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Chiang's Gourmet

7845 Lake City Way N.E.
Seattle, WA
(206) 527-8888

Chiang's Gourmet is like a lot of other Chinese restaurants in Seattle-- you can get a lot more out of it if you put some effort into it. When I walked in I was offered a lunch menu with a lot of innocuous looking sweet and sour and kung pao dishes (although I actually like kung pao when it is done right). I had read on the Chowhound web site, though, that they specialize in Szechuan dishes, so I asked for the larger menu. I still did not see what I wanted, though, and when another person came to help me I found out they have a second dinner menu. After two other people came in, were offered the regular menu, and asked for the second menu, I got the impression that this particular waitress was not eager to volunteer the information that some additional authentic dishes were available. The manager was more helpful, as is probably the case with the majority of the employees.

The strange thing, though, is that both the dinner menu and the "secret" menu seemed to have some of the more authentic Chinese dishes. The regular menu had a section called "Szechuan Heaven" with items such as Crispy Pig's Intestine in Garlic and Hot Pepper. The second menu had hot pot dishes, although they are not identified as such.

I was told that Chiang's Gourmet serves both Szechuan style dishes and Cantonese, and that the cooks originated from both places. While many restaurants try to serve a wide range of dishes from different regions, it is impressive that Chiang's only tries to do what it can do best. It may not be very evident from the menus, but I believe this is the philosphy of the management.

Since I wanted to try the Szechuan side of the menu, the manager recommended a special hot pot dish. This was the type of "hot pot" I see in many restaurants-- the food is served in a ceramic pot to keep it warm. The item I ordered was House Special Home Made Soup Noodle that consisted of a huge bowl of dark red broth filled with shredded pork, shrimp, and noodles. Normally this would not be my choice for an order, but I was assured that this was one of the better Sichuanese dishes. The most impressive part of the dish was the freshness and quality of all the items. The pork and shrimp had a flavor that I seldom find in restaurants, and the noodles were delicious. The broth was prepared at the "default" level, which is not extremely spicy. I was given extra chile powder and chile paste on the side, though, and this helped the flavor immensely. Overall this was an excellent dish, and due more to its quality than the flavor, I suspect other dishes served here are quite good as well.

It might be a little hard to work around the menu since there are quite a few items, many of which are not normally found in Chinese restaurants. It is particularly hard when there are menus that they do not give you when you sit down. I also thought my dinner could have been made more spicy to begin with without having to add extra chiles on my own. Overall, though, Chiang's Gourmet seems to be one of the better Chinese restaurants in the city, as well as one of the most authentic. Other types of cuisine are available besides Szechuan, but I do not think there are very many opportunities to try Sichuanese food prepared as well as here.



Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Additional Location: 17650 140th Ave. S.E. (Renton)
Tea: Jasmine (brewed) House
MSG: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
May 22, 2006

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item
House Special Noodle Soup

Special Ratings
House Special Noodle Soup:

Restaurant Web Site
Chiang's Gourmet

Health Dept. Report
King County