Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cheng's Chinese

Very mediocre--at best--that's how I'd describe my visit to Cheng's Chinese recently. I have been looking for really good Chinese food in central Florida, but did not find it here. I probably will not go back for dinner, though rumor is that they have a nice lunch buffet--maybe I'll try that some day.

My friend Tommy and I went to Cheng's on a somewhat rainy Sunday afternoon. We were one of three tables there, though the others were finishing up. We both ordered combination meals.

The Egg rolls were very good and very hot! They had a nice crisp exterior with fresh napa cabbage and other vegetables inside, and quite full. They were indeed good, but probably the high point of my meal, unfortunately.

For soup I had the Hot N Sour soup. I love Hot N Sour soup and am always on a quest for the best, but this soup fell far short. It was not terrible, but was missing on the sour part--it needed some more acid. And there was a very pervasive taste of chicken broth, to the point of distracting from the other flavors. I would not order this again. My favorite remains the Hot N Sour at Lee's Palace, just a few miles away.
My friend Tommy had the Won Ton soup and I had a taste. It was OK and also a bit on the chickeny side. But it was good, just not more than ordinary, however.
For my entree I had the General Tso's chicken, advertised as "spicy" (and not pictured here).  It was not spicy at all, or just barely. And the chicken was downright tough and stringy. I thought "this is an old bird." The meat seemed to be mainly dark meat, the sauce covering it was very sweet, too sweet, and quite thick, almost to the point of pasty. It just was not all that good.

Tommy had the sesame chicken. It seemed to me to be the same dish I had with an overyly sweet, pasty sauce. The difference being some sesame seeds thrown on the top of his, whereas mine had a few chili peppers in the sauce. Other than that, they were identical, down to the chewiness and toughness/stringiness of the chicken. I would not recommend this, nor my dish, to anyone.

We both had the pork-fried rice that came with our combo dinners. It was spectacularly bland and ordinary. The rice did not appear very fresh, the pork practically non-existent, and pretty much devoid of much flavor at all. When mixed with some hot mustard or soy sauce, at least there was mustard or soy sauce flavor. Otherwise, it was just bland, bland, and bland.

Overall, Cheng's Chinese is a nice-looking place inside. It looks like your typical Chinese restaurant with a nice atmosphere. The only thing I found lacking was authentic Chinese flavor and cooking in the food. That's too bad. I sure hope this was chef's day off, because if this is what they normally serve, then people of Lake Mary have no clue as to what good Chinese food is all about!   
Cheng's Chinese on Urbanspoon


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