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Oh Yeah! China Bistro

18 Nov

When most people think of  the Americanized version of Chinese food, visions of buffets and those little white cardboard boxes come to mind. Fortunately there are many restaurants in Wichita where diners can enjoy fresh made American Chinese food that has not been sitting for an extended period of time at the Dillons Chinese Kitchen(although they do have damn good crab rangoon). Oh Yeah! China Bistro, located just north of 29th and Rock, is one such restaurant.

Up Close and Personal With Some Delicious Pork Dumplings

Up Close and Personal With Some Delicious Pork Dumplings

At the risk of sounding blasphemous Oh Yeah! reminded me of the late great Kwan Court, at least from an ambiance prospective. The interior is certainly more upscale than most Chinese restaurants in town and there is plenty of seating. Much to our son’s delight they already had their Christmas tree up and a big laughing buddha statue.

Calling themselves a Chinese Bistro is somewhat misleading because the menu is a greatest hits of Asian cuisine. Besides a comprehensive list of Chinese dishes there are Korean, Thai, and Japanese items. If you want Panang Curry and your dining partner wants Udon noodles you are in luck. The menu is also very accommodating for vegetarians as many of the dishes can be ordered without meat or with a tofu substitute. In addition to the food options, Oh Yeah offers a plethora of fresh juices and teas. Most main dishes range from $8-$15 making Oh Yeah on the pricier side of most Asian places in town.

Honey Shrimp

Honey Shrimp

On our visit we started off with an order of pan fried pork dumplings and for our main dishes I had the Egg Foo Young and Steph went with the Honey Shrimp. The pan fried dumplings were an excellent way to start the meal. The outside was slightly crispy, while the rest of the dumpling was very tender. The filling of pork and mushrooms was good and a soy and ginger dipping sauce added additional flavors to the dish. The honey shrimp dish came with an ample amount of shrimp and just a few broccoli florets. While the honey sauce was tasty, the shrimp were breaded too

Egg Foo Young: Delicious Chinese Omelet

Egg Foo Young: Delicious Chinese Omelet

heavily for our liking. We were hoping that it would be more tempura style, similar to a dish at the old Kwan Court. My order of Egg Foo Young tasted as good as it looked. The base was a large omelet that was piled high with stir fried beef, chicken, shrimp, and veggies. The sauce was on the sweet side, but had a nice touch of spiciness to it as well. It’s not too often that I can’t finish my meal, but this large portion left me asking for a to go box.

While we thought that Oh Yeah! was a bit overpriced, for the most part the food was good. If you want to enjoy Asian food in a more upscale environment with a bottle of wine perhaps Oh Yeah! is worth trying out.

Oh Yeah China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Chiang Mai

22 Feb

Previously published in the Wichita Eagle:

Chiang Mai has flown under my restaurant radar for quite some time, but finally at the behest of a trusted friend, we headed down south to Hillside and 31st Street to see what it was all about. Judging by the bars on the windows, which in my experience is a good indicator of food quality, I expected a good meal. Inside we were unexpectedly greeted by a spacious and tidy dining room with pleasing hues of purple paint adorning the walls.

Duck Curry: Better than Whiskey on a Cold Day

Duck Curry: Better than Whiskey on a Cold Day

While Chiang Mai is primarily a Thai restaurant, their lunch menu (11am-3pm) encompasses highlights from several Asian countries including Vietnam and China. All lunch specials come with your choice of salad, soup or egg roll, plus dessert. One of my favorite cold weather dishes is Thai curry so I ordered a spicy bowl of the roasted duck curry (Gaeng Phet Pet Yang, $6.95). My wife went with the mild version of Mussman curry ($6.50). For our appetizers I had the soup, while my wife tried the egg roll.

Hearty Potato and Chicken Curry

Hearty Potato and Chicken Curry

The clear broth soup was simple, but satisfying. It consisted of sliced green onions, small rice noodles, and wonderful toasted garlic. The egg roll was small compared to some behemoths you can pick up at buffets around town, but it was fresh and enjoyable. The duck curry included bamboo shoots, cherry tomatoes, basil, and tender pieces of duck bathed in a wonderfully creamy and spicy sauce. Although I ordered it “spicy” it was not overpowering. This was some of the best curry I have had in Wichita. The Mussman curry was comprised of chicken, chunks of potato, and peanuts in another very good curry sauce. For dessert we each got a freshly fried round doughnut that was most excellent.

Baby Approved Doughnut

Baby Approved Doughnut

The service at Chiang Mai was superb. Our waitresses were very friendly and took an immediate liking to our 10 month old son. He had a fried doughnut in front of him before we even had drinks at our table. If you are in a hurry, ordering online from their website is an option.
Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cafe Asia

4 Feb

Tucked away deep in the far corner of Normandie shopping center at Woodlawn and Central lies a literal hidden gem, Cafe Asia. Without much signage, it is entirely possible for one to circle the strip mall endlessly searching in vain for the Asian restaurant. I’m sure many a hunger-crazed soul has given up their search and opted for the highly visible Little Caesars. Luckily my internal GPS came through for us and we were able to enjoy the delights of Cafe Asia.

Inside you will find a small dining area that looks similar to many of the family run Asian restaurants around town. They are very proud of Malaysia as evidenced by the numerous travel posters that adorn the wall. Once seated our party was quickly served baskets of fried wontons and a delicious sweet strawberryish dipping sauce. It was a solid way to start off our meal. The menu is good sized for a small place and has something for everyone. If you are just looking for good ‘ol Chinese dishes they have those, you can get your Thai fix with some curries and Pad Thai, and they also offer Malaysian dishes.

Steph ordered a combination plate of Lo Mein with shrimp, chicken, and beef, while I opted for something called Chow Kueh Teow, which apparently is a “famous Malaysian” dish. The Chinese dishes on the menu are served with an egg roll and crab rangoon. Being a connoisseur of crab rangoon I thought Cafe Asia’s were just ok, but their egg roll was good.  When the main dishes came out, we were both greeted with a large amount of food.

How About a Big Dish of Chow Kueh Teow?

The Chow Teow was a tasty dish that consisted of wide rice noodles, sprouts, egg, and plenty of beef, chicken, and shrimp. The ingredients were coated in a brown sauce that was well seasoned, but not overpowering. The chicken and veggie Lo Mein did not disappoint either. The thick noodles were cooked perfectly with no mass of clumped up noodles that one can sometimes get when ordering Lo Mein. Once again they did not skimp on the various parts of the meal. The sauce was a bit on the bland side, but tasted much better than when Dillons drowns their Lo Mein in soy sauce.

After our experience at Cafe Asia, we decided it will become our new place for Chinese/Asian take out. So farewell Great Wall and Dillons, we will no longer need your services, except maybe when we have a crab rangoon craving. If you are in the mood for some type of Asian dish and lots of it, look no further than Cafe Asia.  If you didn’t already jump in the car immediately at the mention of fried wontons with dipping syrup then now is your time.

I attempted to take a picture of the hours of operation at Cafe Asia because it was the only way I would remember them. Unfortunately I took the picture with a phone camera, leaving much to the imagination. Here is my interpretation: Basically they are closed on Sunday and Monday, closed for lunch on Saturday and Tuesday, and then there is a break between 2:30 and 5 on the other days(Although it could be 4:30 or maybe 6pm?). During the week they close at 8pm, but on Friday and Saturday they don’t close till 9pm. Got all that? Just go around noon for lunch and around 7 for dinner and you should be ok unless of course its a leap year and then you’re out of luck.

Tell Me What the Hell This Says and Win A Prize

Cafe Asia on Urbanspoon

Thai Tradition- Wichita KS

3 Nov

For me, the tender nip of fall in the air means it’s time for soups, chili, and  delicious red curries. Unfortunately,  after a bad experience last year, I had to set an ambient air temperature threshold for my consumption of red curry. Through much scientific analysis I determined that with temperatures over 80 degrees I cannot handle red curry. Luckily this last weekend was nice and seasonal allowing Steph and I the opportunity to enjoy some Thai food at Thai Traditions. Thai Traditions is one of Wichita’s best known Thai places, tucked away in the Carriage Parkway shopping center at Central and Edgemoor. It has a good sized dining room with an interior that could be considered a bit dated, but with the dim lights you hardly notice.

In my opinion, Thai Traditions has some of the best soft spring rolls in town, so of course we got an order of those. Their soft rice wrappers are filled with seasoned ground pork, fresh basil, cilantro, lettuce, and bean sprouts. Paired with a sweet peanut sauce they are very refreshing and good way to condition your mouth for some red curry. For Steph’s entrée she went with the only thing she ever orders at Thai places, the ever popular Pad Thai. This mix of flat rice noodles, chicken, sprouts, shrimp, and green onions is covered with a sauce that usually consists of fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind paste. Needless to say it was wonderful as always. I was feeling a bit more adventurous on this visit and went with a medium hottness version of the Red Duck Curry. It came in a large bowl with pineapple chunks, bamboo pieces, and tomatoes. The skin-on duck was plentiful and tender. Served with a side of rice the Duck Curry hit the spot on a cool fall night.

Just in case you were wondering, the service at Thai Tradition was some of the best we have had in a long time. Our water was refilled almost constantly, while the server was gracious and polite. That just topped off what was an enjoyable dining experience.  If you have not tried Thai cooking before Thai Tradition is the perfect place to experience the cuisine. Their friendly staff and expansive menu will ensure an enjoyable experience.

Thai Tradition on Urbanspoon


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