What Makes A Chinese Restaurant Stand Out

After attending the Saturday night vigil this past weekend, we decided to go out for dinner. As we were driving down Sprague Avenue in the Spokane Valley, we decided to turn into a place that has caught our eye many times before. Called Peking Palace, you can’t miss it. With a prominent red neon sign, fancy red façade, and two lion statues standing guard, it definitely stands out, even on a busy street like Sprague.

Peking Palace in Spokane Valley really stands out on Sprague Avenue.

Sidney and I both really enjoy Chinese food so I guess I should point out that its impressive exterior wasn’t the only reason why we chose the Peking Palace, but it did give it a leg up on numerous other Chinese restaurants nearby.

The exterior of the Peking Palace will draw you in.

Sloan and Beau were particularly challenging on this evening but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. After restaurants were shuttered for so long, we have learned not to take eating out for granted. We were eventually able to get some peace when Sid let Sloan watch her phone and I appeased Beau by taking him over to the fish tank.

Two lion statues stand guard at the entrance of the Peking Palace.

I think I am a little pickier with my Chinese restaurants than I am with my Mexican restaurants. I have said on more than one occasion that most food from family Mexican restaurants tastes the same to me. But when it comes to Chinese restaurants, dishes and flavors seem to vary more from place to place. When we eat Chinese, I typically prefer three things out of the restaurants we choose…

Our entrees at the Peking Palace on Saturday night.

1. Crunchy Chow Mein – I always prefer crunchy chow mein to soft chow mein. I like crunchy food texture in general so it makes sense that I opt for the crunchier variety of noodles. Crunchy chow mein paired with flavorful soft vegetables is a winning combination for me. However, you would be surprised at how many places only serve soft chow mein.

2. A Good Sweet and Sour Sauce – Don’t get me wrong, I will eat the thick, sugary red sweet and sour sauce but I will remember a Chinese restaurant that offers a more flavorful yet subdued sweet and sour version. I like being able to taste the brown sugar and ginger flavors in a sauce that is more paste than syrup.

3. Masterful Use of Spices – I love spicy food and I think Asian cooking is the absolute best at bringing out its best flavor. When I scan a Chinese restaurant menu, I look for dishes that are marked with an asterisk for being extra spicy. If I eat a dish that makes me sweat a bit without burning my mouth, I will return.

Before you ask, I don’t eat fortune cookies so they aren’t as important to me at a Chinese restaurant as chips are for me at a Mexican restaurant. But I once did a big experiment with fortune cookies before.

On the subject of Chinese American restaurants, I once did a big experiment with fortune cookies

How about you? What makes or breaks a Chinese restaurant experience for you? Also, if you have any Spokane Chinese restaurant recommendations for me, please don’t hold out. Have a great week. Don’t Blink.

Leave a Reply