There are tons of amazing restaurants in our city, but sometimes I want nothing more than some good old-fashioned (Americanized) Chinese food. When you're craving an egg roll, you're craving an egg roll; you know what I mean?
On a recent Friday night, my fiancé and I needed a quick spot to grab dinner before a Dave Attell show at the Comedy Improv...and I was not eating at Red Robin or Dave & Buster's -- mainly because I am not 15 and my parents did not just drop me off at the mall to troll for boys. Since I'm always looking for new Chinese takeout spots, we decided to try out Golden Hunan on the way to the show -- and I am happy to say that we've found a new addition to our lazy-night takeout rotation.
No, the menu isn't particularly adventurous, but the restaurant manages to do the classics right. We started with steamed dumplings ($5.99 for eight) and ordered two combination platters to split: the chicken & broccoli ($9.99) and General Tso's ($10.99). And since it was only 99 cents (and you can sell me mostly anything for under $1), we each added on a wonton soup.
I'm all about the dumplings -- so when our waiter warned us they'd take 20 minutes to prepare, I knew we were in the right spot. Now at least we had an excuse for ordering the soups; we crushed crunchy fried wonton strips into the tasty wonton soups and bided our time until the real stars arrived.
The made-to-order treats were worth the wait -- plump and filled with a flavor-packed, ginger-laced beef (an unusual but enjoyable substitute for the more classic pork filling) and cabbage. The dough was just thick enough to give the dumplings bite, which is something I always crave in a fresh-made pasta. I drizzled each delicately wrapped morsel with spicy chile oil before dunking them (perhaps several times) into the vinegar-punched soy sauce that accompanied the plate.
Soon after the dumpling massacre that had taken place at our table, the combination platters arrived. With separate compartments for fried rice, eggs rolls, garlic- and butter-drenched vegetables (which is not a complaint but rather a compliment), and the main event -- our chicken entrées -- they looked like beautiful Chinese versions of the Japanese bento box. The restaurant definitely gives you your money's worth.
We soon decided that the chicken & broccoli -- coated lovingly in a thick, slightly sweet and garlic-kicked brown sauce -- was the better dish of the two. Luckily, there was more than enough to share. The General Tso's, while not my favorite version of the classic around town, was fair enough. Next time, though, we agreed we'd opt for something else - perhaps a chef's special or, even better, one of the restaurant's diet dishes (considering we started out our meal with deep-fried dough dipped into a broth filled with dough, then followed it with more meat-filled dough, it couldn't hurt).
And I can say that there will definitely be a next time for us and Golden Hunan -- likely involving delivery, pajamas and a bottle of wine.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.