China Faith

N and I deserve a badge, or at the very least a double chocolate chip cookie--we ignored an empty parking lot, ventured into a new to us restaurant and lived to tell about it. As a matter of fact, we'll probably return.

It's been a long time since we've been greeted with, "ah, you're new here.". A definite sign of restaurant owners who have regulars and make the effort to remember them. During our meal, there were about 5 people who came to pick-up to-go orders. At first I thought they were being ignored, but then realized she was putting their order together in a box, without needing to ask their name.

China Faith is unremarkable on both the inside and outside. The exterior is a well kept box of a building situated on Lancaster and the interior is standard for an older Chinese restaurant--clean, but a little worn around the edges. Although I'm pretty sure I've never seen origami crafted from one dollar bills displayed in the glass case by a cash register before.


Another good sign: the tea was hot and it wasn't weak. Plus we didn't have to ask for a new pot, she checked it when she brought our dinner. N and I settled down to look over the menu. Our waitress/owner heard me mention "potstickers" and said she'd put in the order right away, as they take awhile to prepare. We both decided to order one of their specialties: for me, "Double Happiness: sliced beef and chicken combined with vegetables in our rich black bean sauce", for N "Sizzling Shrimp and Chicken: shrimp and chicken sauteed with vegetables and served on a hot platter". I opted for steamed white rice, while N chose fried rice to accompany his meal.

Both of us enjoyed our shared appetizers and entrees. The pot stickers were steamed and fried just right, complementing the flavor of the filling. We appreciated that the plum dipping sauce wasn't overly sweet. At the end of our meal, I told N that the flavors reminded me of Chinese/American dishes we've made at home. Although, the Double Happiness was a little heavy on the celery, the black bean sauce had some nice flavors going on without being too salty or sweet. Even with the absence of cheese or gravy, I'd characterize this as comfort food, because that's what I felt after she packed up our leftovers and told us good-bye.

(Click here to see their menu.)
1812 Lancaster Dr. NE (N of Market St.)
503 581-2023
Mon.-Thurs.11AM-9PM
Fri. 11 AM-10PM
Sat. 11:30AM-10PM
Sun. 11:30AM-9PM


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dare you to try Moy's Kitchen on State Street near Sybil's. The parking lot is always empty. I read a few reviews on-line and they were less than flattering. How/why does a place stay in business when no one ever eats there?

KandN said...

Anon, That's okay, I'll pass on that one. I have been told by several people that China Faith is a nice little spot that they return to over and over. I've never heard one peep about Moy's.

Chuck Bradley said...

Good call KandN! I looked at my old notes (or mor accurately note) on Moy's Kitchen. It consisted of one word. "Dirty!"

There are so many good Chinese, or if you prefer, Americanized Chinese places in Salem, there's no reason to waste your time on this one.

Here are my notes on my last July 29, 2010 visit to China Faith:

She who must be obeyed was away this evening, so I was on my own for dinner. I hadn't been to China Faith in many years so I returned tonight. I ordered General Tao's Chicken. I described my Scoville Heat Unit tolerance, as best I could, to my server. She recommended "Hot" on spiciness and was right on the money. Several local Chinese places use only breast meat for this dish, which is my preference. I requested fried rice on the side. The food was good, but the really stand-out component of my visit was the service. As my southern friends might say "You ain't gonna believe this!" I noticed their display included Tsingtao beer (which is one of my favorite Lagers) in 12 oz. bottles. I have found it in several specialty markets in the area, but only in 22 oz bottles, which is about a 10 oz. greater contribution to my prodigious waistline than it really needs. I asked my server who her supplier is. She not only told me about a previously undiscovered Asian market, but called them to make sure they had it in stock! Now I ask you, how many waitpersons would go the "Extra mile" like this?

tracylee said...

Years ago, when my ex was working... he and his best friend would go to China Faith for lunch weekly because it was the cheapest lunch in town. I never joined them, but as I recall, the only complaint was the very young daughter of one of the waitresses sitting at their table and generally being a nuisance.

jeff said...

I seem to remember that there is a bagel and soup place around China Faith that is supposed to be pretty good for lunch.
Ah yes (Google,google,google...) Rolling Bagel. Urbanspoon reviews indicates that the quality has nosedived this past year apparently...
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/276/1217878/restaurant/Rolling-Bagels-Fountain-Salem

KandN said...

Jeff, I was surprised to see Rolling Bagels tucked back in behind China Faith, with a handful of other businesses. The last I remember (how many years has it been??) they tried to make a go of it downtown.

DeeDeeDiner said...

Rolling bagels---in my opinion---are the best bagels anywhere in the area. KandN, you are right that they were downtown---it must have been 15 years ago.I used to buy them at Roth's Vista and was so disappointed when they stopped carrying them. I thought they went out of business and was delighted to find them again last year. If you want to buy a dozen or more, it is wise to call the day before and place an order.

Caitlin Seaton said...

Another "don't judge a book by it's cover" Chinese place in Salem is Lucky Fortune on Lancaster. They have the most amazing Hot and Sour soup I have ever had! I first had it about 3 years ago and I still to this day get a big (3-5 bowls) to go order of it every time I get a cold. It works better than chicken soup to help you get rid of it. Plus they are the only Chinese restaurant I have found in Salem with good, timely, accurate delivery service. Not take-out, honest to goodness, drive to your house and hand it to you delivery.

Anonymous said...

China faith has always been great. I've been going there for over 8 years. Yes the owner always remembers your name and order. Oh and someone commented about some origami made out of dollar bills displayed at the registered case... It was actually made by the owner's oldest daughter. I thought it was very nice of them to display that for her. A lot of Asian restaurants put special family items or decorations in the glass cases under the register. Anyway, I stopped eating out so much a few years back and hadn't ordered from China Faith for about a year, but when I came back their food was just as wonderful as always : )