A friend of mine recommended this to me and it seems that this restaurant has some really deep roots in the Phoenix area as it seems like a handful of Phoenix natives know about this place.
Located near Intel’s office, Chef Chiang is a deceptively big restaurant located next to a huge indian restaurant. They must have a lot of business because Intel employees probably go there a lot. Nevertheless, my crew wanted to eat there because they craved a certain type of food I admittedly haven’t tasted.
Chinese-Korean food is a strange combination of two different foods that combine the sour pucker of Korean food with the heavy savoriness of Chinese American food. What you get are these dishes that kind of have a familiarity to Chinese American food, but have been transformed into something that is arguably different. When you eat this food, I feel a wave of familiarity with a hint of differences.
I am so used to Chinese American food that looks red or brown and this food emits either light colors or black sludge.
Just a note: when the waitresses pass out the menus, you need to ask for the secret menu if you want their legitimate food. These come in bright and ugly blue and pink laminated menus that are about a page long. On this menu there is Chinese, English and Korean translations for each dish.
Special thanks to Debbie for taking really good pictures!
Our crew loves to eat so we ordered a lot. We had garlic roast beef and chicken, a clear sweet and sour pork, a 2 style noodle dish, and 3 bowls of noodles covered in this thick black bean sauce called ja jiang mien.
Jajangmyeon seems to be the ultimate Korean-Chinese food as everyone wouldn’t shut up about it. This was new to me. I’ve never heard of the dish!
Onions and black bean sauce – before the mean, a wedge of white onion was placed next to a small plate of black bean sauce and a small bottle of vinegar.
Garlic Roast Beef and Chicken
It looks like this dish was prepared by roasting the meat and then soaking it in a sweet vinegar for a certain amount of time. The dish was pretty much soggy and sour. The crispiness of the skinw as lost to the vinegar. As you can tell, this dish was not my favorite. I found the enjoyablness of warm, crispy meat was diminished with this dry, sour, vinegary and soggy pile of meat.
Liang Mien (2 style noodles)
This very colorful dish was plated beautifully and then mixed by the server. The two noodles represented here are these flat, wonton-like noodles and these giant eff strands. The taste was slightly sour and quite unique. The mesh of textures made the dish stand out but the flavor was nothing to write home about.
Sweet and Sour Pork – The way they make sweet and sour pork is way different than what you see in other Chinese restaurant. In this restaurant on this menu, their sweet and sour pork is covered in this cloudy white sauce and littered with vegetables. However, the sauce does taste like regular sweet and sour sauce. It looks like for this particular dish, they remove soy sauce.
The star of the show came in bowls. Inside these bowls were noodles piled with a black sauce. For the average consumer, they’d pretty much be wondering why this noodle dish was so great. However, this is indeed the staple street food in Korea and has influence in China. The dish consists of very basic ingredients that anyone could really make. It is pretty much stir fried egg noodles, onions and zuchinni covered with a bunch of black bean sauce. It reminds me a lot of the noodle dishes I used to cook for college. The thickness of the black bean sauce was a great coating for the noodles and makes the noodles have substance when you slurp them.
The dish is unique and I think I’d order it again. It is actually a very inspiring dish for me to cook at home. Overall, it’s a cheap dish but it fills you up and apparently for my group, it’s very nostalgic.
Chef Chiang has a nice “wooden” feel to it. Walking in feels deceptively like a remodeled Denny’s. I’ve been to many Chinese restaurants like this before but I find it enjoyable.
I found Chef Chaing’s service to be a bit slow for what it took to get out food.
About $22 dollars each for about 2 appetizers, 3 plates of noodles, a huge plate of different noodles and sweet and sour pork. We decided to go all out in this regard. If you want to just go for the Jia Jiang Mien, then it’s pretty cheap.
When asked for the secret menu, you will have a two paged list front and back. The regular menu serves very American Chinese food but your main objective to go her eif you want legitimate Chinese food is that secret menu.
Chef Chaing is homely and enjoyable. Even though the food was different, it tasted oddly familiar.