• Alexis Kwan

The Restaurant I Can’t Wait to Visit after Quarantine: Chou’s Kitchen

Updated: Jul 16

I cannot wait until the day when I can drive down to ASU’s campus and meet a friend for dumplings at Chou’s Kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, both their Tempe and Chandler locations are open for takeout and delivery during COVID-19, but in my opinion, ordering soup dumplings while dining in a restaurant just hits different than ordering them to-go.

Chou’s Kitchen is the best place to find Xiao Long Bao in Phoenix. Make sure to fact check me on that because, in reality, it’s the only place in the Phoenix metro area I’ve found soup dumplings. Order the “steamed juicy pork dumplings” and you will be served a steamer with 10 dumplings. The dough may be slightly thick but the amount of meat and hot soup inside is all I could ever need. My preferred method of eating these bad boys is placing a dumpling in my spoon, taking the tiniest bite off the top to let some steam out, then trying to fit the whole thing in my mouth. Make sure you mix a dipping sauce with black vinegar and chili oil to cut through the rich, savory flavor of the dumplings too!

For me, a great indicator of a good Chinese restaurant is the number of different animal parts you can find on their menu. Yes, the more common cuts like beef tripe and tendon appear, but you can also find pig ear or intestine. I tend to look for menu items that I don’t recognize from the typical Chinese-American restaurant. Through my food journey, I’ve come to find that restaurants that specialize in regional Asian food are usually winners. Chou’s Kitchen gives us a taste of Northeastern Chinese food with ingredients like the wood ear mushroom and lamb.

The owners and staff could give you more authentic recommendations than I could ever, so make sure you ask them when you get a chance to go. What I can say is get AT LEAST one order of the steamed juicy pork dumplings, an order of the beef pies, eggplant with potato and jalapeno (yes, I do think you should have ONE vegetable dish) and jasmine tea. And bring lots of friends with you so you can try many of the dishes they have to offer!

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