6001-L Lomas Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Before I go into this week’s review, I want to say I had a great time over the past week in Oakland, where I met the other great members of the staff at Forward Together. During the course of the week I ate many delicious Asian food items, none of them I could write about either because I would give unfair consideration to the restaurant or we had placed delivery orders which meant I could not write about the service of the place. However, based on the food alone I would suggest eating at Shan Dong restaurant in Oakland (famous for their hand pulled noodles) or Hong Kong City in Alameda (serving good Cantonese food) the next time any of you are in the East Bay.
However, for today’s review I went searching to see if there were more Chinese food specific restaurants that served authentic cuisine other than Ming Dynasty (reviewed last week) and Budai (to be reviewed later). Over the course of my research I came across Chopstix, which had reasonably good yelp reviews indicating there were authentic dishes served here. Given that almost all Chopstix named restaurants I have been to has served highly Americanized Chinese food (aside from one in San Diego serving decent homestyle Japanese), I was naturally skeptical. Since I am a more adventurous food eater, I decided to go anyway in hopes that I could find another authentic Chinese food restaurant in Albuquerque.
My skepticism was shelved when I entered the restaurant, sat down, and looked at the menu. While the menu had some typical Americanized Chinese food items, I would say that the majority of it had authentic items to my astonishment and excitement. It took me a few minutes to decide what I wanted but in the end I ordered home style green beans (green beans stir fried with minced pork), dong po pork (braised pork in red oil), and hot and sour soup.
The hot and sour soup came first and it was nothing to write home about. It was just enough sour, but not very spicy. It lacked the flavor from what you would get at a Sichuanese restaurant in LA. However, the green beans and dong po pork came out perfectly. The green beans were made almost exactly how my mother would cook the dish at home with a hint of spice. My brother, who loved eating the dish at home, would likely find this version to be reminiscent of home. The dong po pork was good too, with nice flavor coming from the braise and fat that was melt in your mouth good. The pork meat itself could have used slightly more time in the braise for tenderness, but it was still good with the slight chew it had. An added bonus to the meal was that they used good tea leaves for their tea instead of the typical cheap stuff they serve at many Chinese restaurants to cut costs.
The service was a bit slow, but much of that was due to fact that they only had one person at the front of the house. She tried the best she could given the multitude of tables with patrons, to go orders ringing from the phones, and tables that needed to be cleaned after patrons left. They could certainly use another person as a waiter, but in the end the service wasn’t terrible, just a little slow.
All in all it was great find another place in Albuquerque serving authentic Chinese food, especially when there cooking can be compared similarly to my mother’s. There were a number of dishes I also would have liked to try, but did not have the time nor the stomach space. In the future I will see how their Dan Dan Mian and MaPo Tofu tastes. If their MaPo Tofu is also similar to my mom’s, I may have found another favorite in the Duke City.
Later this week I may be starting mid-week posts relating to the history of Asian food in America. Stay tuned!