China Wok Does Not Disappoint

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Alexis Bechman/Roundup

China Wok owner Kent Chen stands with Sandy Howery and Leonie Dobbins, owner of the Red Elephant Bakery, who made three custom cakes, including a pagoda for the restaurant’s grand opening May 20.

In only seven weeks, owner Kent Chen has managed to convert the old Country Kitchen in the Bashas’ Shopping Center into a vibrant and tasty Chinese buffet restaurant where you can eat-in or take out.

If you are looking for good Chinese food, you will not be disappointed by China Wok, which opened May 21 at 210 E. Highway 260.

Many of the restaurant’s more than 75 items on its daily all-you-can-eat buffet, turned out to be quite appetizing, most guests reported.

On opening night, the modern restaurant with red booths and traditional Chinese restaurant décor opened to much fanfare. A line started well outside of the building and extended inside.

Janeice and Tom Rodman, who drove up from Tonto Basin, said all of the food was delicious.

“It was nice to have so many unusual dishes like bamboo, lobster and crab legs,” Janeice said. “I think they’ll do very well and we’ll definitely come back.”

When you visit the restaurant, you have two options, you can either order off the menu or pick the all-you-can-eat buffet, which starts at $8.50 for dinner and $6.50 for lunch.

Most people chose the buffet on opening night, opting to try a little bit of everything. For starters, I loaded my first plate up with crab wontons, chicken skewers, sweet and sour chicken, fried shrimp, white rice and a bowl of egg drop soup.

Everything tasted as it should from a Chinese restaurant, the soup had the right amount of egg, the chicken was moist with no fatty surprises, the wontons were crispy and the grilled chicken skewers were delightful.

The only questionable dish was the lobster tail, which was covered in a cream sauce and breading. Once you peeled away the slimy outer layer, the inside was unshelled lobster tail with only a bit of real lobster meat.

Looking around at other people, most everyone had cleaned their plates and were going back for seconds.

Although the ice cream machine was not plugged in on opening night, dessert was provided from the Red Elephant Bakery. Owner Leonie Dobbins brought three custom cakes. A sugar-free chocolate cake with agave syrup, a vanilla sheet cake with almond butter frosting and an amazing pagoda cake.

The cakes were wonderful and made us wish the Red Elephant provided dessert every night.

For Chen, this is the second China Wok he has opened, with another in Show Low.

Chen said he managed the entire project and only had a one-week delay.

“It feels great that we finally got it done,” he said. “I have met so many nice people who helped us, I just can’t remember everyone.”

With the success of Show Low and Payson, Chen said he already has plans to open another location in Phoenix in six months. For more information, call China Wok at 474-6888.

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