|640 West Covell Boulevard #B|
|Mon-Sat: Lunch: 11:30pm-3:00pm, Dinner: 3:00pm-9:30pm|
|Note: For up-to-date menu prices, check their website.|
Ding How is one of those obscure restaurants that aren't ever busy but should be based on the quality of their dishes. It's easy to see why many overlook this place: it's in an unglamorous location by Save-Mart, the decor is almost tacky, and the vibe is slow, simple, and low-key. However, like many outstanding dining spots, it's what you eat at Ding How that you'll remember, not trivialities like location.
Ding How serves a nice variety of Mandarin-style dishes in beef, pork, chicken, and seafood, and there is an impressive range of vegetarian dishes for a Chinese restaurant. Indeed, the quality and choice of the vegetarian dishes are such that I suspect that one of the cooks, if not the main cook, is a hardcore vegetarian Buddhist (Chinese Buddhist vegetarian cooking has a long history and is filled with amazing recipes). Also, unlike many other Chinese places, Ding How for the most part is not heavy-handed with the cornstarch, oil, or monosodium glutamate. Your chicken, beef, pork, or tofu will be swimming in flavorful sauces, but it won't be the thick, gummy, oily, salty glop you get at most places, such as the godforsaken booths that seem to haunt every large mall's food court like moldering cadavers. The prices are reasonable, and the service is matter-of-fact, kind, and prompt. Ding How is the one of the only Chinese restaurants in Davis that serves steamed BBQ pork buns. They're quite large, and come in three per order (although it also comes in the "dim sum platter" order). They do not make these buns, they buy them in the Bay Area and bring them in. So when they run out of them, it takes two or three weeks before they're back on the menu.
Vegetarians have an ace in the hole with Ding How. There is a great variety of vegetarian dishes (yes, you get more than "mixed vegetables!" and "sweet and sour tofu!" at Ding How), and all are top-notch.
If you eat meat, a must-try is the "chin jiu" chicken. The smoky, rich, and mellow flavors infused into this chicken are just unbelievably good. It's not too salty, not too spicy, not too anything. It's "just right."
Ding How is the place to try soup. Many Chinese places give their soups an overpoweringly salty/monosodium glutamate flavor and a gloppy, almost gel-like consistency. In contrast, almost any soup you get at Ding How will be "clear" in both flavor and texture, yet full-flavored and unbelievably rich and satisfying.
Most of the few appetizers on Ding How's menu are ordinary and easily passed over without any regret. However, do try the shu mai if you eat meat, since Ding How's version is quite well done.
A must-try is the vegetarian bowl soup, which is my most favorite dish at this place. This soup is a wonderful melange of rich broth, mushrooms, tofu, taro root, clear noodles, cabbage, and a wide variety of fun, tasty Chinese-style "fake meats" that have traditionally been used in Buddhist vegetarian cooking. The soup is a meal in itself for two people.
For an average of six bucks, you can get a fantastic lunch combination and eat till you are fit to burst. Try it!
Ding How has a poor health inspection record with multiple complaints.
?? Two complaints. One in 2007, one in 2008. Since then they have been golden.
The records online aren't kept up to date. Very few restaurants have anything from even early 2009 listed on the webpage. Relatively few restaurants have any complaints listed since they started putting the records online, much less two in two years. Given that the number of violations per report listed online is unusually high, and the two complaints, and the numerous comments below with concerns about cleanliness, it seems likely that people will want to know about their health problems. —TomGarberson
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Are you kidding me? 3 friends and I ate there and the soup was VERY salty, the food was salty, the tea tasted funny and we did NOT take the leftovers home. - MarieHuynh
I think the only good dish is their shrimp fried rice... -JasminCamacho
Note that vegetarians should ask for the vegetarian menu... on which most dishes are described as though they contain meat but in fact are prepared with meat substitutes. — JeffNewmiller
Normally I'm a vegetarian that doesn't like meat substitutes, but have been really happy with the veggie menu here. -aec
This is one of my new favorite restaurants. It's been 10 years since I ate meat, and yesterday was the first time since then that I've been able to eat won ton soup and lemon chicken. I had a craving and decided to check out their vegetarian menu. The food was so better than I even expected. The vegetarian "chicken" had the exact consistency of real chicken, and as far as I was concerned, tasted almost identical. I might even say that their vegetarian won ton soup was better than the real stuff! This is definitely a unique restaurant that should not be passed up. — TerraSmithers
First-time-visit comments (from a vegetarian visitor) — The vegetarian egg rolls seemed a little less flavorful than I would have expected. The asparagus with garlic was the perfect texture with a light sauce allowing the flavor from the asparagus to blend well. The vegetarian fried rice with chick-n was tasty, with the fake chicken being surprisingly good. I'm thinking about taking a vegetarian friend to this place, because they serve pretty much everything as vegetarian. The food overall did not seem overly greasy, as other comments on this page agree with. — CoryHamma
I spoke to the owner and she told me that the soup broth is cooked for days to ensure its rich texture and flavor, which according to her allows her NOT to use any MSG to enhance its flavor. I always am satisifed when I go, and their food is well prepared, light on the stomach and always a tasty trip and a half. —RobertBaron
We got our string beans and chow mein reasonably promptly...then waited a VERY long time for the other two entrees. At long last, we got the first entree, and were told that the second would be ready shortly. More than 20 minutes passed between getting the first entree and the bill, which we got BEFORE the second entree, which seemed to have been completely forgotten about—the waitress said she thought we were done already. I tipped 15%, but only on the prompt items. — JudithTruman
My husband and I have two favorite Chinese food places, and this is the first one. The waitress is a little curt and sometimes has a problem understanding english, but the food is fantastic. Best hot and sour soup in town if you ask me, perfect blend of flavors. — TarynHornen
I went there today, December 7th, 2005. I wasn't too impressed. Their General Tsuo Chicken was okay, but their Kung Pao was SO salty. Their portions are definitely smaller than some of the other places in town. Definitely won't be coming back here anytime soon. — ClaytonRehmus
2006-02-19 14:28:44 I had lunch here on Friday (02/17/06). There was someone at the cash register, but she looked at me, IGNORED me, walked away, and I wasn't seated until some waiter walked up three minutes later. There were a coupla servers walking around idly and yet I had to wait ages just to order! I love how the Chinese tea bag label hung outside of the teapot. The hot-and-sour soup was orange gelatinous crap with sparse unidentified objects (mushrooms?) floating around. Okay, dude, prawns and shrimp are not the same thing! The shrimp (which the server said were "very big") in garlic sauce lunch special arrived promptly. I liked that there were a lot of shrimp in it (eight is a good number for being 40% of the dish), but it was not impressive- typical Chinese-American over-sauced, too oily MSG-ed fare, which can be found anywhere. If I'd found it appetizing, I'm sure it would've filled me up. —JennaChan
2006-02-19 15:29:11 I've been here twice and it's pretty decent as far as Davis chinese food goes. I don't really know of any chinese restaurant that's consistently good in Davis. But the people are always nice to me when I've gone (I was under dressed, which I know is hard to do). As far as food goes, the only memorable dish I've had are the crab won tons; they're different from the ones at Sophia's in that Sophia's uses crab meat, and Ding How uses a crab sauce; both are equally good, though. Otherwise, the food is overwhelmingly similar to any other average chinese restaurant in Davis. Another compliment about the service, though, is that they'll actually PUT the food in the to-go box instead of leaving it on the table for you to scoop it in yourself. —Saul
2006-03-17 10:54:32 We ate there a few nights ago. The food was great. My test of good Chinese cooking is being able to taste the individual vegetables with a crisp, clean taste, not stale or overloaded with oil or soy sauce. The food passed most excellently. —GrumpyoldGeek
2006-04-09 18:38:14 POTSTICKERS...is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Ding How. I don't pay attention to the time, especially during rush hours, for something that I KNOW will touch my appetite. If you're a person of QUALITIES not quantities, than this is DEFINITELY a restaurant for you. Umm...potstickers... —TinaVue
2006-07-14 06:55:28 The place is one of the better chinese restaurants in Davis, it's pretty clean and pretty relaxed —KillerBobo
2006-08-07 19:20:31 I'm sorry, but the service there is S-L-O-W. You can wait a good 20 minutes before you're asked what you'd like to order, the water glasses are rarely filled, and the food takes forever to come! Admittedly, some of their dishes are tasty, but I don't go there if I have other choices. —SteffiChristiana
2006-08-16 14:09:52 I probably should have read these reviews before going there. I wouldn't have ordered 2 meat dishes. My friend ordered the Volcano Chicken and I ordered some combination seafood dish. Mine came out fresh and tasty, but nothing special. His dish was laughable. The dish was served as a plate of deep fried battered chicken pieces and canned pineapple. They then light some sweet and sour sauce (presumably with alcohol) on fire and pour it over the chicken. I've never been a fan of sweet and sour dishes, but this was probably one of the worst versions I've had. I told my friend that he was "paying for the show" and not the food with that one. Service was also below average. Some of my friends have vouched for this restaurant, but I didn't think it was anything special. —WinstonLee
2006-09-17 20:42:31 I placed a to go order over the phone (Lemon Chick-n). The woman told me it would take 10 minutes. I ended up waiting close to half an hour to get my food (a couple was seated and received their order before I got mine). As for the food, I wanted a bunch of tasty crap to fill me up and it more or less delivered. The food is nothing special, but not bad either. At $7, though, I would have expected more food (or at least some free rice). The vegetarian menu is nice and it is awfully close to where I live so I may go back. But I'm not entirely sold on this place either. In the meantime I'll continue to try and find a good Chinese restaurant in Davis. —SteveKent
2006-10-09 16:02:55 I don't think their "chin Jiu" chicken is that good. It's basically what other chinese restaruants would call salt and pepper chicken. The place look okay but the food is too Americanized for my tastes. —KiwiSelina
I've been here once, I really didn't care fore it at all. It was all so underwhelming; small dishes, bland or dry food. Not my thing.—ClaytonRehmus
2007-01-10 22:11:48 First off, let me say that my family has been eating at Ding How for 25 years. Places dont' stay open that long if they suck, it's too hard to stay open in the restaurant business if you are no good. That said, I do think they are riding on Jimmy (the previous owner)'s fame a bit and not working too hard at their craft lately. I still love Ding How. Recently however they brought on their daughter to waitserve. In the past six months I have eaten there about ten times and she has not gotten any better (I guess that's what happens in family businesses sometimes; hire your own and they aren't going to work all that hard to keep their job unless they feel a sense of investment in the biz). She is a truly terrible waitress; know her by her 'carriage' (which is considerable), and her complete lack of any kind of respect for personal space or knowledge of waitserving. Everyone else is as good as ever. Some of the dishes have gone a bit bland, but many are still tried and true. —YesItsMe
2007-03-05 17:38:44 Ding How offers the best vegetarian food I know of. —GeoffJohnson
2007-03-24 19:35:55 We ordered take-out, and when we picked it up, we found a German Cockroach crawling in the box. German cockroaches are the kind that feed on regular food rather than insects...etc. We got our money back and went elsewhere. —JeffBoyce
2007-03-27 16:44:09 Cockroaches are present in all of your favorite restaurants, even the ones that are over $20/plate. I'm sorry you got one in your Ding How food, I hope they were cool about it. The aforementioned waitress hasn't gotten any better as of this writing, so I'm pretty sure she never will. Still, go to Ding How for some good old-fashioned Davis-style Chinese food. —YesItsMe
2007-04-18 11:53:21 I like the eggrolls, but I'll stay away from the sweet and sour pork from now on. —AliceChoe
2007-05-02 20:32:01 I really want to like this place, but the service is like dying a slow death and a lot of the dishes are overly fried. However, if you choose your dishes carefully and get take-out, you can avoid most of the pain. —CovertProfessor
2007-05-08 16:25:52 Oh man, don't order takeout from Ding How if you're in a hurry. I live 10 minutes away. If I call and they tell me it'll be 30 minutes, I leave 30 minutes later. After the 10 minute drive, I still end up waiting for 15 minutes for the food to be ready. Never fails.
There is a sort of camaraderie among Ding How takeout patrons, though. As an order is brought to the register, you can feel the anticipation and the jealousy. And when the lucky diner's name is called, there's a collective sigh of frustration among all those whose food STILL isn't ready. —MupDup
2007-06-08 17:37:24 I used to live near here and the food was always ready within 10-15 minutes when I ordered to go. Some of the things on the menu do take a long time to make, such as the mock meat vegetarian items... they are usually good about telling you though. I like their potstickers. One time the service was VERY slow but the waitress just seemed out of it. There is a big room in the back that can accommodate big parties. If you live in North Davis go here and then get a movie at 49'er. —MissBelomy
2007-06-14 18:06:26 the best pot stickers and chow mein we have ever had all around the world (*but we've never been in china*) : all very very VERY fresh, home made. —hector&rosy
2007-07-06 13:32:48 I love this place! I went here with as a group of four so I got to try 4 different vegetarian items.
1) Veg Lemon Chicken (Spam-looking with fried outer layer and lemon sauce. Very creative)
2) Veg General Tso chicken (Different from the lemon chicken, stringy-ish, reminded me of pork)
3) Veg Prawns w/ Black bean sauce (My friend loved it, you can taste a hint of seafood flavor)
4) Veg Mandarin beef (I was most impressed with this! Very thin pieces of meat. How do they create that beef taste?!)
I will def be back to try more of their creative veg mock meat dishes! Service was good esp since the comments here are so negative
2007-07-16 12:44:45 There are better Chinese food restaurants in Davis, but not for vegetarians. So many options for the hungry herbivore! Also, the lunch time deal is great and I would highly recommend eating in the restaurant, rather then opting for take out, because you get more food. I like the decor- it is rather kitschy. The service is on again, off again, it really just depends on the weather, planetary alignment, etc. Stay away from the sweet and sour dishes, and go for the spicier ones (like the veggie Szechuan beef). If your dining party contains no vegetarians, go for a better option like Hunan. —JillBenciWoodward
2007-07-19 01:05:19 My family and I eat here once a week. We love it! —Surfnoc
2007-09-06 21:12:31 I just tried Ding How today for the first time. We ordered to go. I was a bit taken aback by the location and appearance, but gave it a shot. Wow, it was delicious! It took them 10-15 minutes to get the food ready to pick up, and it was ready when I got there. I had vegetarian Chow Fun, delicious, but there were some strange looking mushrooms that looked like they came from a backyard somewhere. I didn't eat them, there were other normal mushrooms that were good. My boyfriend got the Won Ton soup, size large, and he loved it. The portions were smaller than I was expecting, and our meal was between $12 and $13. So, not too cheap for not too much, but deliciousness that will have us eating there again very soon. Give it a shot! —MissL
2007-09-06 21:21:41 The vegetarian (imitation meat) Mongolian Beef is delicious (along with most of the fake meat dishes). I say give it a try... —ZackFrederick
2007-09-08 13:39:27 The funny thing is that the comments provide no definitive description of the Ding How restaurant. Everyone has opposing ideas about every aspect of the restaurant. My experience was a positive one over all. I do like the decor, its fine. The egg plant is delicious, and the very best item I had was the Chin Jiu chicken, which I highly recommend as my favorite thing on their menu. It is very maturely and perfectly spiced fried chicken. The only downer was that they were out of Pork Buns in the evening. If you are looking for Dim sum there, you might want to call first! The waiters are polite and prompt. Service was not slow. I'd say just read the above entry without the comments and you're well off. Because of the general lack of consistency, I recommend disregarding the comments in general (which is kind of contradictory, ha!) —AnnaF
2007-09-13 18:09:26 is this place vegan too? —JessicaRockwell
2007-10-10 16:57:21 My wife and I ordered vegetarian take-out last night. The small soups were HUGE - only $3.50 each. I got the Hot & Sour, she got the Wonton. Both were superb and tasted every bit as "real" as the regular meat versions. In fact, I think better. Not as greasy. The fake beef was excellent. Not a big fan of the clear sauce, but the veggies were fresh. Tofu was very tasty and noodles were well done. We'd go back again and try some other dishes. Again, can't stress how huge the takeout soups were. Nearly a meal in themselves! —KidPixel
2008-02-06 16:48:26 Service was VERY BAD. The waitress was very rude and did not take our order until 20 mins. later. It's very unfortunate that the vegetarian food is good and the service is bad. —tree
2008-02-13 00:42:27 the waiter here was HOT as hell. —echelon
2008-03-13 17:20:39 Given the number of comments in support of the soup, and the Hot & Sour soup in particular (one of my favorite Chinese food choices), my wife and I ordered wonton and hot & sour soup to go. The degree to which it sucked was profound. The hot and sour soup tasted like a chemical had been added, and the wonton soup tasted like the wonton filling had gone sour. I called to ask if they made their hot and sour soup differently than other places, and I was basically told to order my soup from somewhere else from now on. Which I certainly will. The shumai were crap, the pork buns were crap, but the Chin Jiu Chicken, I must say, was pretty damned tasty .... but not tasty enough to make me go back. —FredBarrett
I'm not surprised it would taste like a chemical had been added, seeing as how that is quite true. In fact, I think almost everything you have ever tasted would taste like a chemical seeing as how it is one. Or maybe you are only talking about "bad" chemicals? Did you go and drink some drano after for comparison? I call BS on this... —NickSchmalenberger
2008-05-12 01:55:22 Lately, their portion shrank and their prices went up. Despite that, it's still worth checking them out. —thelonepiper555
2008-06-07 10:10:18 Their "vegetarian menu" contains many items with fish/oyster sauce (even if it doesn't say "fish sauce" or "oyster sauce" in the name). Be sure to be very clear that you don't want these sauces in your dish, because they don't consider fish/oyster sauce non-vegetarian. When my boyfriend and I asked why they had anything with fish sauce on their vegetarian menu, since it's not vegetarian, the lady replied "Maybe not YOUR type of vegetarian." So...yeah. Just be aware of it. That said, if the items really are faux meat, they're very good, and very realistic—granted, we haven't eaten meat in years, but there have been a couple of times we haven't been 100% sure that the item was really mock meat (for instance, I don't know how they achieved the "marble" look in their twice-cooked vegetarian pork. It looked very real, but we're giving them the benefit of the doubt). —S.O.S.
2008-06-22 16:46:43 Their chicken fried rice was the worst food I've had in Davis. After scooping out the giant cubes of fat and gristle that took up more than half of the carryout container, I couldn't even finish the flavorless remains and had to go to Taco Bell. I did try a piece of a friend's general chicken that wasn't too bad, but not good enough to risk another trip. Davis Chinese is hit or miss already, but even when I get MSG-sick from Hometown I get to eat real meat. —Bartgot
2008-06-22 17:17:27 I really like certain dishes at this place. Chin jiu chicken, Ding How special pan-fried noodles, wonton soup, and crab-cheese wontons are all delicious. However, I will also say that they can be very hit-or-miss in terms of quality. I once made the mistake of being adventurous and ordering their broccoli beef and pork buns. Both were vile, and I have avoided them ever since. —JoePomidor
2008-07-05 19:25:25 This place is awful. Who the heck said it was clean? No it's not. It's got health code violations up the wazoo! Go check the Yolo county health department. In fact, no restaraunt in DAvis has more violations than this place. Just walk inside and go to the bathroom. Does this look like a sanitary place? The fact taht some idiots said this place is clean is beyond my comprehension. The food can be good (after all it's all fried). But I guarantee if I order 5 things, one of them is going to be seriously messed up. Just don't go here. Hunan is a much, much better deal. —JimBob
2008-07-06 02:45:32 One of the best Veg places in town for the veg or non veg alike. I eat meat but my better half doesn't and we can always agree on a few dishes that I don't have to have real meat in when we eat here. Infact I don't mind ordering everything veg because the fake meat is so good. We never make a trip to Ding Hows with out getting some veg Hot and Sour soup. YUMMY! —SeanMartir
2008-08-06 22:12:55 YUMMY! Sooo good. They have a whole separate vegetarian menu with imitation meat. It's delish...does anyone know if they're food has oyster sauce in it tho???? —PalakKapasi
2008-08-09 17:29:26 This place is highly addictive. Not only my favorite restaurant in Davis, but my favorite restaurant ever. I can't actually speak to the quality of their meat because I always order from the vegetarian menu. Seriously, their fake meat tastes better than the real thing! —hokusman
2008-09-20 18:44:30 The food seems always to be good when I go, but last time I went there was a huge problem with the waitresses there. At first they forgot our drinks, which is fine, but then they also forgot which type of soup to bring us, forgot to bring us sweetener, and avoided eye contact with us when we tried to ask for refills, our check, and boxes. This is was ridiculous because we were one of the few people walking in there for lunch. They lady at the cashier was rather cold too, but I couldn't bring myself to add a tip after all the mistakes and discourtesy.
I'm hoping they were just having a bad day, because it has been pretty good otherwise. The Chin Jiu chicken is to die for! —AnnaF
2008-10-02 15:53:15 We had the most surreal dining experience here last week. I had been there before, but I decided to bring my partner for his first visit. It was 8:45 and the door said they close at 9:30, but the place was completely empty. We waited a while & a young woman emerged from the back. We asked, "Are you still serving?" She looked at the clock and said, "Unfortunately, yes." Despite her less than inviting welcome, we decided we would still sit down. We are vegan & I really wanted my fiance to try the mock meat they offer. We quickly placed our order, & as she was taking the menus away she says, "Can you please eat fast?" After we laughed her comments off, she later told us she had been working 10 hours, so we understood a bit about where she was coming from. When I offered to pay our check as soon as our food came out, she said, "That's alright, enjoy your meal, you two have grown on me." There were a few more strange conversations with our server, but I am going to keep those to myself.
The food was worth it. The veggie potstickers were large & very yummy. The hot & sour soup (minus the egg) had a great unique taste, but seemed to contain a lot of cornstarch to thicken it. The kung pao with mock-chicken was spicy & full of flavors. The mock-beef & asparagus was also delicious, but just a tad too salty. The meal was worth the weirdness of the dining experience. We will be back! —AprilAries
2008-11-03 17:52:11 As far as vegetarian meats go, Ding How has some of the best. The texture of the Mongolian beef is very much like real beef and the Hot and Sour soup is tasty. If dishes are shared, it also becomes a relatively cheap dining option. Also, if you can make your own rice you can save a couple of dollars getting food to go. —IgnatPrintsev
2008-12-28 16:27:52 The vegetarian bowl and the veggie hot and sour soup are both highly recommended; very flavorful and rich broth. The fake meat can taste a bit greasy and over-fried sometimes. —VinceLee
2009-02-09 17:16:27 I picked up the other day and they messed up my order — I got the egg rolls instead of the BBQ pork buns. Orange chicken pieces are tasty, but soooo big! A little pricey, too. I would go to the Red Orchid Restaurant instead. —strawberry
2009-04-04 00:29:04 HAHAHA!!! Its me, the daughter with the carriage who has no knowledge of waitressing. First of all, dont make stupid comments about what u dont know. We're not using Jimmy's fame, he is a dear family friend who retired and chosen my dad to take over. Maybe i just dont like you, and wish not to give u good service. Acknowledge the fact I had no proper training, and didnt choose to wait tables. My family needed me, so before you go online saying unneccesary gestures about my weight.. make sure u know the truth, and have some respect. U want personal space? C'mon, how big is the restaurant? My carriage will be in the way no matter what. I do appreciate how u observe me on the job, i must envy u. —smokelala
— You should probably visit the Wiki a bit more often given that those comments were made in January 2007
2009-04-05 01:40:46 I used to love Ding How. Since my friend introduced it to me in January I have eaten there probably a dozen times. I am a vegetarian and loved the soft and flavourful "faux meat." My latest trip, however, has turned me off of Ding How forever. I made my order over the phone, as I had done many times, and order vegetarian General's "Chicken." They verified my order, everything seemed great, I went to my friends house to feast. I always check breaded food before I eat it, just to be safe. I have never had a bad meal at Ding How, so I didn't expect anything funny to turn up, I was just playing safe as most vegetarians do. I was shocked when I cut open the "chicken" and found NOT the soft and mushy centers I am used to seeing, but stringy pieces of something that looked suspiciously like chicken, actual chicken. I smelt it, and I could really only smell the sauce. I decided to take a chance and eat it...much to my horror the chicken was not the soft texture I am used to but stringy and chewy and horrifyingly similar to chicken. I ran the food over to my friend who is a vegetarian with a B.S. in Nutrition/Food Science (I can never remember which). The verdict? Chicken, definitely. I was horrified, I felt ill! I called Ding How and told them about the mistake...and the lady on the phone said that *I* was mistaken. Mistaken? She asked me if I had ever ordered the "chicken" before, and I told her I had, many times. I knew EXACTLY what to expect! I was flabbergasted that she didn't believe me. Regardless, she told me to bring the suspect chicken back to the restaurant so that they could look it over. So, we drove back to Ding How from Mace. When we got to the restaurant, I opened the box and the lady smiled and told me it was not Chicken, but 100% vegetarian. I told her that this was not the same kind of food I had ordered in the past. The waitress insisted that the meal was vegetarian and that they had recently changed their menu and used more authentic and "expensive" ingredients in their vegetarian food. Then, she told me to ask anyone sitting in the restaurant if it was vegetarian, and she claimed that no one would question its authenticity. I'll be honest, I was seriously taken aback by this statement. I still have no idea if it was really chicken or not. I have had MANY different kinds of faux chicken before, but nothing that tasted and felt so real...I didn't know whether I could believe her or not. Since the food was already cold and I was disgusted, I asked them to take the food back and they issued me a refund (which was pretty decent considering). I left with a terrible feeling in my stomach, both literally and figuratively. If they have changed their recipe, their "faux meat" is SO close to the real deal that it is disgusting to me. I am a vegetarian because I do not want to eat animal flesh, and so something that real was just unappetizing, even revolting, to me. When I eat a morning star farms veggie patty, I KNOW that it isn't sausage because it doesn't taste anything like it. I cannot say that the same logic applies to Ding How's vegetarian menu anymore, at least in terms of chicken. I feel like the waitress was patronizing me and seemed to consider my worries to be trivial. I was trying to be as polite and reasonable as possible...even though inside I was freaking out. I loved eating at Ding How's, I felt like I finally had a Chinese restaurant that I felt safe eating at—and I got my comfort foods back again. I no longer feel comfortable eating at this restaurant and will not be returning. —ArianeMetz
2009-06-09 11:16:29 My girlfriend loves this place. She is vegan and this restaurant has a separate menu specifically made for vegans. She can get any pork, beef, chicken dish she wants. They just replace the meat with a look-alike tofu contraption that apparently tastes the same. I enjoy the place also (I am a meatatarian). Definitely recommended for vegetarians and vegans that want a wide variety. —MedievaLW
2009-09-09 12:18:16 I went to Ding How with a friend for lunch. I ordered their Chicken in Garlic Sauce and my friend ordered their Sweet & Sour Chicken (or pork). The lunch came with Hot & Sour Soup — which was actually quite peppery — and those fried wafers, the name of which escapes me. Hot tea was also served. Typically they also have Egg Flower soup available for lunches but that was out. Chow Mein and Fried Rice came as sides. We enjoyed our meals and thought that the chicken was very well prepared and of good quality with little fat. The Chicken in Garlic sauce is not fried like at Davis Noodle City although, frankly, the dishes are so different that they probably shouldn't be compared :-) The fried rice had little flavor and was the only part we didn't care for much. Their egg rolls were very good and had no meat (perfect). Service was very good. Value for the lunches we had were definitely very good. —RyanMikulovsky
2009-10-24 11:38:35 we ordered take out and were very pleased - our order was ready fast and the food was great. Another plus was that we ordered 3 dishes and steamed rice and the total was only $22 - which I think is extremely reasonable! We will definitely go back. The wanton soup was tasty but very salty. —Bardy
2009-10-24 18:42:01 I really wish restaurants like this would start having some other sort of meat inside of the bbq buns aside from pork. I don't like pork, but that bread is just so darn tasty. —SunjeetBaadkar
Pork is pretty darn common though. They actually buy these straight from the Bay Area rather than make their own, so when they run out it takes a while before they restock. -ES
2009-12-08 12:56:10 I use to like this restaurant until today. When I was eating lunch there, a bug (looked like a roach) crawled onto my table...when I turned to exit there was a bug (again looked like a roach) was crawling on the floor. If you have issues with bugs, I wouldn’t eat there. But the food is pretty good. —RTSH
2010-02-01 22:45:34 Dang, did you have to tell that bug story? They got the best Lemon Chicken in town! —DavidFeliz
2010-02-01 22:50:37 They had a couple of complaints investigated by Yolo County Environmental Health in 2008 and one in 2007. Online records aren't older than that. But it looks like they do have quite the history of being nasty as hell! See the health inspection record linked at the top. *Shudder* one of the three worst in Davis based on number of health code violations (along with Delta of Venus and Kathmandu Kitchen). Haven't been there before, luckily, and probably won't go. I am bummed about KK though. —TomGarberson
2010-02-01 22:53:13 I used to live at an apartment within walking distance of this place, I must have gotten takeout around 3 or 4 dozen times. I think you're putting too much stock in these health reports. I've never been sick or had a single bad dish at Ding How. —rfrazier
2010-02-24 01:47:52 I really love this place. My friends and I come here very often for lunch special and the vegetarian hot and sour is AMAZING. We're all vegetarian and vegan so it's awesome to find a place with tons of options that taste great and aren't expensive at all. It is rare that anyone is able to finish their entire meal in one sitting. I could rave about this place all day... —PhilMann
2010-02-28 12:21:55 Well I went there the other day. the food was delicious. Everything was wonderful until the dude at the cash register snatched my money that I was politely handing to him. I want to say that maybe he didn't actually mean to do it but that was kind of rude. —HyeRin
2010-03-06 14:19:21 I really like this place. The vegetarian menu is like a dream come true on the days that I'm craving beef and broccoli. Good stuff! I've never had any issues here as far as service or icky stuff, so I'll continue eating here. If you haven't been here before, please give it a try. —MichellePalmer
2010-03-09 13:21:43 Best vegetarian food in davis. hands down. workers are always very helpful and polite. —csawasaki
2010-03-29 14:18:21 The vegetarian lemon chicken is AMAZING. I get it almost every time. The staff have always been very friendly when I've come in. —pwong
2010-03-29 15:09:52 Question for Ding How fans: which dishes (particularly vegetarian dishes) are not battered and fried (as opposed to ordinary stir fry or even steamed)? Either most of their dishes are, or I've just made bad choices. And the wait staff hasn't been illuminating on this issue. —CovertProfessor
2010-04-29 15:32:12 Amazing vegetarian menu. The food is pretty good and the spinach tofu soup is my favorite. —Ldish949
2010-05-12 00:52:53 Last weekend I found a hair in my food. I calmly told them about it and they comped my meal. In fact, the server didn't seem very surprised about it — he just went and told someone about it (the manager?) and came back and told me the meal was free. I really like(d) this place. Damn it! —MichellePalmer
2010-06-05 15:54:53 This place was great. It was the first time I've been here after a year of living in Davis. Such a great Vegetarian menu! the mandarin chicken tasted better than i remember real chicken tasting like! mmm. And the waiter was so nice! My friends really wanted fruit so he brought us out 2 plates of cut up oranges! Great service yummy food. I ate sooo much and had left overs which were really good cold too! Definitely going back to this place. —Jshpoly
2010-06-29 00:08:49 This has been one of my favorite places to eat for well over 10 years. It is perhaps the best Chinese food in town and they are consistently good. We also order from the vegetarian/vegan menu quite often and the flavors are outstanding.
That being said... I just had a VERY unpleasant experience eating with my friend, another long-time Ding How devotee. We were just finishing up dining in the restaurant, both saying how much we loved the food and the atmosphere, when a medium-sized cockroach scurried up along the table's edge near the wall. We were both horrified and I smushed it with a napkin. Grossed out, we cautiously went back to eating. Not 30 seconds later, a SECOND cockroach came scurrying up from the same spot. At this point we had to flag a waitress over who got rather embarrassed and did not charge us for the meal, which was a very nice gesture. Then if things couldn't get worse, a THIRD cockroach went along the wall behind us into the booth where another couple was eating. I turned around and politely informed them of the cockroach heading their way and they were about as horrified as we were. We quickly left, and I think the other couple left as well shortly after.
I hate to hurt Ding How's business because I still love their food, but... multiple cockroaches crawling across the table and wall really does kill your appetite. I'm definitely not done with Ding How by a long shot, but I don't think I'll be eating there for a little while. Gotta wait till they up their vermin defenses a bit more. —Chronoz
In fairness to Ding How, Davis has had an emergence of cockroaches over the last year not seen in my 15 years in Davis. They're all over the place... —ScottLay
Agreed. I've noticed the cockroach problem is a lot worse. My garage is just filled with them (they seem to be coming to it to die, my guess, from the heat). —SunjeetBaadkar
2010-08-24 18:49:01 First Visit: Ordered the Prawn Szechuan- Prawns swimming in red corn syrup sauce. I have not tasted desserts sweeter than this. They simply dont know Szechuan cooking, period. They didn't even refill my glass of water. NEVER going there again. —snehalt
2010-09-30 19:33:32 So my girlfriend and I like to mix the hot and sour soup with the rice... makes a tasty meal. Chin jiu chicken and the mapo tofu are prolly the best items on the menu. The lunch specials are also a really good deal so catch it before 3pm! :D —mushroomdreamer
2010-10-31 11:58:59 I love going here for their lunch specials. However, the waitress with the the blonde streaks wasn't very friendly when I went. The lunch special is not the best since their fried rice is mediocre at best compared to their house special fried rice. Going for dinner or after 3pm is pricey so I don't recommend it. —Kenny0427
2011-01-11 10:04:03 Hands down best General's Chicken in Davis. Did not care at all for their Mongolian Beef though, but the Generals and Fried Rice are always fantastic. Sweet and sour chicken is also fantastic. Highly recommend. Good service, great food, and very fast. Wish they delivered. —angrychair
2011-01-25 21:52:31 Pros: a whole separate vegetarian menu, large portions.
Cons: no brown rice option. Also, the last time I went I ordered General Tso's "chicken" and when they brought the food they said "we made orange 'chicken' by accident" and plunked it down in front of me. No 'sorry,' no 'would you like what you actually ordered,' no discount offered. I still ate it but I thought that was pretty strange. —MeggoWaffle
2011-03-17 23:20:12 Ehhhh those cockroach commets kinda cockblocked me into visiting ding how..I mean meal blocked But food here is legit, I guess I'm gonna only get take-out from here..not dine-in —NikhilDahal
2011-05-15 08:26:15 Today I am sick and have a cold so I'm heading to Ding How for my best kept secret and sure all cure for myself and loved ones. A large bowl of Hot and Sour soup!Pamela —pamelagarrett
2011-05-19 20:24:49 I have been coming to Ding How since about 1998 and never once have I been disappointed in the food. Some of the servers are a little brisk, to the point of almost being rude (though I have no actually complains about the service), but I think the quality of the food makes up for it. Good sized portions for the price. All in all, a great place to visit every now and then. —ThomasGoeson
2011-08-04 19:50:22 Best Chinese food in Davis. —KMassoudi
2011-11-12 20:33:33 My partner found a very sharp bone in his sesame chicken take-out last night. Beware. —MeggoWaffle
2011-12-03 18:30:58 Placed order for pick up. They told me 20 minutes. I arrived 25 minutes later (giving them 5 extra minutes just in case). The food wasn't ready. I went to Savemart and got a couple things. Ten minutes later, I returned and my order still was not ready. I went home, dropped off the groceries, and then went back. After 45 minutes, the order was finally ready. When I got home and opened it, the food was cold. WTF. —UpsetDiner
2011-12-07 01:58:25 The last two chicken dishes I've ordered have been dark meat, which I find unappetizing. The rest of the food was great.
Can anyone recommend a chicken dish that they use white meat in? —OrofinJackson
2011-12-25 16:30:07 We love this restaurant and think the food is great! Especially love the vegetarian hot and sour soup. —davisdebbie
2012-01-10 19:35:55 I live right across the street from this place, and while I must admit, their fried rice leaves much to be desired, this really is a great restaurant! I recommend the potstickers and crab-cheese wontons as appetizers, and the mushu, chin-jiu chicken, and the orange chicken (Be sure to ask for white meat!) —JamesM
2012-02-09 19:54:37 I love their shrimp and mixed veggies! My bf and I get that and the chow mien every time and have NEVER been disappointed (and you know how iffy seafood can be) —DanielleGradisher
2012-03-03 18:26:19 This place ranks amongst the best chinese food I have ever eaten, I have been going here monthly since I was 10, so about 13 years, I love the place the people who own it and esspecially the general chicken, I might be a little biased as it is family tradition to eat here, but I must say if you're down for american style chinese food this is the place in davis to get it, really great for hangovers as well:) —ZackHester
2012-03-08 08:09:16 My husband and I have been loyal customers of Ding How for a long time, until now. Last night we ordered take out. My husband had almost finished his meal when he noticed something that should never be in food. Yes, it was a dead cockroach. I am disgusted and disappointed. I feel like I should post this because they need to take responsibility for the safety of their food. You should not be serving food to the public if you have an ongoing cockroach problem. You can't just ignore it. All I can say is, eat at your own risk. I am saddened by this, because like I said I was a very loyal customer. I enjoyed their vegetarian menu, but cannot bring myself to eat there again. :( —MyBusiness
2012-03-23 18:55:17 im vegan and this is my FAVORITE restaurant of all time! been vegan for over 4 years and this is my favorite place. i love their vegan beef broccoli and general tsuo chicken! my vegan sister visited me here and loved it too .. she even named our pet bird "ding how." THATS how yummy the vegan food at this restaurant is 0 —MarissaMie
2012-03-23 18:57:23 try vegan bird basket for a wide range of fun vegan meats! :) —MarissaMie
2013-01-03 15:51:32 I was just here over the holiday break and tried using the Campus Special coupon they have out. The person at the cash register wouldn't accept it because she didn't know how to use it (??). It was disappointing, as I've used it here before. I get so annoyed at inconsistent service at restaurants. —Nikki12