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Asia Café Named the Best Chinese Takeout in Austin

Asia Café Named the Best Chinese Takeout in Austin

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The food at Asia Café in Austin is so good it scored the #10 spot on our compilation.

Travel to just about any city in America and, odds are, there’ll be a Chinese restaurant nearby. From Sichuan and Canton to Shandong and Beijing, we’re a fortunate nation to have so many provincial Chinese cuisines represented not just in the larger metropolises but throughout the lower 48 and beyond. Whether you’re sampling San Tung’s addictive chicken wings on the run in San Francisco or tucking into some insanely delicious hand-pulled noodles from New York’s Xi’An Famous Foods, the restaurants on our list are certainly worth writing home about.

For our first-ever ranking, The Daily Meal searched America for the best Chinese takeout, from strip mall nooks and holes-in-the-wall to bustling Chinatown institutions and bold new kids on the block. We consulted our own group of chefs and city experts, James Beard Award-winning and nominated chefs like Ken Oringer and Anita Lo, and both nationally and locally trusted sources online and in print in cities across the country. Some great places didn't make the list, but after qualifying the food based on authenticity to regional cuisine, speed and of course, flavor, the food from 15 places emerged as the clear winners — and, as it turns out, one is in Austin.

With service that’s more or less left to the customer — an expediter is the only thing standing between you and your food — Asia Café was made for takeout. And lucky you, because the place gets slammed most nights with Austinites looking for steamy bowls of ground beef and cilantro soup, spicy honeycomb tripe, and pan-fried shrimp with crushed peppers. The food is so good, it scored the #10 spot on our compilation, and since it’s the only one from the city to make the short list, according to our panel of experts, Asia Café serves the best takeout Chinese food in Austin.

20 Best Chinese Food Dishes

There are few things more satisfying on a boring weekend than ordering Chinese takeout. Best of all, there are plenty of vegetarian options with Chinese food, and the dishes tend to be loaded in vegetables. Not only can you enjoy something that tastes delicious, but it can also be good for your physical health. You just have to be careful not to overindulge because a love of Chinese food could quickly add to your waistline!

There is one caveat with this list though. All of these dishes tend to be Americanized versions of Chinese food. China is a gigantic country with over a billion people. With so many different people and cultures, there is a wide variety of different cuisines. It would be impossible to represent them all on this list, and many of our favorite authentic Chinese dishes can really only be enjoyed in China. Instead of focusing on such a variety of Chinese cuisine abroad, we listed the 20 best Chinese food dishes that you can find close to home. You should be able to find most of these dishes at Chinese food restaurants in the United States, Europe and other western nations.

1. Egg Drop Soup

This is a traditional favorite in the west. Many Chinese restaurants actually include soup with the entree that you ordered, so you can easily try this dish with your lunch or dinner. This dish is made up of wispy beaten eggs, pepper, scallions and tofu cooked up in a boiled chicken broth. Some restaurants add veggies to the mix or subtract the tofu. Whatever they do, it still tastes delicious!

2. Shrimp and Bean Sprouts

While most American dishes avoid bean sprouts, we really think that they deserve a second look. Our favorite sprouts ever are mung bean sprouts, but just about any sprout will tickle your taste buds. Plus, this recipe includes a healthy blend of shrimp. The iodine in shrimp is supposed to be great for people with thyroid disorders.

3. Vegetable Fried Rice

Just about every Chinese restaurant will offer different types of fried rice. This option may just include a bunch of vegetables, or it may include tofu as well. If you get the option, choose the fried tofu—it is by far the best tofu option they offer (in our opinion).

4. Wonton Soup

If your Chinese restaurant does not offer egg drop soup, then they will probably offer wonton soup instead. This soup generally includes dumplings, and it is a specialty at many restaurants.

5. Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are similar to spring rolls and are often used as an appetizer at Chinese restaurants. They may include just vegetables, or they may include meats like pork. Spring rolls originated in China and were typically consumed during springtime, which is probably how they got the name.

6. Honey Sesame Chicken

This dish includes crispy, delicious chicken cooked with sesame and honey before being tossed on top of steamed white rice.

7. Chinese Eggplant With Spicy Garlic Sauce

If you have never seen Chinese eggplants, you should check them out. They are longer and thinner than western eggplants. Whenever we go to the Chinese grocery store, we always stock up on plenty of these to cook up with chilies and garlic.

8. Shrimp Fried Rice

This delicious recipe is easy to customize. Like other fried rice options, it starts by simply frying up rice with things like cabbage, carrots or peas. Then, you can customize the dish with foods like shrimp as well. Unlike some restaurant foods, this one still tastes great after being in a fridge all night!

9. Shanghai Dumpling

Dumplings are by far one of our favorite dishes. When we lived abroad, there was a dumpling place with different varieties and fillings. For about $2 to $3, you could stock up on a variety of dumpling options for your lunch.

10. Vegetable Chow Mein

Chow mein is actually an anglicized way of writing the Chinese words for “fried noodles.” The name is appropriate because that is essentially all that this dish is. You can get this dish with just about any topping, but we really enjoy the vegetable version.

11. Chicken and Broccoli

If you want to switch up your normal routing of beef and broccoli, this is a delicious, nutritious alternative.

12. Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

This is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the country. It consists of beef and broccoli as the name suggests. Like many Chinese dishes, it can easily be cooked up in a wok. The meat is pre-cut, so you only need chopsticks or a fork to eat it. Interestingly, basically every type of traditional Chinese dish includes cut up meat. When I asked about this tradition, I was told that it was because it was considered impolite to have a knife at the table.

13. Crispy Pork Belly

The name does not do this dish justice. While I do not recommend attempting this at home, this dish is amazing to gorge on at a restaurant.

14. Pork and Shrimp Shumai

This is one of our favorite dim sum options. It is made by putting the shumai in cabbage-lined steamers. The steamers cook the dumplings thoroughly without drying them out. It is also to modify the recipe to make gyoza, but we really think that this version is one of the best.

15. Honey Garlic Chicken

This dish includes honey, garlic and chicken. What more could you ask for? Remember though—this tends to be made a little spicy. If you have a low spice tolerance, you should always talk with your server first to make sure that you do not get any unwelcome surprises.

16. Chinese Pork With Noodles

When it comes to your dinner, your most basic option is fried noodles or fried rice. You can’t go wrong with Chinese pork with noodles. This delicious recipe is so good that you could eat it for essentially every meal without getting tired of it. It is also another one of the options that still tastes great as leftovers.

17. Kung Pao Chicken

If you love spiciness, then this is the dish for you. You can ask to have it made even spicier, but it will already leave your mouth watering with spice. This dish is certainly one of the more popular options at Chinese restaurants.

18. Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

Bear with us on this one. We know that the West tends to avoid using oyster sauce on anything, but this dish will make you change your mind. Toss a few vegetables in with the broccoli, add some oyster sauce, blend in a few unique flavors, and you have a dish that you will gobble down in seconds.

19. Sesame Chicken

If you like sweeter options, go with the honey chicken we mentioned before. For something a little less sweet, the sesame chicken is sure to please.

20. Beef Lo Mein

You can order just lo mein, but we think that adding beef to it gives the dish an added flavor. Plus, it gives you the protein that you need to really feel full. You probably won’t have too much of a problem feeling full though because this dish is good enough to eat down to the last bite.

Here are 11 Best Asian Recipes You Must Try At Home

1. Asian BBQ Chicken

Fire up your grill! Marinated in char siu and flavored with honey, spruce up our slightly sweet yet tangy recipe with some fried rice.

2. Vietnamese Dumplings

Easy-to-follow and just delectable, make these steamed dumplings stuffed with minced pork and mushrooms. Team them with spicy chilly garlic sauce and enjoy.

3. Burmese Khao Suey

Garnish this one-pot meal with fried garlic, onion, peanuts, the works! And with a generous squeeze of lime, you'll have this Burmese delicacy bursting with authentic flavors in no time.

4. Grilled Fish with South-East Asian Dressing

Grilled to perfection and made with sesame oil, serve these melt-in-your-mouth fish fillets with a tangy dressing, this fish preparation is every fish lover's delight.

5. Chilli Chicken

Indo-Chinese and just divine, skip the take-out and savour this boneless chilli chicken in the comfort of your home. Team it with fried rice or just have it stand-alone, this spicy and delectable dish is a show-stealer. 6. Thai Fish Curry

Impress your guests no end with this ambrosial Thai green curry, cooked with coconut and tenderly cooked fish. Spicy, easy and nothing short of spectacular!

7. Diced Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

Chicken lovers, raise your hand! A favourite of many, this chicken dish is cooked with peppers and loaded with chilli. Serve on a bed of egg fried rice or noodles, and you're good to go.

8. Japanese Prawn Tempura

Crispy, crunchy and just perfect- This prawn tempura can get any party started! Serve with soya sauce and be the star of the evening.

9. Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

Simply scrumptious and topped with almonds, healthy and heavenly - this chicken salad is your new favourite. Chicken is counted among the best sources of lean protein. Protein helps induce the feeling of satiety, which further prevents you from bingeing. This eventually helps facilitate weight loss.

10. Hazelnut Asian Lettuce Wrap

Wrapped in Romaine lettuce and spruced up with coleslaw, you just can't get enough of this zesty chicken recipe.

11. Stir Fried Udon Noodle With Black Peeper Sauce

Udon is thick wheat flour noodle used extensively in Japanese cuisine. This flavoursome preparation is made in a delectable black pepper sauce and also packs the fresh goodness of bell peppers, mock duck and a host of other toothsome ingredients. Wholesome and delicious, this is a perfect recipe for a cozy dinner party

Try these delicious Asian recipes and tell us which ones did you enjoy the most in our comments section below.

10 Better-From-Scratch Chinese-Takeout Favorites

There are some cravings that only that iconic white box of Chinese-American takeout will satisfy. We're no strangers to the stuff—many's the night we've spent in front of the TV, inhaling a truly shocking amount of beef with broccoli and fried rice. But, as much as we love the ease and convenience of calling in our favorite dishes from the neighborhood spot—ideally while riding the train on the way home, so the food is five minutes away once we walk in the door—homemade versions of takeout standbys are not only possible but often tastier than the originals they copy.

Especially if you're not blessed with a really good Chinese-American restaurant close by, having the recipes to make your own sesame chicken or crab rangoons can open up a whole world of fun dinner options to scratch that very specific itch. Here are our DIY takes on 10 staples of Chinese takeout, including General Tso's and kung pao chicken, scallion pancakes, vegetable chow mein, and more.

The 19 Best Places For Chinese Food in Austin

1. Wu Chow

Wu Chow is an Austin restaurant serving up authentic Chinese food in a quintessential Austin farm-to-table setting. Here, you can indulge in all eight different styles of Chinese cuisine &mdash including amazing soup dumplings &mdash and don&rsquot miss the dim sum service every Sunday.

2. TC Noodle House

This Teochew eatery offers a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese flavors in a family-owned environment that is welcoming and friendly. Select from a wide range of culinary options including vegan and veggies dishes as well as fried noodles, porridge, and seafood.

3. Din Ho Chinese BBQ

It wouldn&rsquot be a list about Austin if there wasn&rsquot a BBQ option. Chow down on Chinese classics including Beijing duck, roasted pork belly, and quails in special salt or opt for something with a touch of American influence like the General Tso chicken or orange chicken.

4. A + A Sichuan China

Located in the Galleria Oaks Plaza, this Chinese restaurant is a spicy food lover&rsquos dream. The menu focuses heavily on Sichuan-style Chinese food with a wide array of soups, fried rice dishes, dry pot meals, and seafood delicacies. Try the famous Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles or one of the Hot Pot plates for an authentic meal.

5. New Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Located in the Chinatown Center, this restaurant is one of several excellent Chinese dining options in the area. The dim sum menu is one of the most extensive in the city and you can dine in or order takeout. The huge banquet dining area is the perfect spot to enjoy a clay pot dish, wonton appetizers, or tasty soup dumplings.

6. Lin Asian Bar

Lin Asian bar focuses on crafting traditional Chinese cuisine using healthier ingredients under the guidance of Chef Ling who has worked in restaurants in New York City. Sunday brunch features a full dim sum menu and all dishes are made using locally sourced ingredients.

7. Julie&rsquos Noodles

Julie&rsquos started out as a food truck on the university campus and has now evolved into a full sit-down restaurant on Research Boulevard. Famed for their handmade noodle soups and dumplings, this restaurant is the perfect spot to indulge in all the classic Chinese favorites from wontons and fried rice to chow mein and spicy dishes.

8. Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

Shanghai Restaurant offers Cantonese food including roast duck, chicken feet, and dumplings along with weekend dim sum specials. For an appetizer, try the Shumai and follow it up with the steamed BBQ pork buns.

9. Chinatown
2712 Bee Caves Rd #124 | 3407 Greystone Dr | 107 West 5th St

Chinatown offers three locations including one in Westlake, North Austin, and downtown Austin. Owner Ronald Cheng has been serving Chinese specialties in Austin for more than 25 years. Often considered the gold standard of Chinese food in Austin, the dumplings and dim sum service here use the freshest ingredients and are presented in a friendly atmosphere.

10. Fat Dragon

Fat Dragon offers dumplings, ramen, and other Japanese and Chinese culinary specialties. All the dumplings are hand made from scratch, combining traditional culinary techniques with a focus on fresh ingredients and innovative flavors.

11. Chen Z Noodle House

As the name indicates, this Austin restaurant is focused on serving traditional Chinese noodles. Try the Moo Shu style dishes or the Egg Foo Young and don&rsquot miss the scallion pancakes.

12. Sichuan River

Located in South Austin, Sichuan River offers a range of beef, lamb, poultry, pork, and seafood dishes with traditional sides including fried rice and noodles. No visit to a Sichuan restaurant is complete without trying the mapo tofu. In addition to delicious food, this restaurant also offers bubble tea, yogurt drinks, and smoothies.

13. Rice Bowl Café

The Rice Bowl café is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Austin if you&rsquore looking for the most bang for your buck. The portions here are enormous and filling whether you opt for a rice or noodle dish or a main entrée like the home-style bean curd. The floor to ceiling windows also make this café a great spot to hang out with a view.

14. Ho Ho Chinese BBQ

You know a Chinese restaurant is going to be good when you walk in and see live lobsters and fresh meat hanging by the kitchen. Dine amongst aquariums filled with florescent, exotic fish as you enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine with BBQ influences. Diners rave about the beef flat noodles, the roast duck, and the hot soups.

15. Bao&rsquod Up

Bao&rsquod Up specializes in Chinese comfort food from traditional Chinese beef noodle soup to exquisitely handcrafted bao &mdash steamed buns that are packed with sweet and savory fillings. At this restaurant, you&rsquoll also find boba, guabao, and Asian snacks. Try the brisket baozi featuring spicy brisket, onions, and red pepper flakes or go for the traditional red bean baozi stuffed with sweet red adzuki bean paste and sesame seeds.

16. Asia Cafe

The Asia Café is located in North Austin and features a dining room as well as an Asia grocery store where you can find ingredients to whip up your own Chinese cuisine at home. Try the spicy fish filet, the spicy honeycomb, or the twice-cooked pork.

17. First Chinese BBQ

The First Chinese BBQ menu is heavily focused on Cantonese cuisine with their standout dishes consisting mainly of barbecued meats such as duck, beef tendon, and pork. Satisfy your craving for authentic Chinese food with the beef flat noodles and the wonton noodle soup.

18. Xian Sushi and Noodle

Owners Ting and Ye stated this Chinese restaurant to share their love of noodles and sushi dishes. The noodle dishes are all made using hand-pulled noodles while the sushi dishes feature fresh ingredients from shrimp and spicy tuna to eel and lobsters.

19. Old Thousand

Located in East Austin, Old Thousand takes authentic Chinese food and puts a modern spin on things. The first sign of this modern innovation is the company&rsquos logo featuring a panda bear wearing a blinged-out crown and gold chain around its neck. The menu features mainly Americanized Chinese dishes along with a large cocktail menu and happy hour selection.

23 Best Chinese Chicken Recipes

1. Pineapple Chicken

Aromatically sweet and sour, this chicken dish uses pineapple and pantry staples to liven up any weeknight.

Get the recipe: Pineapple Chicken

Tender chicken, crunchy veggies, and a heavenly sauce are sublime over steamed rice.

Get the recipe: Chicken Chop Suey

Full-flavored chicken fried rice is what you’ve been craving from your local Chinese takeout. Made with juicy chicken and whatever veggies you have at home, it’s a super-fast meal!

Get the recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

Let your Instant Pot work for you for fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy chicken in a fraction of the time over roasting.

Add a little kick to your roasted chicken through Sichuan peppercorns and black tea for juicy meat with a wonderful aroma.

An easy dish with that rich brown sauce you crave envelops tender chicken and broccoli for restaurant-style food fast.

Get the recipe: Chicken and Broccoli

Just like they serve in the Sichuan Province, this shredded chicken dish will surprise and delight with a nutty, spicy, tangy and sweet flavor all in one.

Get the recipe: Bang Bang Chicken

If you’re a fan of this takeout dish, make it yourself perfectly crispy and bold in flavor without deep-frying.

Get the recipe: General Tso’s Chicken

This popular Taiwanese chicken dish is often deep-fried but this recipe gives you the same great flavor in a healthier cooking method.

Seared chicken is sauced with fragrant black beans and tender green beans, perfect for topping on steamed white rice.

Get the recipe: String Bean Chicken

Juicy mushrooms, tender chicken, and crispy bamboo shoots come together in this classic Panda Express-inspired simple weeknight meal.

Honey chicken is such a popular Chinese takeout dish, but it’s even better when you skip the deep-frying like this recipe!

Dinner is on in 15 minutes with fat noodles, tender chicken, crisp veggies, and a wonderful aromatic sauce that ties it all together.

Get the recipe: Chicken Chow Fun

A savory, smoky sauce unites chicken and vegetables in this restaurant-style dish.

Get the recipe: Black Pepper Chicken

A chicken dish so delectable that Singapore claims it as its own, perfect for impressing guests!

With a gingery, garlicky sauce, cashew chicken is a favorite recipe you can now make at home.

Get the recipe: Cashew Chicken

Learn how to make the same sweet and sour chicken as your local Chinese restaurant without the need for deep-frying it.

Get the recipe: Sweet and Sour Chicken

All you need is one pan to make this impressive chicken dish that’s colorful and flavorful with a peanut butter and coconut-based sauce.

Get the recipe: African Chicken

The perfect chicken dish for those that can’t get enough spicy stuff!

Get the recipe: Mala Chicken

Crispy skin and juicy meat are the perfect centerpiece for any meal with this delicious roast chicken.

21. Three Cup Chicken

A mouth-watering Taiwanese recipe for sweet, sticky-glazed aromatic chicken.

Get the recipe: Three Cup Chicken

Juicy chicken covered with crispy skin pairs perfectly with a partner of flavorful rice!

Crispy-textured wings with a spicy and savory heat are perfect for gatherings or dinner any time.

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What’s that brown sauce in Chinese takeout?

Why does your attempt at home-cooked Chinese always taste different from takeout? Let’s start with the fact that Chinese restaurants cook with commercial gas stoves that are far hotter than home burners, about 10 times the thermal output. Chances are you’re also not adding MSG powder to your dishes, which—while it won’t cause headaches —means your Chinese food won’t have its idiosyncratic savoriness.

But there’s one other major element likely missing from your at-home Chinese cooking, and it’s one that would most closely replicate the food you enjoy from cardboard cartons. Ever notice how much of Chinese takeout is held together by a semi-viscous, glossy brown gravy? It’s found in broccoli beef, chow mein noodles, anything kung pao’d or General Tso’d. It is the essential secret: the all-purpose stir-fry sauce.

“This is the Chinese mother sauce,” says Martin Yan, America’s most-recognizable ambassador to Chinese food and host of public television’s Yan Can Cook.

Variations on the gravy abound throughout China, from a darker soy used around Beijing to a white pepper and light-dark soy combination in the Cantonese South to Sichuan’s addition of chili and sesame oils. But in its most basic form, Yan says, “There’s broth, soy sauce, sugar, a touch of wine, and some sort of thickener.” He adds that said thickener can be corn, tapioca, or potato starch—whatever will help the sauce “lightly cling onto proteins and vegetables.”

For Yan’s own recipe for an all-purpose Chinese brown sauce, he suggests stir-frying any meat, vegetable, or tofu, then adding it into the wok to finish. You can also use this over noodles or rice. Cardboard carton optional.

Martin Yan’s All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce

½ cup canned chicken broth
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. light soy sauce
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp. water

Combine the broth, wine, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and white pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

Place a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the seasoning from the bowl and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until the sauce boils and thickens, about one minute. Store in a covered container in the fridge the sauce will keep for up to one week.

Although this dish (probably) won't fix all your familial problems, it can help solve any arguments about which meat to get. This dish includes chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops, and assorted vegetables. There's something for everyone in the family and the elements actually complement each other nicely.

Although the word crab may scare some people, this delicious appetizer contains mostly cream cheese. The crisp exterior with a creamy interior leads to an exquisite contrast of texture. While these are great with takeout, when eaten fresh they're unbeatable. If you don't want to order takeout, you can easily make your own crab rangoon.

Recipe Instructions

To make the BBQ sauce, stir together the garlic, pineapple, ground star anise, salt, sugar, honey, peanut oil, hoisin sauce, ground bean sauce, tomato puree or paste, ketchup, five spice powder, orange juice, white pepper, and paprika.

In a zip-loc bag, add the ribs and half the sauce. Either marinate them overnight, or for 4-6 hours with a little extra sauce. Store the leftover sauce for later use.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan lined with heavy duty foil for easy clean-up.

Add about 2 cups of water to the pan so there is about a half inch of water. Place a roasting rack on top of the pan and place your spare ribs on the rack (rib side up) and place in your preheated oven.

Roast for 30 minutes. Flip the racks over and roast for another 45-60 minutes.

Add water to the roasting pan as the water dries up during the roasting process. If you like, you can finish them with a couple minutes under the broiler.

Serve these BBQ Chinese spare ribs right out of the oven after they have cooled enough to eat. They are at their best fresh out of the oven!

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