Saturday, July 2, 2011

PeiWei Asian Diner – Eden Prairie, MN

Having just returned from China (an exchange program trip related to my MBA program), I thought I’d do some comparisons of things I ate while I was in China and things that American people call Chinese. For some reason, I thought of PeiWei when I was ordering food in China at a random point. PeiWei is the only place I’ve ever heard of Dan Dan Noodles (pronounced with an “o” sounds instead of an “a” – like Don Don Noodles) before coming to China. So I ordered them in China to see what I’d get. Thankfully, I really liked it.

I don’t know why I remembered PeiWei had Dan Dan Noodles, but I guess I had seen it on the menu at some point. So I went to PeiWei and ordered some to bring back to work with me. What’s surprising is that when I got back to the office, I opened up the takeaway container and saw something that looked pretty close to what I got while in China. The chicken in China was cut into larger pieces, but otherwise, it looked pretty close, even with the cucumber on the side.

The menu says Dan Dan Noodles are noodles with Chile-seared soy sauce, minced chicken, scallions, garlic, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and egg noodles. So yeah, they got that right. Sadly, it looked better than it tasted. The sauce was what sort of ruined it for me. I’m not sure what ELSE was in here, besides what they listed, but it was considerably more gelatinous than just thickened soy sauce. I was happy to see if had the same grease factor as what I was eating in China, but the fact that the gel sauce that it was in stuck to everything it touched didn’t thrill me. The minced chicken tasted fine, so that was good – no gristly bits UNLIKE what I got in China – hahahaha. The cucumber slices and bean sprouts were a fun accompaniment to this dish as well.

The dish is pretty filling. I feel like the order I got at PeiWei was much larger than what I got in China, but I thin that’s a pretty common difference between the gargantuan-portion USA and the non-eating-disorder-rest-of-the-world. No complaints on the portioning, now that I’m back in the US of A, but if a Chinese family came her and (for some unknown reason) decided to eat at PeiWei, a family of three could likely get full on this amount of food.

Overall, just an ok lunch. The sauce really turned me off of the Dan Dan Noodles. I’ve gotten better things here before in the past, so I’ll probably be back – especially since it’s right down the street from my office. I don’t even have to take the gong gong chee chir (which means bus in Chinese) (it’s also REALLY fun to say over and over or come up with super-honkey-rap-songs with).

For those that don’t know, I understand PeiWei is the more casual atmosphere dining establishment owned by P.F.Chang’s. Chang’s is much more pricey and upscale, and the food is also a notch or two higher quality than PeiWei. That isn’t to say it’s more authentic Chinese – it’s just higher caliber of cooking and menu selection.

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