Monday, July 18, 2011

A Gigantic Dinner At Golden China

On a dull Sunday evening, my friend and I found ourselves having an intense craving for some greasy Chinese food, so we headed back to one of our new favorite Vegan-friendly Chinese restaurants, Golden China in Culver City. The restaurant was fairly empty as we scanned over the Vegetarian menu and contemplated what to order. While we decided, we sipped some complimentary hot tea and ice water.

First, we had some egg rolls ($5), ironically the only appetizer that is Vegan and yet tastes very eggy.

The egg rolls are perfectly deep-fried and so crispy. The vegetables inside are soft and have a light seasoning. The appetizer is salted very well, providing a great contrast with the succulent accompanying plum sauce. The rolls are so large and quite filling.

Next, we had the hot and sour soup ($6.55), which is definitely one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Similar to the egg rolls, the portion of this dish is immense and is super sized in comparison to portions at other Chinese restaurants.

The soup was very flavorful and moderately spiced. It was very chunky and loaded with soft, luscious tofu chunks and a delicate assortment of Chinese vegetables. There was a hint of soy sauce and a slight sweetness to the soup that made it distinct from hot and sour soups I've enjoyed in the past.

Next, our entrees came out. The first I tried was some Vegetable Fried Rice, sans the egg ($8).

The rice was very soft and slightly chewy with an overpowering salty flavor. The vegetables were so soft and delicate, they crumbled in my mouth almost immediately. There was a distinct taste of soy sauce so reminiscent of Chinese food. The seasonings were so good that I did not notice the lack of egg that normally dominates this dish. 

I then tried the faux Kung Pao Chicken ($11).

The faux meat was slightly chewy, with a very slight spongy texture. Nevertheless, it resembled real meat quite well in its consistency. There was a savory, salty coating of a mildy spiced beany soy sauce that was very delicious. The stir fried veggies were soft and delicate to contrast the very crunchy peanut pieces, generously interspersed throughout the dish.

Lastly, I had the faux Orange Duck ($12).

The faux duck had a more chewy texture than the soy chicken. It was also chunkier and way more dense. There was a fantastic glaze of a tangy orange sauce that was very sweet. The vegetables were very well-cooked and sopped up the sauce perfectly. The water chestnuts added a great crunchiness to the dish, which was a great compliment to the faux duck. There was also an intense spice from the scallions and chili peppers that contrasted the sweetness of the sauce very well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. It was truly a feast of some of my favorite traditional Chinese dishes and they were all so flavorful. I love that the food is not too oily and even better, does not contain any MSG. While I would definitely not call this food healthy, it is definitely a step up from the grease laden food so prevalent at most Chinese restaurants. With the $25 gift certificate we used, we only spent $18 a person, which included drinks, tax and tip. Not bad for such an amazing array of food!

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