The south side of Wichita often gets overlooked when it comes to decent dining options, but the truth is there are a number a small establishments that can hold their own against any place in town. Ming’s Cantonese Restaurant, located on Seneca between Harry and Pawnee, is one such example. This well established Chinese restaurant has a devoted following and the food to back it up.
The first thing you notice about Ming’s is the outstanding 50s-Vegas-style yellow sign that grabs passerby’s attention as they roll down Seneca looking for sustenance. Inside you will find a pretty classic American Chinese design motif, complete with the Chinese Zodiac calendar place mats that are always good for explaining why your relationships don’t work out. Clearly you should have married that Ox you dated for 5 years. The dining room has plenty of seating both for small and large groups.
The menu at Mings is extensive, but not overwhelming. Every American Chinese stir fry dish that you have come to love is offered, including several varieties of Lo Mein, Chow Mein, Egg Foo Young, Sweet and Sour(insert desired protein), and Kung Pao. Most dishes are also offered on a lunch menu and there are family style options as well.
After some extensive internet research, I decided to go with the Chicken Lo Mein. This was a big leap of faith for me because typically I am not a big Lo Mein fan. I find most versions to be fairly unsexy with their lack of flavor and veggies. The lunch version comes with fried rice and a choice of appetizer, so I went with the intriguing ‘foil chicken’, hoping that I hadn’t just ordered something that contained shards of aluminum. The Honey Glazed Shrimp caught Steph’s attention mainly because she was hoping it would be similar to Kwan Court’s famous Honey Walnut Shrimp that we both still pine for. She chose crab rangoon for her appetizer.
Once our food arrived I was happy to see that the foil chicken was actually just white meat chicken pieces wrapped in foil packets. There was a teriyaki-style sauce on the chicken that made it tasty. For a lunch serving, there were ample portions of fried rice and Lo Mein on my plate. The fried rice was certainly freshly made, but overall I thought it was just average in taste. The Lo Mein on the other hand was very good, mainly because of the noodles. Typically the rice noodles used for Lo Mein are sticky and overcooked, but the Ming’s variety were cooked to slightly chewy al dentesque perfection. The brown sauce was a savory shot of MSG that proved to be much better than at other restaurants. There was a good amount of chicken pieces, however I would have liked a little more veggie action. The Honey Glazed Shrimp will not win an award for presentation as the thick glaze sat awkwardly upon the bed of fried shrimp, but taste wise it was excellent. After mixing the glaze together with the shrimp and rice we were left with a sweet and delicious combination that faintly resembled our Kwan Court memories. The crab rangoon were an unexpected delight as well. Instead of being overly sweet and laden with cream cheese, these were savory with more crab(probably imitation) flavor.
Ming’s proved to be a solid south side restaurant that is certainly worth the drive if you don’t live in the area. Their fast and friendly service along with ample menu options makes it one of the better Americanized Chinese joints in town.