There are many restaurants labeled as Chinese in Davis. Even some of the other forms of Asian restaurants tack on "And Chinese Food" somewhere on their signs. They are almost always referring to an Americanized version of Chinese food, which can be entirely different. It's just kind of its own thing. Hunan and Silver Dragon are usually suggested as restaurants that do a good job straddling the line between Asian influence and Anglo-American taste buds. Davis' Chinese restaurants are quite a good deal at lunch time, but rice may cost a buck or two extra if you don't get a lunch special. Shanghai Town and Hometown Chinese Food, followed by the Old Teahouse and maybe Davis Noodle City, are often considered the most authentic and unique to true Chinese food. Shanghai Town is the only restaurant in Davis that offers dim sum. The Dumpling House offers Chinese dumplings.
Historically, there is great variance in cooking styles and taste preferences throughout Chinese-speaking lands. Therefore, Chinese restaurants often highlight the regional origin of a dish through naming conventions, and the more authentic restaurants tend to specialize in a particular region's cuisine overall. For example, despite some similarities, Old Teahouse would be considered predominantly Taiwanese, whereas Quickly is more oriented towards the style of Hong Kong. Hometown Chinese Food specializes in Taiwanese cuisine. Shanghai Town emphasizes the culinary heritage of the Shanghai area.
Even heavily Americanized dishes usually exhibit at least some basis of a traditional Chinese food culture. For example, the widely-available Kung Pao chicken and twice-cooked pork are loosely based on the more authentic Szechuan originals of the Szechuan province. Also, dishes with "Mandarin" in the title are generally associated with the Beijing area.
see also Dim Sum
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Grocery Store Deli Chinese
Lunch specials starting at $4.25 can be found at most restaurants.
Hunan's specials are especially famous because of the variety and the fact that you get a crab-wanton and BOTH noodles and rice, along with the obligatory soup and tea.
The sad thing is that arguably the most authentic Chinese food in Davis can be gotten at Old Teahouse, in terms of selection and serving food without sweet sauces, although this says little about quality there (which is uneven). For those who truly love authentic Chinese cuisine, it's hard to do much better than New Canton. Its Chinese name is something like "Tailwind," just to be random, and it is located on Broadway & 26th in Sacramento. Chef Tony Su used to be Executive Chef at ABC in Milpitas, which is the best Chinese restaurant in the Northern California (sharing this honor also with Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae). —jr
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2004-11-16 00:39:04 I don't care what the best in the WORLD is if I can't get there. - MarieHuynh
2004-11-16 00:44:57 Hong Kong Flower Lounge is pretty impressive. The lobster and crab were excellent, but the lemon chicken and the rice were pretty bad. - MikeIvanov
2004-11-16 01:20:29 Even the best restaurants have their unfortunate moments. Bad rice? wow. - JaimeRaba
2004-11-29 20:26:02 How is it possible for a chinese restaurant to screw up rice?!? They use giant rice cookers, not bamboo stalks! - MarieHuynh
2006-10-29 01:13:55 go to sacramento for decent chinese food —PatrickSing
2007-06-02 18:26:17 I think Davis may have the highest Chinese restaurant to population ratio in California. It's absurd. —AlexPomeranz
2007-09-23 18:36:54 Ahh.. I would say the most authentic Chinese is Shanghai Town. Can't argue that New Canton is probably the best in SacTown. —atwong
2010-01-26 16:51:00 New Canton has really fallen off in the last few years IMO. For Dim Sum in Sac, I highly recommend the Rice Bowl now. —rfrazier
2010-02-07 13:45:00 My favorite Chinese food in Davis can be had at either Davis Noodle City or Red Orchid Restaurant (same owners). I love their homemade noodles. I dream about their homemade noodles, especially paired with szechuan eggplant. Yum. A close second is Wok of Flame, where the ingredients are always high quality and the sauces tasty. —CovertProfessor
2013-03-21 22:51:18 Don't eat Golden Sun —JessicaLee