Chinese food: comforting and carryout-friendly
Carryout is king as the prolonged restrictions on our restaurants continue.
Some have been able to pivot into this intensive, hands-on process, some were already doing it, and some…well, not so much. I don’t think that any cuisine - other than pizza, perhaps - is as carryout-friendly as Chinese food. Even the carryout containers themselves have become iconic.
Considering the limited size of our Cape Region, we have a pretty good lineup of Chinese joints for every taste, wallet and time constraint. It’s a proven fact that Chinese food is good business, so a Chinese roundup here at The Business of Eating seems eminently suitable, especially with a little hot mustard and duck sauce on the side.
One of the longtime crown jewels of Rehoboth downtown dining is Confucius Chinese Cuisine at the corner of Second and Wilmington. Shawn and Danielle Xiong prepare everything fresh to order, and pride themselves on a few exclusive dishes, including the Crispy Whole Sea Bass, his famous Five-Spice Duck and Confucius’ exclusive Salt & Pepper versions of calamari, shrimp and scallops. I also love the Szechuan green beans.
Lewes offers two neighborhood spots where one can eat-in or carry out slightly more Americanized Chinese food, i.e., egg foo young, chop suey and ho fun/mei fun (flat rice noodles) along with traditional favorites.
China Garden is in the Villages of Five Points just a few doors down from the Weis market. You’d better bone-up on the menu before calling, however, because China Garden offers over 184 individual dishes, including combos, soups, appetizers and lunch specials. They don’t deliver, but they do take orders by phone and with a convenient smartphone app. A nice feature is that almost all the dishes may be ordered in half or whole portions. Perfect for the wayward foodie who wants to try everything.
On Kings Highway next to Mr. P’s Pizza is Hing Wang Chinese Restaurant. Hing Wang is a bit more mysterious in that they have very little Web presence other than an online menu. But I am a fan, and repeated reviews suggest that this tiny storefront has a loyal following. Hing Wang also offers a choice of portion size for most dishes. My pick hits: The Singapore Noodles and the Egg Foo Young.
Sandwiched between Pete’s Steak Shop and Michy’s Relaxed Dining in the Rehoboth Marketplace center is Hunan Chinese. This humble spot is well represented online. Not only can you peruse the lengthy menu on your phone or computer, but you can order online and even make table reservations. There’s even a “faves” button where you can store the things you like and access them later with a single click. Chinese food may have ancient roots, but Hunan Chinese is on the leading edge of cyber-restauranting.
And that brings us to Wu’s Kitchen in Lighthouse Plaza near Giant Food. They don’t deliver, but online ordering and table reservations are also just a hungry click away. Along with the standard neighborhood Chinese fare, Wu’s sets itself apart with a menu of non-Asian dishes like Buffalo wings, fried chicken wings, shrimp with Old Bay and even sweet doughnuts. Let’s face it, there’s always one spoilsport when it comes time to order for a group, and Wu’s makes sure that he or she can get something a bit more Americanized - even if he or she is vegetarian. Good for you, Wu!
In Henlopen Junction across from The Pointe Coffee Shop is China Wok. The storefront may be unassuming, but they have a big online presence including the ability to order with your phone or computer. And China Wok will deliver to a limited area. Try their exclusive Dragon & Phoenix special with shrimp and chicken (get it? dragon/phoenix?). They also have six versions of the oh-so-American but still popular chop suey.
Can’t decide what to get? Does scrolling through those long menus cause vertigo? Then try the Lin family’s Chinatown Buffet & Grill in the Midway Galleria by Crust and Craft. Since there is no carryout (unless you have big pockets and can run fast), there is no need for any strong online presence. It’s all right there on the buffet table, and as with most buffets, people have their favorites. Chinatown Buffet and Grill offers all you can eat for one base price. There are some à la carte items, but one can fill up until one falls over, and not put much of a dent in the wallet. Under normal conditions, the place always seems to be busy.
Android, iPhone and iPad owners can access these restaurants on the newly redesigned Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app. Simply scroll down and tap “Chinese Restaurants.” If you’re already a user of the app, you will want to upgrade to the newly redesigned version where you can call or order online, see food photos and even peruse menus where they’re available. So, take a break from the ordinary and enjoy. Pass the hot mustard, and Xiăngshòu!