January 31, 2011

Where to get the best Chinese food in Flagstaff

The Year of the Rabbit begins on Thursday, February 3. Celebrate Chinese New Year with foods considered to be lucky or that symbolize a prosperous new year, Chinese-style. Among the dishes to be on the look out for that are said to bring you luck:

Peking duck and chicken– Symbolizes family unity, togetherness and fidelity.
Noodles – Representing a long life, noodles should be eaten whole. So don’t cut those babies. Just slurp them in whole.
Spring rolls – These symbolize wealth. Why you ask – because their shape is similar to gold bars. At least that’s why they say.
Veggies and fruits – You should eat more of these anyway and they’re considered lucky. Particularly of interest for those seeking fortune – lettuce wraps, tangerines and oranges. Eat up.

Now that you know what you should consider ordering for extra good fortune, here’s a look at some of the places to go in northern Arizona for some of the best Chinese food around.

Golden Dragon
2730 East Lakin Dr (at Steves Blvd), Flagstaff
Flagstaff’s most upscale Chinese option, the Golden Dragon has recently been remodeled and revamped with a new owner (who used to own Hot Wok Express) and slightly new name. (It was Golden Dragon Bowl). Golden Dragon is a great place to get those lucky noodles! They have two delicious menus. One with classic American Chinese favorites. The other, which they call their “authentic Chinese Cuisine” menu, has more unique offerings. Among the dishes to try here: Hot Chili Oil beef, chicken or pork; beef Chow Fun; Steamed Veggie Dumplings; Szechuan Shrimp; Singapore Curry Noodles; and the House Special Pan-Fried Noodles. But then everything sweet and sour here is sure to please the taste buds too.

Hunan West
1302 Plaza Way, Flagstaff
A little family-run joint tucked between Planned Parenthood and a dollar store, Hunan West has a friendly staff and some of the best Chinese food in town. The Orange Peel Chicken (which gets in several lucky categories at once) is delicately fried and served in just the right amount of orange sauce. Nothing you’ll find anywhere else in town is quite like this one. Other things to try: Chun Pai Beef, Cashew Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Spicy Broccoli and War Won Ton Soup.

Hot Wok Express
1000 N Humphreys St, Flagstaff (at the far west end of the shopping center)
A fast food version of Chinese, Hot Wok serves up a quality product even though their eat-in ambience leaves something to be desired. But don’t let that stop you. The food is made fresh and quite tasty. Though the fried stuff can tend to be more greasy than desired there. The Chicken Lo Mein, Moo Goo Gai Pan and Broccoli Beef are can’t fail options. For ultimate convenience, call ahead and swing by the drive up window. Perfect for snowy days! Even if you don’t have a menu in front of you, the folks here will help you find what you want.

Szechuan Chinese Restaurant
1350 W Highway 89A, Ste 21, Sedona
Menu online: szechuansedona.net
Head down to Sedona’s Szechuan if you’re looking for the fancier side of Chinese dining in Northern Arizona. Szechuan is an ornate restaurant with a full menu for every desire. Everything on the menu is well prepared and full of flavor with a presentation and service of equal quality. I particularly recommend the Garlic Green Beans, Orange Chicken, Chicken with Broccoli and Yuan-Yang Flavors.

(This article first ran in Flagstaff Live, also written by me!)


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