I was never a big fan of Chinese food--but, as I've discovered over the past year, that's been largely because of my lack of education on this cuisine, and how to seek out the places that don't just serve the same old, same old gelatinous, stereotypical Americanized Chinese dishes we've all come to know and not love so much.
Then I discovered Chou's Kitchen in Chandler. Wow. I had to educate myself before going, as I understood it served Dongbei dishes from northeastern China--which I knew nothing about. Turns out the food served in this region focuses more heavily on wheat than on rice, is overall is pretty amazing, hearty, and delicious, and we are very lucky to have a place like Chou's in our area!
Indeed.Skillet Doux wrote:...the number of major US cities where you can't find this food period is big. Really big. I'm starting to think Chou's is more of a blessing that we realize.
There's nothing fancy about the decor here, but owners and longtime friends Ping Chou and Tong Rizzo make you feel at home from the minute you arrive. Spend some time watching Chou or another family member skillfully craft one of the many dumplings and "buns" featured on the menu--truly little works of art (not to mention unbelievably tasty). Tong will happily make recommendations off the extensive menu for you. Try and resist the urge to stay in your comfort zone of fried rice (yes, that's on the menu, too), and instead try a hot pot, some dumplings, one of the flavorful vegetable dishes (egglant, potato, and chiles is one of my favorites), and, of course, their incredible meat pies (nicely brown and crispy pastry filled with a juicy ground beef filling).
There are plenty of photos and descriptions of the dishes on the Chou's Kitchen discussion thread.
Chou's doesn't have a website (in a way, that speaks a lot to their priorities--they are about putting out good, lovingly prepared food at incredibly reasonable prices, not modern technology!)...but the restaurant is located in a little unassuming strip mall on the southwest corner of Alma School and Ray roads in Chandler and is well worth a visit (or two...or three...).
And, in my humble opinion, definitely worthy of being Food Nerd Approved!
Chou's Kitchen Discussion Thread:
Chou's Kitchen - Dongbei Cuisine in Chandler
910 North Alma School Road
Chandler, AZ 85224