Today Phil and I went to Manna Wok for lunch. It is located just to the east of Harry and Oliver, the actual intersection is Harry and Elpyco. This works out great for me since my school is just down the street. If you like eating in a restaurant that would be dwarfed by a single wide mobile home this is your place. The seating area can hold at most 25 people and a simple curtain is all that separates you from the kitchen, where one of the owners is always getting his wok on. The restaurant is owned by a Korean couple who you will see each time you go in. Both are incredibly sweet and appreciative of your business. The absolute best part of this restaurant though (besides the food) is that all of the walls are covered in pictures of people who have eaten here . We are not talking about a wall of famed, overrated celebrities or in Wichita’s case our local news anchors, but actual customers. Stephanie has a picture with her mom and two brothers below the cash register. It is from high school so that should give you an idea of how long we have been eating here. There is also a random collection of books and plants on one side of the restaurant. I have never asked, but you may be able to check the books out and bring them back the next time you’re in the area in case you find a good read while waiting for your freshly made chicken teriyaki(which by the way is groin grabbingly good).
So we admit, Manna Wok is one of our absolute favorites. We have yet to visit this place and be disappointed in the food. Today, Stephanie went with her traditional sesame chicken and salad. The salad isn’t anything to scream about except for the dressing. It is a delicious ginger dressing that will make you want to slurp out every last drop. You can also get egg drop soup (kick butt!), but seeing that is was over 100 degrees in ICT today that did not sound appealing. Now for the sesame chicken, banish all thoughts of that fried dough with a little bit of chicken you get at Dillon’s or Great Wall that makes your stomach do flip flops. Think instead of stir fry with chicken, zucchini, onions, bean sprouts, and other veggies that I can’t remember currently. Add to that a small bowl of some kind of sauce that is heavenly. Next to the sesame chicken is a heaping pile of very sticky rice. I have a confession. I have been coming to this restaurant for over 10 years now and only once have I ever ordered anything other than the sesame chicken. I know, I know. I should venture out and try something new on the menu especially with a food blog, but that sesame chicken is so dang good that I just can’t pass it up.
I, Phil, branched out and tried the Korean Beef Bul Go Gee(or Kee) this time around. Bul Go Kee is a sweet marinade that is used on thinly sliced pieces of meat and then served with their signature thinly sliced mixed veggies and great steamed or fried rice. Of course it was delightful and I would highly recommend it.
To top off the meal we were given fortune cookie and two pieces of bubble gum. The thing about Manna Wok is how delightfully quirky the owners are. I doubt there is any other place in the city where they bring you fortune cookies and gum along with your check.
You may drive by and think we are nuts and there is no way you are going in, especially with two bars in the same parking lot. So you will just keep on driving to get some Dillons Chinese that has been sitting in the warming pan for 4 hours and that is just fine, but if you have that attitude you aren’t probably reading this blog. Hey Manna Wok is actually pretty mainstream now because they finally accept debit/credit cards after so many years of cash only. Remember, to find some of the best food in town, you have to go to the places that make you uncomfortable. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.