Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

China Town, Fan Tan Alley and I Get Some GOOD Chinese Food

We try to limit what we attempt, when we travel. If we try to do too much, we sometimes fail, or we get so busy trying to accomplish that we don’t really get to enjoy what we are doing. Or worse, we get cross with each other, crabby! On our vacation! So we make choices, AdventureMan wanted the Victoria Butterfly Gardens; I wanted GOOD Chinese food.

Our son knows us. When we decided to settle in Pensacola, to be near him and the coming grandchild/ grandchildren, he sat us down and told us things we needed to know about Pensacola. The first thing he told us was that there was no really GOOD Chinese food. Honestly, for me . . . well, I don’t want to say I thought twice, but no good Chinese food? Chinese food is my comfort food!

We asked the concierge at the Grand Pacific for a recommendation for GOOD Chinese food, and she, with great delight, directed us to the Fan Tan Cafe in China Town, just a short walk down Government Street. It was an easy walk, past the grand historic Empress Hotel (we didn’t stay there because the views, in my opinion, are not as good), and down one of the most fun shopping streets in the world to China Town.

We know we are getting close 🙂

Chinese Dragon

 

The entrance to China Town on Fisgard Street

ChinatownEntry

 

Fan Tan Cafe – it’s small, and crowded. You are bottom to bottom with the chair behind you and you are almost sitting next to the next table. It’s fun. You get to see what everyone else is eating. We were hungry, we were early and that was a good thing because we got a table. There are maybe 16 – 18  tables at the Fan Tan Cafe, and some of those are for two people. They do take reservations.

Fan Tan Cafe

This was the absolute best. AdventureMan chose the Spicy Shrimp appetizer, and it was delicious, top to bottom. Even the bedding vegetables were delicious. This was the highlight of the meal.

Spicy Shrimp Appetizer

 

We didn’t intend to order deep-fried pork. It was good, very General Tso kind of taste.

Hot Sweet Pork

The scallops and shrimp in black bean sauce was too delicate for us. We decided everything about it was beautiful, and the problem is probably more our palate, which likes more intensity.

Scallop and Shrimp in Black Bean

 

All in all, it was a very tasty meal. If we were to go back, which we will the next time we are in Victoria, I would try the Cantonese Chow Mein, or one of the noodle dishes for which they are famous. We saw them all around us, glistening and gorgeous, and they looked divine. Cannot wait to go back 🙂

I still miss the Taiwan Tourismo, in Jordan, where we had authentic, amazingly tasty Chinese food and never even knew how extraordinary it was. I miss the China Queen, later the Great Wall of China, in Mahboula, Kuwait, a little hole in the wall where the Chinese workers ate and I could point and say “I want that, please!” Real Chinese is different from North American Restaurant Chinese.

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May 20, 2016 Posted by | Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Jordan, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel, Values | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pah Ke’s in Kaneohe; Really Good Chinese Food

I had asked my friend if we could eat “really good” Chinese food at some point while I was visiting, and she knew just the place.

My friend is a very laid back driver, but she is puzzled, she has never seen the parking lot so full before. It is so full we have to park across the busy street and walk across. The lot is full of small busses, and vans, and there isn’t a parking space to be had. Even all the illegal spaces are taken!

When we walk inside, we are filled with horror. There is an event going on at Pah Ke’s. Does this mean we won’t be able to eat there? There are about thirty very large tables, ten or twelve people at each table, eating some of the most delicious looking food I have ever seen. The waitress ushers us to a table over at the side; there are maybe three or four tables for people not in this large group.

“What’s going on?” we ask the waitress.

“Special celebration for this retired group; Chinese New Years,” the waitress replied.

The place was packed, many of the Chinese women in traditional bright red silk.

PakHeExterior

 

PakHeCrowd

“It doesn’t look like much,” my friend said, “but everyone who loves Chinese food eats here. We have to start with their special salad”

 

The food came quickly, in spite of the large crowd. We got to watch the crowd depart as we savored our own delicacies.

I had never heard of a special Chinese salad before, but this salad is special Chinese-in-Hawaii salad, with tropical fruits and a sweet dressing, and watermelon. It is fabulous.

PkHeSalad

 

Scallops and asparagus on a bed of spinach. Great!

PkHeScallop

Our very favorite: Szechuan Eggplant and pork

PakHeEggplant

Huge shrimp with walnuts

PakHeShrimp

We ate it all. We didn’t take home a drop. We ate at Pah Ke’s again, on our way to the airport the day we left, and it was just as good. What a treat.

This is where we spent the rest of the day . . . 🙂

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March 14, 2016 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Holiday, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment