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Davis, California

Monday, October 18, 2021

Column: Chinese dining in Davis

Chinese food. I love it. The moment I think about it, my mouth starts salivating, my eyes glaze over and I howl at the moon. I LOVE CHINESE FOOD. I swear I’m not crazy.

When I first came to Davis, I had the dilemma of choosing between too many Chinese restaurants (the grand total is 16). With a student’s budget (close to nothing) and a big appetite, I didn’t know what to do. Well, I went out there with some friends’ help. Their names for this article will be Friend #A, Friend One and Friend Uno. I’m only going to talk about four of the 16 restaurants since I don’t have room to write about all of them. So, my dear readers, here are four in no particular order:

Silver Dragon, located on F Street, reminds some people of an old truck-stop diner with red vinyl booths. Friend Uno and Friend One are loyal customers. Friend Uno first introduced me to this place, which has the best lunch combos. For around $7 to 8 (which includes tip) you get a huge plate of rice, chow mein, your choice of an entrée and an egg roll, with soup, tea and a fortune cookie that comes with your check. My personal preference is lunch combo #J. It’s awesome and the leftovers last for two or three meals. Currently, Silver Dragon is closed for renovations until Oct. 16, so be sure to stop by after they open.

Wok of Flame is a hidden gem located in South Davis. The menu is pricier than other Chinese restaurants in Davis, but it’s definitely worth the cost. Their combinations (usually priced around $12 including tip) come with soup, an appetizer, a side and an entrée. If you ever journey in, try their salt & pepper chicken and salt & pepper calamari – two of their best dishes. Friend #A dared to order salt & pepper chicken without the spices, and our waiter almost had a heart attack (“But, but, it won’t be salt & pepper chicken then!”). Friend #A stood her ground, and the server died a little on the inside. All in all, our meals were delicious.

The Dumpling House is a great little place in downtown, located next door to Sophia’s. The interior reminds me of a combination between a Chinese restaurant and a coffee house. On the walls, you can find a quote from Anne Frank across from a picture of a tiger all within a five-foot radius of a fireplace. The dumplings and eggrolls are the best in Davis, according to Friend One, who is an eggroll expert. If you split your meal with someone, you each pay around $6. One odd fact is that it also doubles as the London Fish n’ Chips restaurant. Friend #A ordered just chips, and the server, an energetic elderly woman, responded to her order with a side-glance and a “verrrrry interesting.” In conclusion, Friend #A got served, and now I have a favorite dumpling restaurant.

Lastly, The Old Teahouse, located at the U-Mall, is great if you want cheap, tapioca drinks. Just a warning: this place only accepts cash. Three bucks can get you a black tea or green tea drink with tapioca or jelly. When I asked the cashier which (black or green) tea to get, she said to get black if you don’t like green tea or haven’t tried it yet. Green tea is more bitter tasting, whereas black is sweeter. I personally like the coconut black milk tea with tapioca. The place also has three big TV screens that are constantly playing Asian music videos. I didn’t understand what was going on in any of them, but it was fun to try.

Now for the food tip of the week! Has the sun barely risen and you’re running around on campus, upset at the world, hungry and trying to stay awake? Try one of three Cargo Coffee locations on campus (near Olson Hall, King Hall and across from Ghausi Hall). The coffee is less expensive than at Bio Brew, located in the Sci-Lab building, and also 10 times better than the CoHo and Silo coffee. For something to eat, you can get a muffin or pastry with your coffee for about $3. Don’t like those options for food? Then go to the Silo for a crepe. My addiction is the banana au nutella, which costs around $5. Don’t have time to buy anything but you’re really hungry? Then for crying out loud buy a pack of granola bars for $4 at Safeway and bring one or two with you to class. Problem solved.

JENNIFER RICHWOOD can be reached at jcrichwood@ucdavis.edu.

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