First China

First China RestaurantNew Year’s Day found us restless, hungry, and sick of leftover turkey. We were in the mood for large mammal and my mouth was salivating for a hatch green chili cheeseburger. So we drove to Shady Grove for lunch but apparently we weren’t the only ones tired of turkey. The line was out the door. Next we agreed on Hut’s but it was closed. We walked toward Katz’s but the line spilled out onto Sixth Street.

We were all tired, hungry, and frustrated. I wanted to go home but AJ was determined to press on. I remember there’s some Chinese food place on South Lamar that I got a flyer for. We find it south of Half Price Books in the same strip mall where the old Walgreens was. The location looked unpromising but the interior turned out to be quite nice with cloth tablecloths. The music playing added to our enjoyment. I hate background music when it intrudes on the foreground; at Ichiban, for example, I find the 70s pop music quite jarring. But at First China the music complemented the meal; JQS described it as sounding sort of like the Lord of the Rings soundtrack if done by a Chinese composer and orchestra.

Although we arrived quite late in the afternoon, lunch was still being served. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. The lunch specials are 1980s prices…$4.95 to $5.95. The portions are substantial. As hungry as we were, neither JQS or I finished ours and we all agreed our choices were delicious. I had shrimp with garlic sauce. The food wasn’t smothered in that thick, overly sweet sauce that plagues so many Chinese restaurants. The vegetables were fresh and crisp.

A week later I took another friend there for lunch and he, too, was impressed. Last Friday night, AJ and I went over for dinner. Once again. The prices were reasonable. The service friendly. The food delicious. But it was 7:PM on Friday night and we were the only ones there.

I finally find a Chinese restaurant convenient to my house with yummy food and great prices. I don’t want it to go out of business. So please, people. Help me out! Go over there and try it. After you do, if can tell me where to find better Chinese food for the money near downtown Austin, let me in on the secret.

First China
3005 S Lamar Ste 105
Austin TX 78704
Delivery/Takeout: 445-6466

According to the flyer, the chef is Rocky Chang who used to cook at Austin restaurants The Beijing Emporium and Hsin Yuan.

3 Comments so far

  1. Rantor (unregistered) on February 4th, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

    Thanks so much for posting about this place. We haven’t been there since it changed hands and we lost the little doorknob-hanger. I think that Rocky Chang was also at China Palace for a while.


  2. Melissa Tyler (unregistered) on February 5th, 2007 @ 6:02 am

    Ah, you mean they don’t cover it with canned sauce and call it finished? Definitely worth a try, then. Someone told me that “American Restaurant Chinese” is a new classification of cuisine (I’m not positive about the exact nomenclature, I’ll have to double-check, but I think it is ARC) … it has nothing to do with anything but what comes out of the cans. I look forward to trying First China.


  3. allen (unregistered) on February 5th, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

    good choice! we get delivery from these guys at least once a week. they might or might not be on my speed dial.



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