~Post by Asia Guy
There are many Chinese restaurants in Salem. My quest is to find authentic Chinese food in Salem that I don’t have to cook myself, or drive to Portland to eat. In this case, my definition of authentic is food that a person from China might eat or at least recognize, and definitely not the Americanized version of Chinese food that is found in most restaurants. However, finding the real thing in Salem is not easy, but I accept this mission and am on the case.
I started my job by hitting the streets. My first stop was at Chan’s at 2290 Fairgrounds Road. I have never been in this place, but have often driven by. It is intriguing to me because it has a “hole in the wall” look to it that sometimes, at least in my experience, yields great, traditional, food.
Not the case as the menu was much of the same standard stuff geared toward Americans that you see at many Chinese eateries. They do have a Special House Dinner for $11.95 per person that leaves the food selection to the host for an “authentic multi-course Chinese gourmet meal”. Maybe I will give this a go sometime. .
My next stop was at Blooming Cuisine in Keizer. The very nice waitress of the very empty restaurant told me that the authentic food I was looking for was not at her restaurant, and that she only served Chinese food that Americans like. The food I wanted, she said, was what Chinese people eat, and that I would be best to look for it in Portland. But I don’t want to drive to Portland!
Up the road is John’s Chinese restaurant, and I have read good things about this place. It was lunchtime and they were busy, but the waitress told me that they did not serve authentic dishes. However, she did give me a recommendation of a place that might just be what I was looking for. At last, a break in the case!
I head South on Commercial and drive past Great Wall Chinese Buffet. I do encourage driving past Great Wall Buffet without stopping. I acknowledge this place has plenty of fans, but hordes of people milling around unlimited quantities of average food is just too much.
My destination was Hong Kong House Chinese Restaurant and Lounge at 3583 Commercial St SE. The building is not attractive on the outside, and is dimly lit on the inside, but this place does serve some authentic Chinese food. Of course, there are plenty of standard, gloppy Americanized and American dishes on the menu, but you can’t fault the management for wanting to make a buck.
Start with Dim Sum which are Chinese tea house specialties. Shrimp Har Gow is a delicate dumpling that pops with flavor once in the mouth. Other choices include Normy Gai which is sweet rice, Chinese sausage, BBQ pork, and mushrooms all stuffed in a lotus leaf and steamed. More obscure items include beef tripe and stewed chicken feet. Many other choices abound in the vast world of Dim Sum, so take your time and explore them all. This is the real deal!
Seaweed with Chicken soup sounds good, and so do Fish Maw and Crab Meat Soup. I opt for Wor Won Ton Soup with super sized wonton, heavenly broth, BBQ pork, and baby bok choy.
Seafood and Bean Curd Ceramic Pot takes some time to prepare, but is well worth the wait. The casserole is packed with shrimp, scallops, squid, and a very soft, round tofu in a light sauce. Beef Chow Fun cooked Hong Kong Style is fantastic tasting and gorgeous to look at with wide rice noodles cooked to smoky perfection beneath stir fried beef and crispy vegetables,
There are many excellent dishes at this restaurant, and if you require assistance choosing, the owner will be gladly point you in the right direction. Trust me, if it is authentic Chinese food you want, don’t waste the gas driving to Portland, stay in Salem. Hong Kong House Restaurant has what you need and it is good.
Case closed and mission accomplished!
Hong Kong House Chinese Restaurant and Lounge
3583 Commercial St SE
Salem, Oregon 97302
Hrs. 11am-10pm- 7 days a week.