Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mr. Chen's Authentic Chinese Cooking

3901 South University, Little Rock

 Is this the coolest Asian market/restaurant ever for this area? The market has an incredible fresh seafood counter with the fish, crabs and other creatures laying on ice in hand's reach. You can smell, touch and pick the fish yourself. There's a huge bin of live crabs scurrying across each other. They have behemoth woks that look to be more than three feet across as well as the stepped down versions all the way to home stove size. Literally a whole aisle of soy sauces, fish sauces and other exotic liquids from every corner of the orient. And they seem to be sorted by origin, not type so you get all the Vietnamese sauces on one shelf, and the Korean ones on another. 

Then, you see the elegant restaurant to your left and are drawn in by the wonderful aromas and a friendly wait staff. Even though it was lunch time, the restaurant was not very busy which leads me to believe that so far it's a well kept secret. One I don't intend to keep, because something this good needs to be successful and long-lived.

I love the way they have the dining room set up with little rooms instead of booths and some regular tables and booths scattered about. The menu is quite large and loaded with all the usual suspects: Kung Pao Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Combination Fried Rice. So the less than adventurous diner will find plenty of non authentic food to keep them happy. But the similarity to other Fujo restaurants ends there.

I tried the Ma Po Tofu since that's kind of my barometer in judging a Chinese restaurant. I found it to be very fragrant, spicy and well presented in its own hot pot on the table.

It will take many, many trips to the Southwest Little Rock location to try all of the things I see on the menu that sound wonderful. Seafood Clay Pot, Fish Chunk Crab Meat Soup, Ginger and Onion Crab, Fresh Sauteed Snail, Sauteed Sliced Conch, Steamed Sea Bass, Spicy Intestines in Hot Pot, Braised Beef Belly in Hot Pot...

Just shut up and take my money!!!!


At 6:39 PM , OpenID said...

I can personally vouch for the braised beef belly -- so wonderfully tender!


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