This little place is less than a mile from me. When I moved to this neighborhood 25 years ago, this was a Captain D’s but by the time I decided to try it out, the Captain was pulling out of Houston (or perhaps headed for Davy Jones Locker everywhere) and it had become China House. Very little has been done to the decor, inside or out, all these years later.
From the generic name and $4.95 lunch special advertised on their sign I concluded it was run of the mill Americanized Chinese food which I don’t seek out very often and this is my first visit, maybe 2 full decades later. According to the sign out front, lunch specials start at $5.95 now.
Recently I came across a report on Jay Francis’s Houston Food Explorers site pointing out this is probably Houston’s only outpost for Teochew cuisine (also known as Chiuchow cuisine, Chaozhou cuisine or Chaoshan cuisine - they spell it Chew Chow on the special section of the menu) and I’ve been meaning to try it for a couple of months now.
The waitress tried to point me to the lunch specials but I insisted I wanted to try some of the dishes on the last two pages of the menu and she was helpful. I understand from reviews posted online it’s a mother-daughter team that runs the place.
I started, however,with Wonton Soup. Other than being served tepid this was very good.
Then I ordered the Chew Chow style shrimp and taro. The waitress had me turn around and look at the dish on the table behind me, where the ladies were all conversing with the waitress in Chinese, to see what I was ordering ---- looked okay to me so I went ahead. The diamond shaped pieces are minced shrimp and taro; the square ones are minced shrimp and water chestnut, I believe she said. The dipping sauce appeared to be fish sauce but I forgot to ask. A sweet and sour sauce was also brought to the table and soy and sriracha were available.
The minced ingredients are wrapped in wontons before being fried and they were hot out of the oil but not greasy. I really enjoyed this – simple, not too heavy and filling, except that I finished off all 8 pieces and I shouldn’t have.
I was very satisfied, trying out a brand new cuisine for the first time, and the Wonton Soup was good enough to be encouraged about the other Americanized offerings.
They do not list the Teochew specials online. There is a picture of an older version of the menu on Yelp but there are no descriptions to help decipher what you want.