Though people covet authenticity in ethnic food, Chinese has remained resolutely Americanized. Stir-fried chicken and vegetables in cornstarch sauce may not be the real article, but it’s sweet and cheap. What’s your problem?
But a few places go beyond the egg roll. Jeng Chi, in one of the big Asian shopping centers on Greenville Avenue in Richardson, is a stellar example. Dumplings rule, served by the dozen in bamboo baskets and filled not just with pork, but also beef, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables. They’re $5, give or take, and best of all, you can mix and match.
Don’t stop at the dumplings. Get the green onion pancake, dense yet flaky, more pastry than flapjack, flecked with scallions and served hot. A healthier cousin, the leek turnover, was like a crêpe, rolled around finely chopped leeks, glass noodles, and bits of egg.
And get soup. Mustard tuber soup sounded out there, but its clean, assertive broth with notes of salt and sesame and thin strips of pork was irresistible. The tuber, a pickled vegetable popular in China with a texture similar to carrot, contributed a pleasing crunch.
Vinyl tablecloths gave the large room a spare utilitarian quality, but gilt-framed paintings and bas relief figures added drama. Red paper lanterns seemed less a kitschy concession and more a celebration of authenticity.
Get contact information for Jeng Chi.