MSG150 was back at the UFC for round three and today was the steam table. We are setting a good pace and will hopefully make it out of here before April. The steam table is the most popular of the Uwajimaya Deli portion of the UFC and we came eight strong to take it on.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Lucky Combo - Roast Duck + Mongolian Beef - $6.35
This is just like Panda Express or the Safeway Chinese food counter, except with a bigger selection and fresh better food. I ordered the Lucky Combo that came with steamed white rice and two entrees.
My First entree: Roast Duck. How could I pass it up? It's so roasty and ducky and delicious. I had the illusion that I was going to try to eat healthy (healthfully?) and peeled the skin off of my duck. Why healthy? because my last lunch was probably 10,000 kilocalories. Anyways, the skin looked so damn delicious I ate it too.
The Second entree: Mongolian Beef. Beef in sauce... how typically and deliciously Chinese. It was good. If you were wondering what the definition of a "3 chopstick" meal is, try this out. Good.
Good food. Decent price. Decent if you're in the 'Wuji' food court.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Lucky Combo - Mongolian Beef + Kung Pao Chicken - $6.35
The steam table tempts with a broad selection of deep fried and sauteed chinese goodness. Normally I'd ignore a place like this because it reminds me too much of Panda Express. But here I am, clutching a tray, checking out the options.
The special of the day was Kung Pao Chicken - one of my faves. I coupled if with some steamed rice and Mongolian Beef. The kung pao was good. Had lots of veggies and peanuts, and was fresh. The beef was also tasty - not overly spicy, but well cooked and tasty as well. I put a little of Sriracha over the whole thing, it went down quickly.
I joined it with another weird beverage option from the supermarket. I picked this one out because of the bottle - it had mountains and shit on it. The translated label said it was cherry cider or something like that. It tasted awful - sickly sweet. I wouldn't get it again.
I followed it with some Cream Collon from Glico. The number one ingredient of Cream Collon? Shortening. They were tasty - like Combos but sweet, with a crispy cookie like outer shell, and Oreo like filling.
The price here is right, and no waiting is involved, so I could see myself coming back.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Lucky Combo - Beef Chow Fun + Jalapeño Chicken - $6.35
The Steam Table is the only restaurant in the UFC that has a rope maze in front to keep the crowd in a nice orderly line. I was terrified. I am anti Kung Pao and General Tsao and will do anything within my power to avoid that type of American style Chinese lunch special, except when bound by rule #2. The line moved quickly and soon it was my turn to order. There is a small menu of lunch combinations that you have to choose from up front and once that choice is made, it's just a matter of pointing to what you want. I went with the Lucky Combo (rice + two entrées) and the brown rice. The number or entrée options is overwhelming. I tried to quickly size them up, but ended up just picking the first two that looked good: the Beef Chow Fun and the Jalapeño Chicken. The women working the steam table were fast and very friendly.
Both dishes were much better than I expected. I enjoyed the wide noodles of the Beef Chow Fun, but I never really figured out the Jalapeño Chicken. It was chicken stir fried with red and green bell peppers. I didn't see any Jalapeños, however the chicken must have been marinated in something with a bit of a kick. Not very Chinese, but tasty. The option of brown rice was a nice touch.
Luncher: DaveLunch: #1 Combo - Kung Pao Chicken + Tofu Chicken + Chow Mein - $6.65
<insert generic review of generic meal here>
Luncher: WayneLunch: Lucky Combo - Mongolian Beef + Mapo Tofu - $6.35
I didn’t expect a lot today, but I still wanted to find a lunch I could enjoy. I took my time to survey the vast array of choices, and ended up settling on the Mapo Tofu and Mongolian Beef. The last time I had this dish was while camping at Mount St. Helens. My Friend had brought along his wok and cooked Mapo Tofu on an antique green Coleman stove while wearing a headlamp to provide illumination. I was eager to compare this Mapo Tofu to camp ground cooking. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy the dish I was served. The tofu and veggie pieces were too small and soggy. And it wasn’t particularly flavorful.
The Mongolian Beef was a different story. It looked good and tasted great as I started into it. I loved the deliciously flavorful strips of thinly sliced beef with slices of onion sticking to them. Unfortunately as I worked my way through this dish, the strips of beef became thicker, tougher and too sinewy for my liking. It’s too bad. This dish started so well but in the end I couldn’t manage to choke down the bigger pieces of beef.
Luncher: RobLunch: Lucky Combo - Onion Tofu + Mushrooms in Special Sauce - $6.35
Although I'd passed by the Steam Table numerous times before, I'd never tried it. Mass-made Chinese? No, thank you. So it was with a little bit of reluctancy on my part to stand in line and pick out the items I would eat. But, you know, the selection wasn't bad, and they had this tray full of Onion Tofu, which sounded like it might be tasty. I got that and the mushrooms, and was pleasantly surprised to find bottles of Sriracha at the cash registers to spice up the meal. And yeah, it turned out to be not so bad. The onion tofu was indeed tasty, if a little odd -- they somehow threaded it with what I originally thought as onion, but as I kept eating it seemed more like those thin, translucent glass noodles. They gave the tofu a... unique texture. Sort of like tofu with tendons, for those vegetarians who miss their sinewy meat. Tasty, though. The mushrooms were regular old button mushrooms, and the special sauce just barely masked their bland flavor. To sum up, the onion tofu was good but odd, and the mushrooms were so-so. Seems like a three chopstick rating to me.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Lucky Combo - Sweet & Sour Chicken + Honey Glazed Chicken - $6.35
You'll like this place if you think highly of Safeway's China Express. It has a bit more variety though.
Luncher: JeffLunch: Lunch Combo - General Tsao Chicken and Mixed Vegetables - $5.65
Compared to our various other wonderful discoveries - I really should give this place 2 chopsticks. However, it is solid deli-style Chinese which is at least as good as what you'd find at the Safeway China Express deli and better than you'd get at Panda Express in a mall. Yes,... I know those are low markers to use as reference point. However, they’re probably familiar to most people and compare directly to this meal.
I had the General Tsao Chicken, Steamed vegetables and Brown Rice for $5.95. The rice was probably the biggest let down. The greens were solid. The chicken was as you’d expect. The rice was dry and bland. Adding some sauce helped. I've eaten at this place before, I'll probably eat here again - but only for speed/convenience. In the ID, there are simply too many better choices at this price.
Uwajimaya - Steam Table PhotosUwajimaya Deli Steam Table
Lots of options at the steam table
More steam table options
Beef Chow Fun being served
Kung Pao Chicken + Tofu Chicken + Chow Mein
Mongolian Beef + Kung Pao Chicken
Roast Duck + Mongolian Beef
Tofu and Shrooms
Beef Chow Fun + Jalapeño Chicken (also fun)
Some people have no restraint
Mongolian Beef + Mapo Tofu
Magno Mochi Sherbet