I eat a lot. I often eat late at night. Thus it is time to talk about the best import since coffee…take-out!
There are three different Chinese fast food places I want to talk about.
675 East 2100 South #C
The first is Sampan at their Sugar House location. Sampan came highly recommended. As I recall their delivery was quick. Plus the kid at the door was very friendly and didn’t complain about being paid half in cash, half in check. The food was okay, but not much better than Panda Express. Considering the price range, the recommendation, the delivery and the food, Sampan ranks last. You can expect to pay between $10 and $15 a person for soup, egg rolls, rice and an entree each. Honestly what rankles most is the price. If Sampan were half the cost, I would have twice the love.
THE DRAGON DINER
1331 East 3900 South
The second place we tried take out from was the Dragon Diner in Holladay. This was by far and away my favorite take out. I called at 9:59 p.m. on a Saturday night. They close at 10. The girl on the phone took my order. By 10:45 I had a hot delicious bag of deep fried wonder in my hands. The price is right, too. For about $7 a person you get soup, egg rolls, rice and an entree. The food was very good with lots of vegetables and great flavor. I tried the moo goo gai pan, beef and broccoli and sesame chicken. The sesame chicken was my favorite, but the veggies in the moo goo were cooked to a perfect crispy tender state. They didn’t skimp on the broccoli with the beef. I want to order from this place again.
255 East 400 South
Charlie Chow’s Dragon Grill in Downtown was the third Chinese place we ordered take out from. The boy on the other end of the line was very friendly and helpful. He recommended the imperial chicken. For about $9 a person you get soup, rice, spring rolls and an entree each. I had the hot and sour soup, the imperial chicken, the orange peel chicken and the sweet and sour chicken.
For the appetizers, I found the soup to be below my expectations. I’ve had better and the emphasis was on heat rather than a balance of sour and heat. The spring rolls were dry and seemed a little overcooked. The rice was surprisingly good after the drought of the soup and rolls. Charlie Chow’s ham fried rice was easily the best dish of the night.
The entrees seemed to be influenced by an emphasis on spice rather than flavor. The imperial chicken was very heavy on the ginger (pickled, from the flavor). The orange chicken suffered the same fate of over-spiciness. The chicken had great flavor, but after three bites I could only feel the spice in my throat. The sweet and sour chicken was my favorite. The chicken is breaded and cooked separately, the sweet and sour served on the side.
The delivery guy was abrupt, but on time. I will order Charlie Chow’s again, if the Dragon Diner goes out of business.