Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Din Ho BBQ vs. First Chinese BBQ

So earlier in my blog, I revealed how we barely like any Chinese restaurants in the U.S. due to the overuse of corn starch, sweet and sour goo, and MSG at most establishments.

In Austin, the only 2 Chinese restaurants that we allow ourselves to visit when we're not in the mood to cook or when we want Chinese BBQ to-go are Din Ho Chinese BBQ and First Chinese BBQ. Before the Chinatown center opened on N. Lamar, we only ate at Din Ho (means "the best" or "the creme de la creme"). This place was the best in Austin until First Chinese BBQ came in to steal its crown.

Ok. First the BBQ. The cha shao is a Cantonese BBQ staple. There wouldn't be Chinese BBQ without this honey-glazed roast pork. This piggy is so versatile, it can be eaten as is, diced and fried with eggs and rice, chopped and stuffed in steamed or baked honey glazed buns, or sliced and put on top of noodle soups or egg noodles. The leaner the pork the better. I hate eating around fat. Both restaurants make pretty good cha shao, so it's hard to compare the two based on that alone. The next BBQ item is the shao ya (roasted duck). The meat has to be moist but the skin has to be mahogany colored and toasty. This comes with the amazing duck marinade. Again, both roast pretty good ducks. The biggest difference for me is that I find First Chinese BBQ less greasy. I know, I know. Some people think it's not good unless it's greasy, but I find that an excuse for the restaurant to sell you less expensive fatty meat.

Din Ho BBQ vs. First Chinese BBQ

The grease factor works its way through the other dishes I've had at both restaurants. Din Ho tends to coat its meat, veggies, and noodle dishes with a shiny veneer of cooking oil more so than First Chinese. The only dish I would pick Din Ho over First is the Flat Beef Noodles. Yes, it's still coated with grease, but when I put a mixture of the noodles, beef, green onions, and bean sprouts in my mouth, it has a complete taste. My taste buds all nod in agreement. The one at First Chinese lacks one thing...a spice I suspect...dunno what it is.

So unless I want stir fried flat beef noodles, I will continue to visit First Chinese as my designated Chinese restaurant in Austin.

The following two photos are from Din Ho:

Beef and Mushrooms Clay Pot and Eggplant Clay Pot

The following are photos from First Chinese:

Hot and Sour Soup

Black Bean Shrimp and Seafood Pot

Black Bean Clams and Kung Pao Squid

Yummy Feast

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