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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Chinatown in Chamblee

Hong Kong BBQ, Chinatown - Chamblee

Hong Kong BBQ, Chinatown - Chamblee

Foodies who love Chinese cuisine have been going to the Buford Highway Chinatown shopping center/food court for years. It was renovated around the year 2000 and honestly, I can’t remember what it was like around then nor anytime earlier than 2003.

From time to time, I still pop in the attached Dinho Supermarket to pick up some hard-to-find Chinese ingredients. This shopping center also used to house Frank Ma’s Dinho Chinese Restaurant, which was some of the better Chinese food that was around Atlanta many years ago. Frank Ma was like the Peter Chang of the early 2000’s and would vanish and resurface just as frequently. The last place he popped up was a small eatery off Briarcliff Road, which was hot with foodies for a millisecond before Frank finally decided to hang it up altogether.

Anyways, there are quite a few things here one can explore and I have to admit I’m a relative novice to the shopping center compared to some fellow colleagues/bloggers.

One place most all of us agree on liking is Hong Kong BBQ. You can’t miss this place marked by soy glazed pork ribs, whole ducks and chickens (sans heads) hanging in a lit glass box. Foodies LOVE the dry beef chow fun which is a flavorful soy sautéed noodle dish with onions, beef and crunchy sprouts.

Soy sauce chicken and Bbq pork - Hong Kong BBQ, Chinatown

Soy sauce chicken and Bbq pork - Hong Kong BBQ, Chinatown

I’m also a big fan of Hong Kong BBQ’s soy sauce chicken (pictured above to the left), which not all of my friends tend to like due to it being served room temperature and bone-in. But if you can get pass those things, I highly recommend this dish. The same goes for the bbq pork (pictured above to the right) which is fried chunks of skin-on pork that will crackle in your mouth and complement the softer, succulent meat underneath.

Let’s see, what else is there in the food court? Oh yeah, there’s Chong Qing Hot Pot serving Sichuan style Chinese food, and was also the subject of one of my earlier stories here on this blog.

Shan city chicken and Dan dan noodles - Chong Qing Hot Pot, Chinatown

Shan City chicken and Dan dan noodles - Chong Qing Hot Pot, Chinatown

I haven’t explored a whole lot at Chong Qing, but I do like their take on the Shan City Chicken (pictured above to the left). Fried chicken + red chilies + Sichuan peppercorns = a mouth-numbing, sweat-inducing explosion of umami. I’ve also sampled a funky hot pot of offal, and a large bowl of dan dan noodles (pictured above to the right) which was ok. It’s a bowl of thick wheat noodles topped with seasoned minced pork, blanched greens and chili oil (mix it all together) – a bit tame in flavor compared to other places where it’s served.

That’s it as far as what I’ve sampled in the food court. There are a few other places that I haven’t tried yet. There is an American-Chinese restaurant, a dim sum eatery called Ocean Garden, and one other place whose menu is completely written in hànzì, or Chinese characters.

Full service Chinese restaurant also offering dim sum

Also around the corner is Royal China, a full service Chinese restaurant that also offers dim sum every day. I’ve had a regular meal there on a weekend night and have participated in their dim sum on one occasion.

Royal China’s menu is pretty extensive and it will probably take a few visits, or an outing with a large group to put a dent in it. Below are some pics of a few things that I’ve had there on one dim sum outing.

Congee (rice gruel) and shrimp shumai (steamed dumpling)

Congee (rice gruel) and shrimp shumai (steamed dumpling)

That’s all I got. Have you been to Chinatown? What else do you like? Anything to look for?

Tip: For dining in the food court, bring cash as some of these food stalls do not accept credit/debit cards. The ATM out front seems to always be out of cash or out of service. Hours vary depending on the restaurant in the food court. Check here for their standard hours and phone numbers.

Royal China, 11 a.m-10:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Dim sum served daily but more choices are offered during weekend hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. 3295 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee, 770-216-9933, $-$$.

Gene-Lee-Tagline- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.

32 comments Add your comment

Yuck

December 22nd, 2010
8:42 am

That stuff looks gross. i’ll stick to pf changs and my local place that is clean and i know what i am eating.

Chen

December 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

I am glad to see this. Atlanta is growing to be an international city with many things to offers. The food are so delicious. I can not wait to get it at lunch time. Horray!!!

Reds

December 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

@yuck… how i wish that was sarcasm. But I know it’s very likely not. S’ok. You keep your PF Changs. :)

Gene- that Chow fun looks so tasty. Congee, not so much, but i have an issue with grits, and anything wallpaper-pastey. ;) and i looooove shumai.

Edward

December 22nd, 2010
9:01 am

Thank you for reminding me of the Chinatown food court. It had been a while since I was over there, and now I’m anxious to get some chow fun and Shan City chicken :-)

dagnabit

December 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

Can I see directly into the kitchen at any of these places?

StephieZ

December 22nd, 2010
9:07 am

That Shan City chicken dish is AWESOME and super delicious!!! I also love the duck at Hong kong BBQ. MMHH!! So many good dishes in one spot.

Kirk

December 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

@ yuck, PFChang? WTF, That’s not what Chinese food is about. Have some fun and explore. I can’t remember any deaths from food poisoning on Buford Hwy.

@ Gene, Thanks for the ground work. Those peppers in the pic make me hungry!

luangtom

December 22nd, 2010
9:24 am

Oh, my God, call CBS and send out Adam Murphy. The folks in the kitchen may not be wearing gloves………

AJ

December 22nd, 2010
9:25 am

@Reds – You are right, Yuck is not being sarcastic, he’s clearly being IGNORANT. Whether you like PF Changs or the food featured here, to each his/her own. No need to be rude. But then again, people like Yuck will always feel a need to share their ignorant points of view.

Bhorsoft

December 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Since I moved out to Acworth in 1995, visits to Buford Hiway/Chinatown have been few and far between. Some of my childhood was spent in Taiwan and that was the only place I could get “home cookin’”. Time for another trip back. Been a while since I’ve been to Royal China and the shumai is awesome!

wtf?

December 22nd, 2010
10:24 am

What’s with all the kitchen comments? The people who work there, also eat there. Do you think they want to eat out of a dirty kitchen?

On the other hand, how many fast food or sit down American restaurants have you been in? They are super gross, trust me, I’ve worked in several.
To be fearful of the cleanliness of a Chinese restaurant based on just their name is ignorant and too stereotypical.

Some people just aren’t cultured when it comes to anything outside of fried chicken strips and cheeseburgers, to them I say, Thank you, more for me!

JASon

December 22nd, 2010
11:00 am

You know a place is good where many of the restaurants do not even have english menus or english speaking staff.

Sophie's Choice

December 22nd, 2010
11:11 am

Yuck, please stay OTP, where you’re obviously more comfortable. The rest of us will hit Chinatown & chow down on the fab eats!

Jim

December 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

I think I’ll hit some vietnamese tonight in my cozy little John’s Creek enclave.

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Theresa

December 22nd, 2010
11:36 am

Gene, we always go out for dim sum when we’re on the west coast, but have been disappointed with the ATL offerings. What’s the best dim sum in ATL?

absinthia

December 22nd, 2010
12:42 pm

To those of you who read Peter Chang’s as PF Chang, Gene is correct. There is a world of spicy goodness between the two restaurants.

dean

December 22nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Don’t forget the Hainese Chicken Rice. My favourite.

Gene Lee

December 22nd, 2010
1:01 pm

@Theresa – Atlanta still seems to struggle with great and consistent dim sum IMHO. Although recently, I’ve enjoyed my last outing at Canton House.

SP

December 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

@Theresa, my friends and I love dim sum! We like to go to Canton House on Buford Hwy, Hong Kong Harbor on Cheshire Bridge, and Royal China (mentioned above). There are a few other places around Atlanta but I haven’t experienced them. Sunday is still the best day to find different dim sum.

LTF

December 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

Love Chinatown. A trip to their food court is a fantastic educational experience for those that think an order of moo goo gai pan from their local cookie cutter Americanized Chinese delivery place is as good as it gets.

Food Near Snellville

December 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Three words: This location rocks. Bang for buck is way over the top here, especially if you like the variety of mushrooms the soups here can bring to the table.

luspices

December 22nd, 2010
3:28 pm

nice to see sichuan cuisine has made it to atlanta – i think once people have experienced the numbing flavor from sichuan peppercorns, they can’t get enough! if you’re cooking at home, make sure your peppercorns are fragrant and produce the numbing effect before you use them in your cooking.

Sydney

December 22nd, 2010
6:24 pm

Adventurous diner, but vegetarian. Eager to try places like this. But between the lack of online menus and frequently a language barrier, it’s almost impossible to figure out in advance if I can get truly vegetarian dishes (not, say, vegetables in chicken broth). Any mention of options for that in reviews would be hugely appreciated!

[...] original post here: Chinatown in Chamblee | Food and More with John Kessler Uncategorized chamblee, china, chinatown, cooking, eatery-called, kessler, ocean, [...]

holland

December 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

thanks Gene! As one who lives in Chamblee we are always curious ‘where to go on BuHi’…we’ve had plenty or hits and misses over the last 12 years! But as our ‘going out dollar’ tightens, we have to depend on the recommendations from folks like you…so THANKS AGAIN!

We do love the Dim Sum at Canton House…they are always eager to show us what they have and what we should try…

K

December 23rd, 2010
9:30 am

Chong Qing dishes are excellent for the most part. At HK BBQ we had the three meat BBQ, of which the crispy pork and the duck were really good although not the freshest, the other pork was meh. Would only order a two meater next time, and probably earlier in the day when it’s fresher. The Belacan Eggplant dish was the best though. As far as the cleanliness, the odor coming out of the air conditioning, especially in that corner between the two unoccupied spaces, really makes you wonder if the whole op is ready for another renovation, or at least a major cleanup.

uncle martin

December 23rd, 2010
12:25 pm

I love the concept of dim sum. Unfortunately, I have a severe
allergy to shellfish. Most of the dishes I’ve encountered at
various establishments offering dim sum have shrimp in them.
This limits my choices severely. Any suggestions on items
that avoid the use of said ingredient?

Ed

December 23rd, 2010
11:18 pm

I also have to be very careful of the shellfish, I am highly allergic. I only go to dim sum when accompanied by Mandarin or Cantonese speaking friends so they can steer me clear of dishes that could kill me. The bad news is that my Cantonese friends say that none of the dim sum they’ve tried here (including Canton House and Royal China) is very authentic. They did say that the dishes at East Pearl in Duluth were OK… not great, just OK and authentic. They long for true “morning tea” that just can’t be found here in the ATL.

Eric

December 25th, 2010
12:02 pm

Note to users: If you don’t like international food, don’t read the international food blog. Instead, try this – http://www.chick-fil-a.com/restlocator/
Gene, thank you for being the hardest working man in the blogosphere!

We love Oriental Pearl for dim sum – consistently delicious, offerings we’ve not seen other places, attentive service (at least that’s what we’ve found). My five-year-old lists their pork buns and sesame seed balls as her favorite foods. When relatives come down from NYC they claim the fare is comparable to anything they get there. We’ve gone through a Royal China phase, too. Go to Oriental Pearl then walk through the “Chinatown” plaza, snag a bubble tea at the small shop at the far end of the complex, then the Chinese grocery store is right there for take home authentic eats.

[...] Soy sauce chicken from Hong Kong BBQ – Chamblee Chinatown At number 9 is a dish I used to eat fairly often in a former life as a [...]

Chen

December 29th, 2010
12:45 pm

The foods are fabulous. The services are second to none. Viva China Town!!!!