MSG150 pressed on again today after a week of conflicting schedules and close calls. However, no one was looking forward to the next spot on the list, Maxang. We have passed by this place countless times before on the way to our favorite ID spots. It's just off of the corner of 5th and Jackson, next door to the corner scary-mart and seems to share the same clientele. Regardless, we were all excited to hit another spot and keep the MSG150 mo going.
Program note: Pescatarian Rob was with us at the start having heard rumor of whole fried Tilapia but, upon arrival and suspicion that the lone fish in the hot case was the same one spotted there last week, he bailed.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Fried Rice, Fried Chicken Wing - $4.81
Hoh yes, Maxang Deli. I've wondered, nay DREAMT of this place. Merely mentioning their name invokes peoples deepest hopes, and fears.
Their sign is enticing. We bravely walked in -- to a different world. If someone were to ask me -- "hey emmett, let's open a ghetto deli, help me design it" -- I couldn't have done a better job. The clientele eyed us curiously, but welcomingly. The hot case showcases their fried options: the fried rice and chow mein simmering under the heat lamps, the glistening fried chicken. Nearby are the baked goods, along with rows of packaged ramen. I opted for a chicken wing and some rice - typical lunch fare here no doubt.
The chicken wing: FANTASTIC. Nicely breaded, deep fried, tasty, delicious. The also offer chicken breasts and thighs I believe, for a little more money. If I wanted a couple of chicken wings as a snack, it's hard to beat the convenience and deliciousness or Maxang wings. The rice: below average. It wasn't so bad that I'd send it back, but nothing really great about it. On the other hand, I've had similar fried rice at sit down chinese restaurants. For flavor, this rice beats what you'd find at Panda Express (especially that Panda Express at the Atlanta airport).
Verdict: I'll remember this place the next time I'm drunk at 2 in the afternoon in Pioneer Square, but for lunch, you can find better food elsewhere.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Chow Mein, BBQ Pork Stick - $5.70
Nature or Nurture? To what extent is a restaurant a product of its environment or its upbringing? Did Mr. Maxang decide to open a restaurant with the purpose of serving the downtrodden and derelict or was he driven by market forces at work on the SE corner of 5th and Jackson to adapt to his customers at hand? Whatever the reason, he's filling a niche that seems to be sustaining him enough to have kept him in business for at least the last couple of years. However, it is somewhat in conflict with also serving the local business folks looking for a tasty lunch in a place that doesn't smell of urine.
The place is a mess and the food looks scorched and greasy in the hot case. It wasn't even clear if they make any of the food there. We were there Monday at noon and there was nothing cooking in the kitchen. The baked goods are clearly brought in, not sure about the rest. The Chow Mein was tolerable but greasy. The pork was flavorful but dry.
Yay, we made it past Maxang! We are unstoppable now. Bring it on!
Luncher: AdamLunch: Chow Mein, BBQ Pork Stick - $5.70
This is the type of restaurant that scares me about our little adventure. It's got tables and chairs. Its primary source of income is food. But it's pretty damn gross. It has a very basic menu:
- Fried Rice and Chow Mein
- Fried Chicken (just a wing, or a quarter)
- BBQ Pork stick
- A whole deep-fried Tilapia
- And an assortment of cups-o-noodles
What does it have that isn't on the menu?:
- Sticky floors
- Dirty walls
- Filthy mirrors covering the walls
- Smelly but nice clientele
I had a greasy pile of chow mein and a BBQ Pork Stick (it was basically a kebab). The chow mein was pretty standard and quite palatable. It was much greasier than I would like, but that might have been a function of the BBQ Pork chunks that definitely had some fat on them. The BBQ Pork was pretty good in there.
The BBQ Pork Stick seemed like it had actually been homemade. It was darker and was shaped differently than the BBQ Pork you get at Costco. Unforunately, I think it had been sitting under a heat lamp for too long, so it was chewier than I would like. I put a lot of Sriracha on it to try to "amp" the flavor a little bit, and that seemed to make it a little bit better.
Overall: Not clean. Small. Not many choices. Smelled bad. Mediocre food.
Maxang Deli & Cafe PhotosMaxang Deli & Cafe
In case you don't like the cooking