Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Random October Eats III

Lunch at China Dynasty

The reason I like China Dynasty, other than the fact that it’s very convenient to Art’s house when we are meeting about various restaurant consulting gigs, is that they make good rich stocks, which then get used as the base for the soups, and as the base for their stir fry dishes. You probably didn’t know this, but a lot of Chinese restaurants cheat by mixing up assorted soy-based sauces to produce an approximation of what a stock should taste like. That umami mimicry leaves me cold, wanting for more.

Another big Dynasty plus is that their egg rolls actually contain pork, while the vast majority of eggrolls out there do not, and their hot and sour soup actually contains shredded pork, and it’s made with pork bone stock. Pictured here are a couple of lunch egg rolls, and they are cooked to order, with an exterior that’s crispy and flaky. Most joints serve them limp, lukewarm, and greasy. Note the bowl of hot and sour soup next door, right before I add some of their tasty red chile oil to it. It’s loaded with goodies, and has big, porky taste.

The pan fried dumplings are always meaty and moist, and juicy when you take that first bite. The dumpling wrappers are not too thin and not too thick, and tender to the bite, while the dipping sauce has just the right balance of sweet-salty-sour, and ample ginger threads.

This is one of my favorite lunch dishes, chicken with mushrooms. Most Chinese joints would have a steamtable half-tray full of this dish sitting in the back and just scoop and scoot. Dynasty cooks it to order, and manages to keep the chicken moist and juicy (even if this dish uses chicken breast, which I detest), while the mushrooms are sliced thick and meaty.

This is their General Tso’s Chicken, below; they prepare it using boneless chicken thighs, which actually have some flavor and don’t get all dried-out and tough. If you are one of the morons out there that always insist on eating chicken breast meat, and ruin it for the rest of us, then wise-up! Thigh meat has much better chicken flavor, it stays more moist and juicy, and it is much less prone to over-cooking. The batter they use on the chicken is light, and not excessively thick like most restaurants serve.

On top of good, dependable food, the service is spot-on: unobtrusive, accommodating, and efficient. Is Dynasty the best in Austin? Nope. But is has been here in South Austin forever, prices are very reasonable, and they prepare food the right way, without a bunch of short cuts that compromise flavor. We definitely like it.

Mick Vann ©

China Dynasty
2110 W Slaughter Ln, 512/ 280-7153
NW corner of Slaughter and Manchaca, in the HEB strip center

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