Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lotus Chinese Eatery -- a different kind of Chinese

Lotus Chinese Eatery
16883 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Tel: (714) 848-4940

In China there is a small population of people who are Muslim and this means they don't eat pork or pork by-products. This means, lots of beef and of course, lamb! Naturally, t
he cuisine is highly reflective of the region and its people.

It took us a long time to find a favorite place for Muslim-style (halal) Chinese food after moving to southern California. We used to eat it a lot when we lived up north so after eating a lot of uninspiring halal Chinese, we finally found a place which has consistently served us great food.

Lotus Chinese Eatery is interesting in that they have the authentic dishes along with the regular "American-friendly" dishes for those who might not want to venture into unknown territory.

Our favorite items to order at the spicy beef tendon or the beef tripe. It is nice and spicy here and utilizes a seasoning using Sichuan peppercorns. In fact, we try to order a lot of the spicier items on the menu except for the braised tofu with vegetables which we always order because our son loves it.

They also do a sesame scallion bread which takes a little while to prepare, so if you're interested in ordering this dish, make sure you do it the minute you sit down, even before you order your dishes because otherwise, your bread will come out at the end of the meal rather than with your meal. We like the thin version -- which isn't thin at all! It's still about an inch thick.

I suggest ordering any lamb dishes is the way to go. We love the lamb with leek or lamb with green onions. However, if you're not a fan of lamb, you can have them substitute any lamb item with beef. They're happy to do it! You won't get the gorgeous aromas that lamb gives off, but it'll suffice.

It is of course best if you go with a group of six or more so you can order more items to share. On one occasion when I've come here with friends, they've ordered this tofu omelette dish which comprised of soft tofu in a brown sauce topped with an omelette. I liked their combined textures but I am not sure it's my favorite dish here.

Once the sesame scallion bread arrives, our son likes to use it like bread in a sandwich. He'll take any of the dishes we've ordered and put it in between the slice and eat -- quite innovative for an 8-year-old if you ask me!

Don't expect excellent service, after all, it IS a Chinese restaurant. However, I've never received bad service here. The ladies are hilarious since they speak Cantonese to me and love to come o
ver for a chat. They are also quite quick to help us order, often suggesting new items we've never tried before.

Another thin
g that's different about this place is that you'll notice that apart from the Chinese diners, there will be a lot of diners of other backgrounds enjoying this fare. After all, your regular Muslim clientele can't well walk into any Chinese restaurant for a meal. Oh no! Pork is one of the largest staple of Chinese food and that would be a huge no-no for a devout Muslim to consume. Here, at Lotus Chinese Eatery, they can indulge in tasty Chinese food without worrying about the possibility of cross contamination!

If you've never tried it, give it a go. It's positively delicious!

No comments: