Chinese movie, Chinese food

Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame is a spectacular extravaganza that has been in very limited release. Thank you, Alamo Drafthouse, for giving us the opportunity to see this wonderful movie, with a stellar cast directed by Tsui Hark and action choreography by Sammo Hung, in Mandarin with English subtitles.

Following this enthralling entertainment, we were inspired to check out Taste of China Express, 2510 South Congress, just south of Oltorf (telephone 326-8808). This is certainly one of the best values in town, allowing a choice of steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles, plus one entree for $4.99, two entrees for $5.99 (including soup and an egg roll), or three entrees for $6.99 (adding a beverage to soup and an egg roll). The entrees and rice or noodles are dished up in massive quantities for dining in or to take home, either picked up at the counter or at the busy drive-up window. Those willing to wait a bit may place orders for takeout from the larger menu, and entrees will be cooked to order.

For those dining in or for takeout patrons with time and money to make a selection beyond what’s ready on the spot, there are additional appetizers and many additional main courses. The hot and sour soup did offer flavor and heat; the egg rolls were like small spring rolls and we found them to be very appetizing. Today, we tried moo goo gai pan (among the vegetables were coins of fresh zucchini) and double cooked pork (the fresh carrots that were part of the dish were delicious). Next time, we’ll try the jalapeno chicken, that favorite of the massive buffets so popular these days.

Dishes that aren’t already prepared and ready in small quantities can be heard being cooked to order. Today’s ready entrees included sesame chicken, jalapeno chicken, shrimp wit vegetable, green beans with port, and others. The staff was jolly and peppy; among them is at least one fluent speaker of Spanish. Little samples of the ready dishes were offered on a toothpick for those wishing to try before ordering.

I found no Web presence for Taste of China. Its little menu says “Fast, Fresh, Tasty and Good Price,” which is a very fair assessment, particularly the quantity for the price.

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