China is a Food & Wine Festival mainstay with a menu that gets changed up year to year, even if the items are somewhat rotational. Matt loves Chinese food, so we always find ourselves in line a few times throughout F&W to try the new items and revisit favorites.
Last year, the Mongolian Beef in a Steamed Bun was a huge hit for us. Matt has already ordered it twice this year! The bun is light and soft, the sauce has some heat and the crunchy noodles add a great contrast in texture. I know we’ll be seeing this more before the festival ends!
I gave the Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles a try and was somewhat disappointed. While the noodle portion is quite large (this would certainly fill me up if I ate it all!), they fell a bit flat for me in flavor. The noodles seemed undercooked in the bites that I had, but Matt said he thought they were cooked well and liked the flavor. He said had he been in the mood for noodles, he’d have finished the plate. I’m also not a fan of how they were kind of oily, another aspect of them that Matt likes (we vary GREATLY when it comes to Chinese food).
I ate the four tiny shrimp the dish came with, and they were overdone and tough. Despite being flecked with black pepper, the flavor didn’t really come through for me.
I was looking forward to the Silk Ice Cream Ribbon, as it was to come in your choice of Mango, Strawberry or Coconut. I was looking forward to coconut, but only strawberry was available on my visit. I wasn’t upset over this, and Matt loves strawberry, so I knew he wasn’t complaining.
The ice cream is light thanks to the shaving process, and the strawberry flavor didn’t taste “fake.” I dug into the fortune cookie and was busy shoveling the second piece into my mouth when I realized Matt wanted some. Oops. I more than made up for it by letting him have the majority of the ice cream. Needless to say, on the scorcher of a day it was, this really hit the spot. I wouldn’t mind seeing this ice cream (style and flavor) stick around next door at Joy of Tea after the festival.
Although we didn’t order them, here’s a look at the Chicken Potstickers. They look a bit better than the pork version sold at China’s quick service restaurant Lotus Blossom Cafe. They look to have that oiliness like the aforementioned noodles that I don’t care for. These have been changed up from previous years by serving them with chicken instead of pork.
During the 2013 Flower & Garden Festival, we tried the Kung Fu Punch, and it was definitely a strong yet well mixed drink. Judging by some pours I saw, that seems to be the case for F&W as well!
We also sampled the Happy Lychee at last year’s F&W Festival. It was on the sweet side, so the lime came in handy. It also was a relatively strong drink.
Have you stopped by the China kiosk to sample the food? Which items top your list?