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.

Editor’s Note: This is a best-of A News Cafe column that originally ran December 2, 2010.

 

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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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Kay Beck says:

    If you are going to post restaurant reviews that are 4 years old could someone at least go to the restaurant to make sure it is as good as it was 4 years ago and write an addendum?

    Restaurants have a history of being good then being not so good later.

    And in Redding, is it even still in business?

    Thanks.

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Kay,

      Rest assured that New China is still in business and still is as good as it was four years ago.

      Thanks for reading,
      Femme de Joie

  2. We have eaten there for years and it’s as good as ever! One of our favorites in town – great food, friendly people and reasonable prices. Hope they’ll be around for many more years to come!

  3. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    We have eaten New China food just recently and believe me it’s just as good as Femme de Joie says it is. We’re regular patrons and we’ll go back. Go for it, you’ll enjoy New China.

  4. Avatar Mary says:

    Funny, we are never impressed when we order food from them. Especially their hot and sour soup, last time we had to dump it because it smelled so bad none of us wanted to even try it.

    We still think The Peacock was the best in Redding. Hard to beat their sesame chicken and hot and sour soup. We used to make the trip down to Anderson to enjoy their food, but haven’t been in a few years now. Hope it’s still just as good!

  5. Avatar Barbara Stone says:

    We live in the neighborhood, too, and have never had a bad meal there. The veggies are always al dente without being too crunchy and the chow mein is one of our faves (when I was eating gluten). Now that I’m gluten free, I haven’t been there but I have heard that they do have gluten free options.

  6. Avatar KarenC says:

    Thanks Barbara for your comments. We have been there once, and were impressed with the cleanliness, and the tablecloths on the tables. I love that look and ambiance. The food was very good, service was great. We plan on going back again soon.
    I love the ethnic restaurants……a few of the folks have told me they started out making the food like they did in their country, but the clientele complained and they had to Americanize the food. I hope someday Redding folks learn to appreciate the true ethnic foods and develop a taste and appreciation for them.

  7. Avatar Ron says:

    I ate there once and didn’t like it. That was about 5 months ago. Food was a take out. Seemed not fresh. I may try them again after reading this article.

    I.usually go to oriental express in the white center off bruce st in Anderson. Been going for years and Linda and family make excellent food.
    Nice to call in my order and they know who it is and order my food without telling them (they get it right every time).

    Femme De Joie,if you get a chance try them too. They don’t disappoint

  8. Avatar Lea says:

    Love this place. Now I will try the broc with garlic as suggested by dear Femme De Joie.
    I too think the veggies are nice and crunchy, and yet, yet, yet, I long for some kind of raw salad on the menu. Cabbage anyone?

  9. Avatar Rick says:

    I went there on your recommendation. I was not overly impressed. The wontons in particular were really doughy and very disappointing though the broth was good. The ribs were really good. It could just be my personal preferences, maybe my aversion to Americanized Chinese food.