy cashews.
With the check came a little surprise: a fortune cookie! I checked the ingredients to discover that the fortune cookie did not contain egg and was in fact vegan.
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The restaurant is a little on the pricy side, but the portions are huge. Each dish we had was distinct, yet they all complimented one another very well. I would love to try more of their faux meats, along with the other various sauce options. While we ordered a lot, the restaurant.com gift certificate significantly lowered the bill to around $16 with tax and tip. It was quite a deal for so much food (and some leftovers for lunch the next day). I will definitely be back, hopefully soon.