Category Archives: Chinese

We look back at 2015, and way back at Oriental House

We’re just a few days into the New Year, and most of you foodies are probably already tired of reading many versions of the same basic story about all the new restaurants that joined the metro’s culinary community last year. So let’s not do that.

I’d like to tip my fedora to Baby 2016, though, by pulling up for a wider view: Was there any consistent flavor in the boiling, simmering, seething stew of the city’s eats beat in 2015? Continue reading We look back at 2015, and way back at Oriental House

New urbanism, same old Chinese in Norton Commons

There we were, Mary and I, sitting and chatting as we waited for our apps in the comfortably cozy confines of Tea Station Chinese Bistro. We sipped Tsing Tao beers and gazed out at the main drag of Norton Commons, the new subdivision with the old-time look, trying to figure out why this village somehow feels both appealing and a little creepy all at the same time.

Norton Commons was Louisville’s first large venture into the “New Urbanism” (or at least the first since St. James Court was developed in 1887). Hey, New Urbanism is cool! Something new, made to look old, compact and walkable, retro in style, quaint but, um, “safe.”

So what’s not to like?
Continue reading New urbanism, same old Chinese in Norton Commons

We eat 2,000 grains of rice at charming Bentuhua Teahouse

“I like rice,” the late, wacky stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg famously said. “Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2,000 of something.”

This is funny because it’s a presumably true statement about a reality that we’ve probably never considered before, and yanks a laugh out of our bellies before we suddenly come up short with the obvious follow-up: “So what?”
Continue reading We eat 2,000 grains of rice at charming Bentuhua Teahouse

Soup dumplings? Soup in dumplings wins at The Joy Luck

When I was a child, country-style chicken and dumplings wasn’t a thing in my citified family, but I wanted them to be. I would read about dumplings in children’s books and dream of tasting these succulent-sounding goodies.

“You wouldn’t like them,” my mother said, declining to make some for the family table.

Eventually I got to try some, and sure enough, Mom was right as usual. Thick rectangles of flabby dough, floating in chicken stew? Meh.

But that was before most folks in these parts knew of Chinese dumplings. Continue reading Soup dumplings? Soup in dumplings wins at The Joy Luck

Don’t expect ‘authentic,’ but the apps satisfy at PF Chang’s

I love Chinese food, and I’ve loved it since I was a little boy, when the only places you could get it in Louisville were the old Hoe Kow — then at Bowman Field, gone for years — and the sibling eateries House of Chen in Shively and Oriental House in St. Matthews. Only the last remains, and Grandma and Grandpa would probably recognize only part of its 21st century menu.

After all, back in those days when the Beatles and the Stones and Dylan were new, so was Chinese food. Well, not to the Chinese, who’ve been eating it for millennia, but certainly to folks in Louisville who were suspicious. Continue reading Don’t expect ‘authentic,’ but the apps satisfy at PF Chang’s

Tea Station’s simple pleasures warm the heart and tummy

We rolled up to our destination in the gathering darkness, and I found a parking spot at the curb out front. I turned, looked up, and … wow! This looks just like our old neighborhood in New York City! It’s a sturdy, three-story block of brick, not brownstone — visualize Queens, not Greenwich Village — with cozy lights in apartment windows on the upper floors, and busy storefronts opening on the street: a meat market, an Italian gelato shop and a family-run Chinese eatery.
Continue reading Tea Station’s simple pleasures warm the heart and tummy