Chou's Kitchen - Regional Chinese (Dongbei)

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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BarbaraToombs
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Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

Chou's Kitchen -- Exemplary Regional Chinese

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!
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.
Indeed.

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! :D

Chou's Kitchen Discussion Thread:
Chou's Kitchen - Dongbei Cuisine in Chandler

Chou's Kitchen
910 North Alma School Road
Chandler, AZ 85224
480-821-2888
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Hooray! Such a great nomination.

Couldn't agree more. This may be my favorite Chinese restaurant in town, having a place that specialized in Dongbei is such a treat, and I love so much that they're working hard to broaden people's idea of what Chinese food is. And most importantly, there are so many fabulous dishes... the dumplings and meat pies you mention, the ma la cold noodles, the tiger salad, those hearty claypots... okay, now I need to get back. And I think there's a good history of folks on the board appreciating and getting excited about them.

Happy to lend my voice to the call for an FNA for Chou's :-)
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
themis
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6 years ago

I haven't been, can we get this bumped up on the FNFriday list? Or Wednesday, or you know ... whenever.
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

themis wrote:I haven't been, can we get this bumped up on the FNFriday list? Or Wednesday, or you know ... whenever.
I second the motion... This is off my radar for some reason...? I'm making a priority to try this soon...
-- LBX

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BarbaraToombs
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Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

I'd be totally down with revisiting Chou's in the imminent future! Dom??
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ScottofStrand
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Location: Mesa, AZ

6 years ago

Count me in! Chou's has given me faith that not ALL Chinese food is crummy and Americanized. I can't wait for a return visit.
PHXeater
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6 years ago

I have been dying to get here but haven't been anywhere close to Chandler in ages so I'd love an excuse! I also have a weird obsession with anything dumpling so there's no doubt I'd love this place.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Not that you guys need me to organize it :-)

But, yeah, I'll get an event thread going later today. I'm thinking next Wednesday? I definitely want to try to cram in some nominee lunches before the discussion period is over.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
Pete
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6 years ago

We took some friends who aren't adventurous eaters here last week. Even if you can't manage to stray outside of your comfort zone you'll still be ok; their review of the chicken fried rice was that it was, "the best fried rice [they've] ever had."
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BarbaraToombs
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Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

They're closed Wednesdays!!!!!
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BarbaraToombs
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Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

Pete wrote:We took some friends who aren't adventurous eaters here last week. Even if you can't manage to stray outside of your comfort zone you'll still be ok; their review of the chicken fried rice was that it was, "the best fried rice [they've] ever had."
Well, that's certainly good to know, Pete! :)
Erin
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6 years ago

This place should definitely be FNA. It is so tasty and unique. Beef pies sound awfully good on a rainy day like today ;)
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MyLifeOnVacatio
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6 years ago

For the beef pies alone one could nominate Chou's Kitchen. We've enjoyed exploring many other items on the menu as well. At some point while we’re deciding on what to order, Tong usually comes over to chat and provide information and/or recommend a dish or two to try. My veg go to is still the Eggplant, Potato & Pepper dish, but we’ve enjoyed several hot pots as well (most recently meatball & cabbage). Who knew that pork neck bones would be something that I’d seek out (?), but that’s another regional specialty that we were introduced to at Chou’s that made an impact. Hearty support for this FNA nominee.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Chou's Kitchen has been named to the 2013 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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