China Village, Albany

I had another great lunch at China Village yesterday. My old college roommate is in town, an old China-hand lawyer who works for the US Patent Office and goes to Beijing several times a year, and we shared the hand-pulled noodles with dry-wok fish, and another fish dish.

What’s great about CV at lunch is that they have more Sichuan dishes than other places. The lunch plates, on the left side of the menu, are pretty standard, kung pao chicken and the like, but over on the right side of the lunch menu you’ll find several noodle dishes at the top and more complex dishes at the bottom. The beer-braised duck over noodles is spectacular, but very rich, so we passed over it in favor of the dry-wok fish. The fish with roasted garlic and broccoli came from the bottom section. At 1:00, they weren’t busy and so it was a great place to munch and reminisce.

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Hi Ernie,

Thanks for the CV Lunch update.

I seem to always order the wrong thing when I go there for lunch.

Love to hear other recommendations for solo or just two dining at China Village for lunch.

Stick to the right side of the lunch menu and you should be ok. I don’t remember having a bad meal from those selections. Well, the chicken with asparagus rice bowl was a little bland, but perked up with some chili oil.

Regarding your post on another thread:

Do you know whether King Tsin has wide noodles at lunch? If not, you may have identified one way that CV had an edge.

I don’t know, but will probably find out soon.

Seems like CV has been very consistent lately. We went back last Thursday and again were blown away.

Thanks for the handmade noodle recommendation, it was delicious.

We are dangerously close to having so many favorite dishes that we won’t be able to order them all.

A new-to-me dish that we tried was the clay pot lamb with sour cabbage. It is a soup with thinly sliced lamb (like in hot pot), shredded napa cabbage, noodles (same clear noodles as in 1000 chili fish soup), and a sour broth. I loved it, and if I had to choose between the fish soup vs lamb soup, I would choose the lamb. The presentation isn’t as dramatic, but I loved the flavor of the sour soup. And some oily green onion bread on the side made for a perfect pairing.

I also really liked the dry cooked bamboo shoots, but then again I am a sucker for bamboo, so you’ll have to account for my personal tastes if you are considering these recommendations.

It would be nice to hear more about the other off-the-beaten path menu items, since the vast majority of reports (on CH) seem to focus on the same favorites.

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We got dinner take-out this weekend after Great China had a 1.5 hour wait for to-go orders. Even better than I remembered, will probably make CV our take-out place. Had Classic Water Dumplings, hand-cut noodles w/ vegetables, a spicy chicken dish (I can’t remember the name) and almond chicken. I know – how bland. But my husband can’t do any heat – I mean, none. Honesty, it was fantastic. Very deep and savory flavor, and the quality of the chicken was better than Great China, recently. The dumplings and noodles were very good, as I expected.

The bamboo shoots are a favorite and must-order for us too.

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we went last week and it was just spectacular. It’s been hit or miss at times over the years but lately I would say they have been on top of their game. the hand cut noodles with spicy fish, just outstanding. same for the fish dumplings. I left the meal blown away.

After a long time I revisited China Village. During a recent lunch with Marlon who was of the head of a few Chowhound picnic which I took part in the discussion of China Village came up. Since I had out of town guest I pick a return trip to China Village.

I ordered my favorite cold dishes which is Flower Cut Pork Kidney which is served with a spicy sauce ginger and scallions stirps

Beer Braised Duck in a Clay Pot, House made noodles with mixed seafood and meats, Kung Pao Squid, Cumin Lamb and Chow Fun favorite Soup of Death with a Thousand Chilies (Fish Soup). We were given a Red Bean Sweet Soup for dessert.

Everything was up to China Village standard expert for Cumin Lamb which was not done well and I would not order again.

My niece took pictures and I hope she will post. I never wanted to learn do that I was not asked to post them.

I should return again to try more dishes.

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I had the flower cut kidney on Sunday and thought it was a little more bitter than it should’ve been. Everything else was great, including the cumin lamb.

The flower cut kidney were a little overcooked but was not bitter. You must have had some not cleaned properly. As for Cumin Lamb we got pieces that were not choice cuts but leftover cuts. But that sometimes happens

I just found the right dish for me on the menu. The only bad thing about it is that I haven’t been eating it for my entire life. It’s the Szechuan style spicy dry fried chicken. It’s hands-down the best dish I’ve had in a Chinese restaurant in decades. How good is that? Well it made me ignore an order of the dumplings that I absolutely love. Now my only fear is that they’ll take it and ruin it.

I will have to try it, is it floured/breaded? How spicy is it?

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I like that dish, too, if it’s the one I’m thinking of. Its Chongqing-style, but made with chicken breast instead of wings. Lots of Sichuan peppercorns.

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From a potentially old menu, the #133 is the Chongqing chicken. I wonder how Szechuan and shandong dry fried chicken differ? Is there a thick sauce?

  1. 干扁雞塊 Szechuan-Style Spicy Dry-Cooked Chicken * 11.95
  2. 重庆辣子鸡 1000 Chili Pepper Chicken * 11.95
    Choice of chicken wings or diced chicken
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It’s been a while, but my recollection is that they were basically the same dish, just different chicken parts. I might check it out this week sometime.

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It wasn’t breaded, just had a light coating of something – possibly flour but quite minimal and beautifully seasoned. I think I tried the same dish a year ago but they were doing the more traditional bone-in style. It tasted great but wasn’t as satisfying as this version that used good-sized chunks of boneless thighs. (Which held up great, staying fairly juicy but with a chewiness I loved.) I like wings but – glutton that I am – I was glad to have a fast track to this bird. But if you like gnawing, the spices will make it worth your while.

The heat level was not exceptional but it had a certain build-up, in that it lingered like a very slow fire, not unpleasant. The presentation was what you’d expect: A veritable mountain of roasted but mostly unchopped whole peppers, plus chopped green chilis (jalapeño?), and charred sweet peppers. And the ton of Sichuan peppercorns. All hiding the chicken underneath.

The spice levels were really enjoyable because there was so much going on besides the heat kick. That little bit of sour, the floral aromas, the different peppers, the salt, the chicken itself. It was a truly dry dish in that there was no real sauce but the chicken had been coated in an oily toss of something after the initial fry. As I believe the dish is supposed to be, it looked like much more of an inferno than it was. The hot/sour/salty combo is a favorite of mine and this delivers it.

Bernie Saunders and his entourage ate dinner here last night. I had lunch there today, and spoke with the owner. The Secret Service showed up at 9:00 to look things over, and the team got there at 9:15. Bernie apparently doesn’t like the Sichuan burn, because they ordered fairly pedestrian dishes like fried rice and Mongolian beef. The owner showed me his selfie with Bernie.

http://www.ibabuzz.com/westcounty/2016/05/18/presidential-candidate-bernie-sanders-comes-to-solano-avenue-in-albany/

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold