Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chin Chin Chinese Restaurant – West St. Paul, MN

With the new house in West St. Paul, D.Rough and I now have to completely revamp our “regular” places for eating. Chinese food is sort of a staple and we’ll be sure to have various cravings at odd times of the day or night for it. So we needed to find something close, cheap, and edible. We’d driven by Chin Chin a bunch of times and figured we’d better get in there and try it.

The inside of the place is small. There’s a large menu on the wall behind the counter and one table – used for sitting at while you’re waiting. I’m assuming they do most of their business over the phone and people swing by to pick it up. NOW, we know this. The menu is rather expansive ad also has a couple of things you usually don’t see – that’s a good thing! There’s an interesting mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, and some other dishes thrown in. If you’re curious about what the things look like, they have a couple of small photo albums laying around with actual snapshots of the dishes. Or if you’re ordering online, there’s great photos of most of the dishes. Surprisingly, almost everything they offer looks really delicious, despite only being snapshots of the already cooked things packaged in take-away containers. hahaha

We finally decided on some crab rangoons for an appetizer along with a soft spring roll. I got the Singapore Fried Noodles and D.Rough got the General Tao’s Chicken. I asked for mine a little bit spicier, as well.

The food showed up pretty quickly and we headed home to watch some movies and eat. The crab rangoons were perfectly cooked crispy and were pretty delicious. It’s pretty hard to screw these things up unless you don’t cook them all the way or something, but these were good.
The soft spring rolls were just ok. Not super fresh-tasting and the dipping sauce was basically peanut butter. I’m glad we tried them because now we know, but we’ll probably try a different appetizer next time we go.

I dug into the Singapore Fried Noodles and was pleasantly surprised on a number of counts. First off, this was a super generous portion. The take-away box was stuffed completely full. They spiced up the heat perfectly, so I got a little numbing action without sweating – perfect. Also, from the first glance, you’d assume this thing was full of onions (which I don’t like), but it wasn’t at all. Just a couple, in fact. The curry flavor wasn’t overpowering, but was just right. And lots of shrimp and chicken in here. I really liked this dish. I didn’t come anywhere near eating the whole thing, which is rare for me, but I liked having leftovers.

The General Tao’s chicken is pretty good at most places, although some have done weird things with the sauce. Chin Chin came through really well on the General’s Chicken – in fact, it was one of the best we’ve had. The chicken was quality meat and breaded and fried perfectly. The sauce had some zing to it, but not a ton. And again, the portion size wasn’t conservative at all. D.Rough didn’t finish her’s either and I helped as much as I could. This was the best part of the meal.

We were stuffed after eating all this food, but it was totally worth it. We are really happy to have found a quality Chinese place so close to the new house. We’ll likely be back a lot. There’s a ton of things on the menu we would like to try. Especially the super cheap box lunches they have. These look awesome and are an amazing deal. Just wait till I start working from home…

Top 5 things about Chin Chin
1. General Tao’s Chicken
2. Singapore Fried Noodles
3. Crab Rangoons
4. Expansive menu
5. SUPER close to the new house!

Bottom 5 things
1. No place to eat inside
2. Soft spring rolls were a bit of a let down for me – I’m biased though
3. Some of the photos of food in boxes make a lot of things look identical, maybe put written descriptions in the photo books of ingredients or something.
4. We didn’t order their specialty – the fried cheese puff – next time!!!
5. We didn’t see the party menu until we looked online – you can order a tray of General Tao’s chicken for $40, which feeds 4-6 people. That’s what I’m talking about!!!!


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