Chengdu Delight Chinese Cuisine - Chandler

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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Mike Z
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Location: Central Tempe

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This place is a trip. Lots of mirrors, nooks and cranny seating, fish pond with a bridge over it, a shiny piano up on a dais in the middle of the main room . . . If they pumped in the sound of slot machines and some cig smoke you’d swear you were in Vegas

I had an excellent and fragrant Lamb in Cumin Sauce. Lamb, a bit of cabbage, light sauce, rice on the side. There was a slight metallic taste, but online I read that that is typical when Sichuan pepper is present? Not shy on the chili oil, it’s niiiiiice and spicy with lingering heat. No burn; had my forehead sweating long afterwards

I’m hoping we have a winner here
Lamb in Cumin Sauce
Lamb in Cumin Sauce
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Chengdu Delight Chinese Cuisine

SW corner of Alma School and Elliot
2992 N Alma School Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224
480.963.1198
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chrislee
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ

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Thanks for the post! In hindsight, seems like we've gone way too long without a Chengdu named restaurant in AZ. :)
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The Cosmic Jester
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The bridge, the piano... I see the new owners didn't change a bit of the decor from when it was Shangri-La.
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Mike Z
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Location: Central Tempe

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Lots of the menu to explore, but I think we have a winner with Chengdu Delight (Thanks again to Karen W's review on Yelp)

Lovely Foodnerd lunch here today. Seven of us, two apps, five entrees . . . near the perfect amount
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And I have to take a P4daC . . . if you haven’t been to one of these gatherings, come on out. Seven of The Valley’s finest sharing family-style (we all ate our fill of seven dishes for $13-14 each). We don’t bite at the lunch gatherings . . . only the evening ones ;)

Anywho. Jacqaz was our hero today and ordered for us with the suggestions of the owner (?). She done great . . .
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Garlic Cucumber. Pleasingly straightforward and cooling with all the spicy dishes. Love the cilantro
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Wonton in Chili Oil. Too straight forward, very meh. The owner recommended these over the Dumplings in Chili Oil, saying then you're basically just eating potstickers, but I think we all would have prefered that. Just not much going on with the wontons
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Fish with Pickled in Spicy Soup. This was delicious. Nice firm yet tender hunks of flounder.
I thought the broth could have used more depth and body, but I'm not going to pick nits. Was damn good
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Chung Ging Spicy Cold Chicken. I had my doubts when this came out, but it was fine. Not a favorite of mine, I probably wouldn't order it again, but I'd have some if it was on the table wheel and came my way
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Lamb in Cumin Sauce. Nice balanced amount of cumin. Loved it as much as I did the first time. I'd call it a must order if you go with a group
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Sauteed Special Mushroom with Pork. Another winner, nothing not to like here
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Chili Pepper with Dried Tofu. I thought this was tasty and interesting, especially when you added the oils/sauce from the other dishes. Noodles made with dried tofu, the pork, the green peppers lost some of their bite and had a sweeter flavor . . . but I may have been the minority at the table. I think it was the only dish that wasn't finished. Damn, I should have taken the rest home
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Bottom right square is a pic of the currently unused bar/lounge area. I was told that they're waiting on a liquor license, and when it arrives in 3-4 months they'll put it to use

So yeah, who wants to join in another Foodnerd lunch here!?! :)
Last edited by Mike Z 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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jacqaz
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Fish with Pickled in Spicy Soup. This was delicious. Nice firm yet tender hunks of fish (jacq, what kind?)
I thought the broth could have used more depth and body, but I'm not going to pick nits. Was damn good
I called the restaurant to confirm, they said all of the fish used in their dishes are flounder, including this one. The only exception is a whole fish dish that is with tofu, they use yellow trout (golden trout I think) for that. I was not totally sure if he said cod or trout though, a little bit harder to understand over the phone. I can't seem to find this dish on the menu, might be an off menu item.
I was born in Taiwan, where eating is the national sport!

- Jacq
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Mike Z
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.

Another fantastic meal and Foodnerd outing. Oof . . . if I had gills I’d been stuffed to them. Soooooo good

We talked a bit with Kam (sp?) who modestly calls himself a server. He’s longtime friends with the owner, and is guiding the ship per se in the opening frame as host, manager, trainer, and server. He CARES. He wants to see this place succeed, and you can feel it from him and the dishes. For me, they're rocking

Well, on to it . . . (I’ll edit if I have any of the names wrong) . . .

Not pictured are the Lamb in Cumin Sauce and a double order of Garlic Cucumbers ('cause they're already pic't above). Both I’m starting to think are must orders. The cukes to cool down some of the heat, and the cumin lamb because . . . well, three times in, it’s just been damn good everytime
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Cold Pork Belly in Garlic Sauce
We actually ordered this last; Kam said it was one of his favorites, so why not? I thought it was ok, could take it or leave it
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Yu Xiang Eggplant
Where has eggplant been all my life until a few years ago? Places in the East Valley have been rockin’ eggplant dishes over the past few. This was no exception. Tender and almost candied without being overly sweet. Hell, I’d serve it with Thanksgiving dinner. No, don't grab your pitchforks, I won't deny you your sweet potatoes with bruleed marshmellows on top, I'm just saying this Yu Xiang Eggplant would fit in nicely
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Soup with Fish Fillet & Pickled Vegetables
Bit of miscommunication, this wasn’t what we ordered, but I’m glad for the confusion. It was . . . dare I say? . . . I’m gonna . . . it was lovely. Tender but firm flounder in a low key broth with green onion and what I believe is pickled mustard greens? Loved it
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Spicy Water Boiled Fish
Meh. Was ok, but man, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Fish with Pickled Veg in Spicy Soup. Sorta like if you’ve seen Jordan play and then try to get excited for Pippen. No? :)
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Ma Po Tofu
My first time having Ma Po Tofu, and it was pleasant. Seems like for many it’s a ‘benchmark’ dish. It’s listed as an entree, but I wouldn’t consider it more than an app. But what do I know?
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Pork Stomach with Pickled Vegetables
This dish was ALL Jacq’s fault! No, I keed. We thought it was going to be pork belly, but Kam told us it would actually be pork stomach. Undaunted, we all took a flyer on it, and we all lived. Not bad, but take that same prep and sub pork belly or, ooo, fried shrimp . . . then ya got something
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Chung Qing Spicy Chicken (Bone-in)
I loved this, and easily could have cleared all the chicken by myself (and probably will in the near future). I’ll pick nits and say I’d have liked a bit more chili oil and heat, but sign me up every time for theirs
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Crispy Walnut Shrimp
I never order dessert for myself, but YOU MUST order this for dessert. Trust me. It’s fried shrimp covered in a sweet sauce (condensed milk, honey, mayo are what I find online) with candied glazed walnuts

Mmm

Straight up, Mmm
Desert Gal
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That fish soup mistake was a happy accident! (Wait, I hope "happy accident" isn't a euphemism for something dicey.)
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jacqaz
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Beautiful write up Mike Z. I could not say it any better myself!

This place is definitely one of those a family style meal is the best way to go if you can gather enough people to go because there are just too many things that are great and tough to just pick one thing to eat as a single diner.

I could not find the "Fish with Pickled in Spicy Soup" in the PDF menu we have on here, so we will definitely have to take a photo of the big menu next time to locate the number and proper naming. I think the only real difference is the spiciness, but he insisted that "Fish with Pickled in Spicy Soup" we had was not soup. Happy accident on the soup though. I wonder if it was listed under the Spicy Dish Casserole section in the big menu book. I will swing by sometime to check and clarify.

The "Pork Stomach with Pickled Vegetables" is listed as "Pork Belly & Pickled Vegetables" on the single paged new menu, so the naming of it is slightly off. I was glad he informed us, but I might suggest them correct the English name to avoid confusion of diners. Same goes with the "Pork Belly & Pickled Vegetable Soup" it is actually Pork Stomach. Never the less, it was one of my favorite dishes today.

I have attached a picture of the new single page menu that they have besides the big book menu. I am sure they will eventually get some photos taken and add these to the big book.

Noodle dishes, especially the soup noodles are tough to share, but I think that will be the goal for my next visit. I am always on the hunt for a good Beef Noodle Soup and with what we have had so far, I am pretty damn excited to go give their Beef Noodle Soup a try.

The spiciness of some of these dishes paired with the pickled vegetable are amazingly satisfying, especially gobbled down with bowls after bowls of very well made rice that they serve there.

I am not sure how many people are familiar with the pickle vegetable, but I will go ahead and share a little bit of this Chinese favorite condiment/cooking ingredient.

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酸菜 ( suān cài ) -- literally "sour vegetable".

While Southern China uses the thick stalk varieties of Chinese mustard, Northern China sometimes uses Napa cabbage to make suān cài.

The dark green Chinese mustard pickled suān cài that are the one that is most commonly used in Chinese restaurants. I love it specially in Taiwanese style spicy beef noodle soup.

Suān cài is said to increase appetite and cut grease in a dish.

We love it so much, there is even a side dish that is just suān cài stir fried with fresh red chili pepper. Served as a side dish to go with meat dishes. :D

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I was born in Taiwan, where eating is the national sport!

- Jacq
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Tim H
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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We had a very pleasant meal at Chengdu Delight. Great food, great service. And four hours later, I scarfed down all the leftovers (cold) thinking... wow, it's still so delicious!

First, the Mapo Tofu was really good. Sichuan peppercorn flavor/aroma: check. A bit of heat: check (though I wanted more). Round and complex: check. If it had been spicier, I'd have liked it more than Dinghao. With these dishes that have a Sichuan peppercorn flavor but not a lot of heat, I can't help but wonder if they're buying oil that's already infused with Sichuan peppercorns. Not a big deal if they do because the flavor is there, just curious (I'd buy it myself).
Mapo Tofu
Mapo Tofu
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We ordered one of the pork dishes, but I can't remember if it was the Yu Xiang Pork or the Shredded Pork with Green Onion (I think the latter). I'd have loved this dish as a kid because it's just a plate of meat with a tiny bit of shredded veg hidden underneath (cabbage? green onion?). The meat was super tender and stir fried with a bit of soy sauce and some sugar, maybe some vinegar. Simple and tasty, I'd happily get it again.
Stir fried pork - forgot the name
Stir fried pork - forgot the name
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The surprise hit was the Sauteed Special Mushrooms. A wizened old warrior once asked me, "Tim H, what is best in life?" I couldn't answer at the time, but I think I know the answer now. What is best in life? Mushrooms, strips of tender pork, and cilantro stems, fried together in a hot wok, served steaming at your table on a clean white plate by a beaming waitress, all for just 10 bucks. That pretty much does it for me.

It's not spicy, the sauce is basic, but there's a hint of the wok, and it all just works.
Sauteed Special Mushrooms
Sauteed Special Mushrooms
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Just to keep our feet on the ground, we were happy to receive one not-so-great dish, the Cold Sichuan Noodles. I was going to get the Dan Dan Noodles, but the waitress told this one was spicier, so I went with it. It wasn't spicy, and the noodles had a tacky mouth feel like they'd sat for a while. The flavor was sour, which was fine, the dish just didn't work for me as a whole.
Cold Sichuan Noodles
Cold Sichuan Noodles
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There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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Tim H
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We had another enjoyable meal at Chengdu. The service here is fantastic. The two servers have been friendly and welcoming on both of our visits. When I asked for chili oil, they both responded as if this were the most wonderful thing that had happened to them all day, and they cheered me on (literally) as I applied the oil to my Dan Dan Noodles.

Speaking of the Dan Dan Noodles, they were crap. I've made my own Dan Dan Mian several times and tried it at other places, and these were just noodles covered with flavorless pork in a watery soy bath. I added lots of chili oil, which covers a multitude of sins, but I'd never get another noodle dish here. Both noodle dishes I've tried here have been disasters.
Dan Dan Noodles
Dan Dan Noodles
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But the Chung Ching Spicy Chicken (Chongqhing chicken) was great. Not as crispy or spicy as the Chongqing at Dinghao, but they had a good Sichuan peppercorn flavor and I enjoyed them hot (and even cold as leftovers later).
Chung Ching Spicy Chicken
Chung Ching Spicy Chicken
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The Fish Fillet in Black Bean Sauce was too salty, but served over rice it was delicious. Honestly, salty black bean sauce with a bit of heat is a very happy place for me. The silken tofu and the tender fish were perfect in that salty, savory sauce. My wife usually won't eat salty food, but she really liked it too, and said "It's meant to be that way to go with rice." She is never wrong.
Fish Fillet in Black Bean Sauce
Fish Fillet in Black Bean Sauce
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Lately we've been alternating between Dinghao, House of Egg Roll, and Chengdu, and Dinghao is still our favorite, at least for Sichuan. We've had some bad dishes at Dinghao as well, but it's the one place that isn't afraid to give that hot and numbing kick to the Sichuan food. And I'm not a chili head. I can't eat a lot of food in Thailand because it's too painful for me. But both HoER and Chengdu are much too timid with the spicy dishes.
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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NightBloom
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Eggplant & Chinese Sauce , the brown colored dish above, was good, but not what I was after. A few days agof we had Eggplant with garlic sauce on it. That's what I was going for, but I guess it's an off menu item.
I did find a small piece of metal or wire in a bite of eggplant. I should have said something, but I just ignored it because I didn't want to stop eating :shock:

The garlic cucumbers are another favorite dish. Today they were really fresh, but the flavors hadn't partied together long enough to be as good as they usually are.
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#8 "Fish with Pickled in Spicy Soup" is my favorite dish here. I just tried it for the first time a few days ago and drive across town again today to feed the craving for more!
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What's the name of this dish again? Chong Qing Spicy Chicken (Bone-in)? Whatever, it's damn good! I've had this dish at many of the good Chinese spots around town and this is one of my favorites. Perfectly crispy with lots of bright flavor and Szechuan pepper zing. Perfect for the kind of hangover hungry I am today.
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I missed what Tim wrote about the Dan Dan Noodles and this was the first new item I tried. I've only ever had dan dan once before at the Bitter & Twisted Daring Dining dinner so I don't have much to compare to, but it was a flop of a dish - the first I've had here, honestly.

The noodles were thick and chewy which I liked a lot. The ground meat I thought I tasted like beef, but I'm reading it's supposed to be pork... I should have paid closer attention. There was a subtle spice to the oily broth, but it was bland and boring for me. Maybe some vinegar would have helped?
There wasn't any on the table and I didn't bother to ask.

I'd like to see what else they do with those noodles, but there are too many other good things on the menu for me to bother giving the dan dan another shot.
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They also brought out these sesame sweet potato cakes for dessert. They were gummy, not all that sweet, and just not my thing.


Overall Chengdu Delight is still at the top of my list for Chinese food right now. Bring friends, there's so much deliciousness to be shared!!!
CRISTEN :)
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Tim H
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We stopped in so that I could try the Pork Belly in Garlic Sauce. The sauce seemed to be just chili oil, and badly burnt chili oil at that, so the dish was very bitter. There also wasn't much salt, so I added some soy sauce. I was able to eat one piece of pork, but couldn't bring myself to eat another. Would have been okay if they hadn't burnt the chili oil.

But the Sauteed Special Mushrooms were still great, and the Garlic Cucumber was light and refreshing. Just to try something new, we got the Sauteed Preserved Vegetables. The waitress promised a sour flavor, and it delivered. I probably wouldn't get it again, but it made a nice contrast with the rest of the meal.
Pork Belly in Badly Burnt Chili Oil
Pork Belly in Badly Burnt Chili Oil
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There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne