Menuplease: New China Serves Fine Cuisine

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Strip malls are not usually the first place you look when choosing a restaurant. There’s just something about those impersonal, interchangeable squares of real estate with high-gloss walls, big glass storefronts and acres of asphalt just a few steps from your table that scream Styrofoam taste at high prices! But in a city with strip mall space that goes begging, rents can be attractively low and ideal for small, family-run restaurants. Places like Pho Sai Gon, Priya, 5 Thais, and New China are turning out high-quality food at modest-to-moderate prices.

Several Asian restaurants have come and gone in the corner of Sunset Plaza (corner of Eureka Way and Buenaventura Boulevard) that now is home to New China. Some of them were quite good, but New China has developed a devoted following that ensures its continued success. At any time of day you’ll see a string of customers coming in for to-go orders, as well as dine-in.

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When it first opened, New China had a functional but cold tile floor and plain café tables, but has since had elegant upgrades made to the interior. Though it’s a neighborhood place, it’s also dressy enough to take a date. Service is prompt but not rushed.

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The wonton soup ($5.50 to serve two) is by far the best in Redding. Made with a rich mixed broth (not just chicken stock), the wonton wrappers are stuffed with a snappy ginger-pork pate that is much more distinguished than the usual bland filling.

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BBQ spare ribs, $6.50 as an appetizer. The ribs were not especially meaty or tender but had excellent flavor with a sticky star-anise flavored sauce.

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Pan-fried noodles with chicken and vegetables, $8.95. To M. de Joie’s mind, this is a much tastier alternative to the usual chow mein. Chinese noodles are fried until brown and crisp on one side, then tossed with crunchy vegetables and bites of chicken in a slightly sweet sauce. On another visit, we ordered a combination of shrimp, beef, and chicken; more than enough as a main course for two people.

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Broccoli in ginger sauce, $6.75, bears no resemblance to frozen broccoli or that abomination served in school cafeterias. The spicy-hot sweet garlic sauce coats flowerets of broccoli, plus carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions. It might not make converts of broccoli-haters but does make a wonderful vegetarian main course.

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Femme de Joie recalls eating some truly weird and awful versions of sweet and sour pork in now-forgotten and hopefully now-closed East Coast suburban Chinese restaurants, which included crinkle-cut frozen French fries and gherkins, along with greasy pork in a vivid red sugar sauce. It may not be authentically Chinese, but S&S pork continues to be a mainstay at Asian restaurants. New China’s version ($7.50) is one of the better ones out there – the sauce is not overly sugary and the sweet is balanced with sour. There is plenty of pork in a light, crunchy batter, with a few cubes of pineapple and bits of onion and sweet red bell pepper.

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One of the nice touches from New China: post-meal, beautifully presented orange halves are brought to your table – a perfect dessert after an elegant dinner.

New China is located on Redding’s western edge but is worth a drive from Enterprise, even if you’re going to pick up an order to take home. Highly recommended.

New China, 3669 Eureka Way at Buenaventura Boulevard in the Sunset Plaza, Redding. 530-246-9522/0788. Open Monday-Friday, 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 AM-10:00 PM, Sunday 12:00 noon – 9:00 PM. Vegetarian/vegan options. Wine and beer. No checks. Cash, cards. Ample on-site parking.

Femme de Joie’s first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Kathleen says:

    One of my favorite columns. We have used the recommendations and have had some terrific meals. We can't afford to go out often anymore This helps us pick sure things for a nice evening out. Thanks

  2. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    This review is spot on. We luckily live within walking distance of this enterprise. We have never eaten in, but "take out" all the time. The war wonton soup and any other choice will feed two people with more than you can eat and enough left for lunch the next day. Accurate figures are not known here, but from the stack of waiting food at the register, I would guess the volume to be at least equal to the crowded floor which is very nicely appointed.

    You simply will not believe the speed of order processing. I have many times been at "fast food" places and waited much longer!

  3. Avatar Natalie says:

    New China is my favorite Asian restaurant. When my friend from the Eureka area comes over, he always asks to go there. It is reasonablel, quiet, and not hurried. Glad you found it.

  4. Avatar Don Stec says:

    Next time try the Egg Fu Young, it is the best I have tasted in many years. The food also was steaming hot, indicating it was freshly prepared and not just sitting in a warm pot all day as often is the case in some restaurants.

  5. Avatar Carrie says:

    Great review! New China is now one of our favorite places to eat. We've been there several times and have not been disappointed.

  6. Avatar Cindy Martinusen Col says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. My husband and I went today. It was YUMMY!

  7. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    It has been New China for at least 5 years. There were a serious problem a few years ago when a waiter was scimming credit cards. He is gone away now so it is all good.

    My favorite there is the lemon chicken. Several breast fillets fried crispy covered in actual lemons and sweet lemony sauce.

    The Pupu platter is a good collection of their appetizers.

    A friend from the Bay area was real snobby about it the first time since the dumplings were just in won won skins. Now that he is stuck in Redding too (actually Shasta Lake City) it is his favorite lunch spot. If that doesn't show how good it is, what does?

  8. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Femme…This was a good review of one of my all time favs. New China is truly doing it right. Good food at reasonable prices and good folks to do business with.

    I'll be back !

  9. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Glad to hear (and) see the food at New China. Hard to find really good Chinese. But we will try it for sure.

  10. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    I'm glad you like this restaurant as much as I do. No. You like it more because you have experience and knowledge with which to judge food and service and ambiance. I just like everything I've ever eaten from this restaurant. We seldom eat out, but I order take-out at this establishment, and I meet friends there for lunch as well.

  11. Avatar LJ says:

    Absolutely the best around!!!

    I love Wor Wonton soup and theirs

    is definitely the best I have ever had!!!!

    The only Chinese place we go to eat!

  12. Avatar JohnD says:

    Femme, I love your reviews. I no longer live in the Redding area but come up fairly often to visit family and friends. I definitely will check out New China the next time I'm there. Keep up the great work!

  13. Avatar Amanda says:

    Yes! Couldn't agree more! This place is fantastic. And when we bring the whole family, they cater to requests to suit all the kids. Now the kids ASK to go there every week! Which I would say is a HUGE compliment to New China as they choose that place over anything else! The whole staff is great and the food is served very fast. The best part- it is ALWAYS made fresh to order. Not your usual Chinese restaurant. We have tried several places and without a doubt New China is the best in the area. My fav's? The chicken chow mein and wonton soup are wonderful!