Monday, January 2, 2012

Tian Jin – Chanhassen, MN

A-Wow and I had a lunch date scheduled with Killsbury Doughboy, but the Doughboy was feeling under the weather. A-Wow and I decided not to go to his favorite restaurant without him, but instead did our usual thing where we find a Chinese buffet and do some damage. We picked Tian Jin, since A-Wow had the afternoon off work and could make the serious drive out to Chanhassen from his office.

It was set back off the road in a small strip club, but there were some cars out front. Always a good sign. We rolled in and were seated right away. We headed up to the buffet. It was a tad confusing because there were already plates on the table – do we use those, or grab the ones at the buffet, like usual? We didn’t know. We went with the ones on the buffet.

There was a fairly small selection of entrees, but what was there looked good. I grabbed as much as I could, but there weren’t any appetizers left after A-Wow went through and heaped his first plate up. I got what I could.

There was black pepper chicken, hot and spicy chicken, lo mein, beef and green beans, General Tso’s chicken, and a couple of soups. The soup was about average with the way-too-thick texture going on tat makes it difficult to slide down your throat – kind of like eating an ostrich egg raw. The other things were quite tasty, though. Really tasty, in fact. The best thing on the buffet was the Mongolian Pork. It had the best flavor of all of them. In fact, I went up and got a ton more.

The second time around, I got more of the same, but I got some cream cheese won tons, since A-Wow had raved about them. For good reason – these are the best cream cheese wontons I’ve had in the Twin Cities. They even beat out Chin Chin in West St. Paul – I didn’t think that could be done. There was a new item on the buffet I had grabbed – Chong King Chicken. I didn’t know that’s what it was until I went up for round three. It was the most bizarre texture and flavor of the day. I thought maybe it was some sort of seafood – it chewed weird, was extra salty, and had a very unique flavor. I won’t say it was bad, but it was VERY odd. Like I said, I had to figure out what it was by going back up to the buffet to read the sign.

Since I had to go up to read the sign, I grabbed another cream cheese wonton and a Chinese donut. The donut was a tad dry, but the cream cheese wonton still was amazing. I’m glad I went back for this one. It finished the meal off nicely.

There is a second (unused) buffet that had food labels on it. I’m assuming they use it for a dinner buffet or some other special buffet. I read some of the labels on the sneeze guard and they were pretty amusing. Some of the tofu ones said “no chemicals” on them – I’m assuming no MSG or other weird man-made things. Just an odd sign.

Overall, the food was quite good. I’m glad we went here. It is much closer to work than I even realized, so it won’t take much to get me to go back there on my lunch break.

Top 5 things about Tian Jin
1. Mongolian Pork
2. Cream Cheese Wonton
3. Black Pepper Chicken
4. General Tso’s Chicken
5. Hot and Spicy Chicken

Bottom 5 things
1. Which plate do you use?
2. Chong King Chicken super weird
3. Green Been Beef was a little overdone
4. Snotty Egg Drop Soup
5. I wonder how large the FULL buffet is


lee said...

is it in a strip mall or a strip club? i didn't see any poles and it sounds much too tasty for a strip club. plus you didn't mention having a bunch of ones.

Anders said...

Was the Chong King chicken flavor weird due to the effects of sichuan peppercorn?

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