Crouching Tiger [ RWC ]

I was asked to do a quick writeup of Crouching Tiger in Redwood City.

I almost always do take-out. The great thing about CT is it’s really easy to park in the back, and enter through the back door. There’s a funny little triangle parking lot behind the restaurant. If you are going down Brewster, you can’t turn left onto Perry, but you can turn left into a little alley called Commerical Way, where you can get to “perry parking lot” on google maps. Their take-out is also well organized. You pluck your payment slip out of the holders near the cash register, check your bill and pay it, then they have a rack of bags and they hand you yours. Best organization - and good prices, for the area and the quantity of food.

Sometime in the mid-nineties I started getting takeout chinese most sunday nights. I lived over on potrero hill, and for the life of me now, I can’t remember the chinese place I used to go to. I know it’s not there anymore, and sometimes I would go to Henry’s Hunan but usually I’d do my local place. I still like getting a filling warm sunday bit of dumplings and have leftovers for a lazy meal later in the week. I probably do take out chinese every other weekend, and Crouching Tiger is in the usual rotation, being close to home and with a well organized take-out system.

Let me be clear about CT — they are not hyper authentic. They have a few solid dishes, but you’re not going to mistake them for being in china. They’re quite a step up from what we used to think of as American Chinese, but they also still have Lemon Chicken on the menu. They have a greater breadth of dishes compared to Da Sichuan, and they are heartier than Chef Zhao, and they’re a little more traditional than Hunan Roots, and less cantonese than Fu Lam Mum / Chum Ya, which are my general favorites till you cross the edge of the earth and enter terra incognito, which is, past 237.


The cold appetizer menu is pretty good. The Bon Bon Chicken is decent, as are the “spicy pork dumplings in salsa”, which most place would called “boiled dumplings in chili oil”. I suspect the other cold dishes are pretty good. The scallion pancakes I have a weakness for - occasionally they are overcooked, 95% of the time they are greasy goodness. They always pack them at the top of the bag with a flap cut out to let the steam escape, so I sneak one from the bag while I’m driving home.

The dumplings aren’t as good as the Bejing-style standouts two doors down at iDumpling, but they’re not bad, either.

I like the “dry cooked” meats. It’s kind of like Thai “Nur Kem”, usually translated as “jerky”, and on the menu as 干扁肉絲 . It’s very reasonably spicy, fairly numbing, and has a lot of vegetables ( not in a great way ). The more I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve had this dish elsewhere, or know what it’s usually translated as. I know it’s a delicate dish to get right, because the meat is shredded, and it’s a fine line between dry and burnt, and dry and juicy on the inside.

The “juicy boiled beef” 水煮牛或羊 is a classic, and a standout. When you order it in the restaurant, it comes in a wooden bucket presentation. The tastes could be a little sharper, perhaps, but the numbing is solid and the meat is juicy.

XingJang Lamb 新 疆 羊 is a fairly classic cumin lamb. Plenty of cumin, well cooked, although I like some of the other dishes a little better, sometimes you just need some cumin lamb.

Another good one is the twice-cooked pork, with authentic fatty pork 川味回鍋肉 . Girlfriend won’t let me order it - or, won’t eat any - because the fatty is too fatty for her. I think it’s pretty succulent, though.

They have a good version of one of the fish fillet szechuan dishes, but I can’t every pick it out of the menu reliably. It might be the Da-qien hot braised fillets 大千干燒魚 , or it’s the Spicy Boiled, with a fillets preparation 水煮蝦或魚片

For veg, I often get the garlic eggplant, but the pea shoot garlic is always pleasing. They have both the classic stir fried cabbage with chili oil and the shredded potatoes. I’ve had both a couple of times and they never matched up to China Village in Berkeley, missed that Wok Hay, so I can’t exactly recommend them. Not bad, just not great.

I can also say I’ve been with friends who have ordered some of the “friendlier” dishes, like the Orange Chicken, and they’re comforting american/chinese. The kung pao, too. If I was dating, it would be a perfect second date place, because you could see if they go straight for something they don’t know, or play it safe.

What haven’t I tried that might be good?

I’ve never really plumbed the soups menu. I do remember getting Tan Tan once, and it was pretty great. They also have Dong Bo Pork Knuckle, but I’ve never gotten it there because that’s a Shanghai thing. I get my Dong Bo down at Chef Zhao on edgewood. In recent years, they’ve added a couple of “magic chili” dishes, which just sound like pain in a bowl. I also haven’t tried the “mock meat” dishes.

I shouldn’t knock dining in. They used to be too small, but they had a nice expansion, where they put in a bar ( which is too tall, I always eat at the bar by default but not there ), but they’ve expanded to a nice selection of big round tables, booths, and regular 4-tops in the middle. The place is not loud, but absorbs sound well. I even went to a friend’s birthday party there, we got a big old table in the back and folks came and went. The lighting is a little bright and it has strange chinese music videos, which is comforting. When I have a drink there I usually stick to the classic large tsing tao, and pretend I’m having an icy Harbin in Beijing. I swear the beer is 10 degrees colder in beijing, and Harbin is better than Tsing Tao. Oh, and they give you boiled peanuts with chopsticks at the beginning, although not in chili oil.


My solid standby for Sichuan and American chinese alike, which is a win because the entire family is happy!

Couple of weekends ago, we did the green beans and cold cucumber with chili oil (without the ‘ma’), beef chow mein, and sesame noodles. The kids had no patience for photographs for the rest of the food, so I backed off(!)


nice pix! crouching tiger fell out of my usual rotation, but not sure why. I still like them for take out, the portion size is very reasonable for the price, along with having some good dishes. These days when we go out we usually think comforting, which defaults to the refuge, or we think of live music, which is hard to find.

We live close by to Crouching Tiger but haven’t tried anything yet - what are your preferred dishes ?

check my lengthy write-up as the original poster, i go through it.

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Ups - should have read everything - Thanks !

Thanks for reminding me of the place, we got take out last night and it was same as ever.

Cold poached chicken in chili oil, Dan dan noodles, green beans (a must), spicy eggplant, ma po dofu, xinjiang lamb, and make sure you take some of their chili sauce to go! :smile:


Those are all good ones i agree. this time the star was yushiang fish fillet, the yushang sauce was better with fish than other proteins, it turns out. and the boiled beef, classic dish done well. Skipped the cumin lamb this time, just for fun.

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