China is a nation with a multitude of culinary traditions stretching back thousands of years. In comparison, Phoenix has been around since last Tuesday and we should all be thankful that some of what's good over there can be found over. here. A word of advice: If you want to embark on a true eating adventure, borrow a food savvy and linguistically inclined Chinese friend. Doing so will open up a world of possibilities via "secret" Chinese menus.
10. Tott's Asian Diner
It has been postulated that there exists an inverse relationship between the quality of food at an Asian restaurant and the quality of the service. The staff at Tott's apparently never got that memo because their food is good and their service is phenomenal. Making a weekday take-out order? Let them know when you expect to get there and they'll time their cooking so the food comes out just as you come in to pick it up.
This is a restaurant that is too busy turning out top-notch traditional Chinese food to give a damn about decorating with a tasteful fan collection. Earlier we said you should bring someone to help navigate the Chinese menu? That advice goes double here. Once you're off the safe all-English reservation you'll be in what our food critic described as "choose your own adventure" territory. You'll have eggrolls large enough to kill a man, things with squid, things with their heads still attached, things made with things that your server will have difficulty describing in English. But you know what? That's how Chinese food is supposed to be experienced.
8. Asian Cafe Express
If you're a regular reader then you'll likely be familiar with some variation of the following phrase, "Located in a non-descript strip mall." Asian Cafe Express surprises no one by fitting that description to the letter. It might not look like much from outside but inside you'll find you can order incredibly cheap Hong Kong-style Chinese off a menu that can only be described as sprawling. Their Chinese only menu is so good it might be worth ordering at random off of it just so you can broaden your horizons a little.
7. George & Son's Asian Cuisine
If you're craving less than traditional Chinese food but would like to avoid dining at certain soulless corporate restaurant chains, head towards Scottsdale. George & Son's features an Asian Fusion menu that nonetheless trends toward takes on classic Chinese dishes. "George's Seafood Pockets" sound like a knockoff hot pocket but taste like a traditional scallion pancake stuffed with the very tastiest seafood. If you'd like to waddle home, be sure to check out their high quality buffet.
8056 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, AZ