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 Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you?

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Posts : 1108
Join date : 2011-02-20
Location : Morelia
Humor : Ironic

Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? Empty
PostGood Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you?

Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? SAM_0202

Two words: Wang Jiao. Not sure what it means but it translates into great Chinese food here in Morelia. What I was always told is that there is no decent Chinese food in Mexico. "None worthwhile around here. If you find a good Chinese restaurant then let me know" would be the most diplomatic response. I have tried several places over time and none were worth getting excited about. True, I found some passable agridulce, sweet and sour, and that is pleasing to me. I would even get urges for some of the breaded deep-fried chicken popcorn nuggets with agridulce poured over it and stroll a few blocks over for it, but that in and of itself is not Chinese food per se.

The other dishes were always mushily cooked vegetable salads with a predominance of some color, blend, or meat thrown in but they all tasted nearly the same. The fried rice was... no comment. The best I could do was at home with my own minimal Cantonese culinary skills, but with my pasta maker I can whip out some great eggroll wrappers and won tons. Plus I can do a pretty good sweet and sour also.

Welcom to the Year of the Rabbit. Everything hs taken off like a shot this year. So much has already happened and February still has another week left of it. The year has been living up to its animal's character. La comida China would likewise have the rabbit character as well with its lush garden of vegetable preparations. That would seem a good omen and a promise to fulfill.

After a month-long winter break hiatus our Morelia Amigos, our ex-pat club Friendships Without Borders was meeting at its usual Club Campestre home turf but now meeting there monthly instead of weekly, and having informal get-togethers during the off-weeks, though still on hiatus until that 12 January meeting. Other ex-pats in town had already written us off and were starting other meeting groups to take up the slack - which is all good, the more amigos getting together to bend elbows and chatter gums the better. That January meeting itself was pleasant but uneventful, though by the 13th we opened the doors on our new virtual clubhouse at Morelia_Amigos yahoogroups. That itself gave a little burst of excitement, a new calendar, and an invitation to be creative and get the Club members together for fun gathering. And so we were off and gone with the new format.

For the first week of February our Sri Lanka-born member Michael suggested we get together for Chinese New Year on the 3rd at his favorite Chinese restaurant to welcome in the Year of the Rabbit. He promised us this was much better than the run-of-the-mill restaurants, and he was right. Wang Jiao on Av Universidad a few blocks up from the zoo is most excellent. It's not that there is no good Chinese food, it is a matter of finding it. And Michael showed us where it's at.

Isn't it about the same elsewhere? In a good-sized city anywhere there may one hundred Chinese restaurants daring to call themselves that, but we all know there is only one that deserves the title. I am not going to describe the food and Wang Jiao except to tell you, This is it! You will have to try it for yourself, and then you will thank me for telling you to do so. Tere and I have already been back there again - and it's not yet three weeks past the first time we ate there. When she found out I was writing this post she suggested we go again soon. As with any good Chinese food you can eat until you think you are full but then almost immediately afterwards you want to go back for more. I'm ready again, perhaps tomorrow.

Last edited by Peter on Mon 27 Jun 2011, 11:37; edited 2 times in total
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Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? :: Comments

Don Cuevas
Good Comida China in Mexico??
Post Wed 23 Feb 2011, 16:07 by Don Cuevas
Mmmm... I'm a bit put out that I didn't hear about the Chinese New Dinner until it was over. (Time for a rarely used emoticon) Smile No, maybe this Twisted Evil Evil or Very Mad
(Emoticons not visible here. Maybe I have to turn them back on in Profile: Preferences.)
About three weeks ago, my wife and I, accompanied by Ron, a fanatic foodie friend, were in Mexico City. Our last full day there we had comida at Mojing Comida China, on Calle Humboldt near the corner of Calle Artículo 123. I'd read of it in a review by Nicolas Gilman, author of the blog and book, "Good Food in Mexico City".

Mojing is The Real Thing, so much so, it would be very beneficial to bring a friend who speaks or can read Chinese. Our friend Ron is a Japanese translator by profession, and he was able to decipher some of the menu, as the characters often mean the same in both Chinese and Japanese. As you may read in my blog review of that meal, it could have beem more satisfactory, but there was little doubt that is was close to authentic.
Detailed description and critique are on the blog.

Don Cuevas

PS: How about a more exact location? Thanks.

Last edited by Don Cuevas on Thu 24 Feb 2011, 05:31; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : PS: Location?)
Peter wrote:
What I was always told is that there is no decent Chinese food in Mexico. "None worthwhile around here. If you find a good Chinese restaurant then let me know" would be the most diplomatic response. .

Good Chinese food in Mexico. An interesting if unlikely proposition outside of Mexico City or, perhaps, the unusual find in Morelia reported here. We live in two disparate parts of this country and I will start off by flatly stating that one cannot find good Chinese food around Lake Chapala including the so-called Chinese food touted by some in the Chapala-Ajijic area. I would also be amazed to find good Chinese food in Guadalajara.

What I do find intriguing is the possibility that some "decent" or, perhaps, even good, Chinese restaurant food might be found in some parts of Chiapas state where we also live. Perhaps not in San Cristóbal de Las Casas where we maintain a home and there are three old-line Chinese restaurants but on the Pacific Coast in a region known as the Soconusco where there is a fairly substantial Chinese colony dating from the days when the railroads were built from near the border with Guatemala at Tapachula north to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and beyond when, before the construction of the Panama Canal, it was fancied that ocean going freight would be moved overland from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific via rail at that narrow land zone between the Atlantic and Pacific. I guess the construction of the Panama Canal killed that dream but, before that pipe dream died, lots of Chinese immigrants were employed in the ambitious project to build railroads to accomplish that overland freight route.

Today, many years later, there is still a fairly large Chinese colony in Tapachula and in nearby Huixtla; especially in Huixtla where, at one time, a large Chinese community settled and whose progeny still form a not-insubstantial part of the population of that town today. In my one and only visit to Huixtla, I noted that there were a number of Chinese restaurants, unfortunately, mostly the dreaded buffet-stye slop joints but, perhaps when I revisit, I´ll have to see if any of the large number of Chinese restaurants to be found there are worth reviewing. Judging from my experience over the years in San Francisco, the traditional Cantonese style road food favored originally by the immigrants attracted for infrastructure work, is not promising but when next in the Soconusco, I´ll check it out and report back to the forum one way or the other. No (shudder) buffet crap, however - life is too short to be spent at a steam table filled with stale, greasy, tasteless leftovers.

Last edited by Hound Dog on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 08:08; edited 1 time in total
Merci, Dawg. My knowledge of good Chinese food comes from my experiences in Oxnard, CA - You recall I am "Nardcore" right? The only place in Ventira County to have a long-time Chinese population and a restaurant downtown opened in 1926 called The Golden Chicken Inn. People came from all over to visit that restaurant in Oxnard until the chef opened his own restaurant in Santa Paula, so during the 60's us Oxnarders were driving to Santa Paula to eat at Lin's.

I may not have the most refined tastes but generally if I give an OK to something it is better than the usual stuff, not knowing haughty cuisine if it bit me in the cristinas.

I could critique Wang Jiao and tell you some of it is a bit greasy but that would not really put it out of the running, rather just confirm it is what it is. And their piece of BBQ sparerib that comes with Number Three for 4 people is like pork jerky, but this is Mexico. Those are the only two issues I had with it but with the flavors I experienced there, and the best Chinese I have seen in years, to dwell on those two shortcomings would be nit-picky. This is as good as it gets anywhere for hours of here.

This Thursday Morelia Amigos are having an informal lunch there again at 2pm. I expect an unusually good-size turnout for an informal lunch outing.

Last edited by Peter on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 16:23; edited 1 time in total
Don Cuevas
Wang Jiao is where?
Post Tue 01 Mar 2011, 04:29 by Don Cuevas
If we knew the address for Wang Jiao, there's an outside chance we might join you for lunch on Thursday.

Atlacomulco, EdoMex, seems to have several prominent Chinese buffet restarants, but as we are always on a bus passing through, we've been spared the experience of eating at any. However, in Mexico City Centro, several Chinese buffet restaurants had what seemed to be appealing food. We haven't eaten at any. Generally, I try to avoid buffets of any ethnicity. There's a hygiene as well as quality factor at play, also.

"I may not have the most refined tastes but generally if I give an OK to something it is better than the usual stuff, not knowing haughty cuisine if it bit me in the cristinas."

Try to be nice. Laughing

Last edited by Don Cuevas on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 04:36; edited 1 time in total
Don Cuevas
Hound Dawg
Post Tue 01 Mar 2011, 04:31 by Don Cuevas
Good to see the memorable and colorful Hound Dawg has joined us. His participation should spice things up.

Welcome, Dawg!
Don Cuevas wrote:
If we knew the address for Wang Jiao, there's an outside chance we might join you for lunch on Thursday.

Wang Jiao is on Av Universidad #695 at the corner of Jesus Romero Flores, a few blocks up from the zoo. When we meet at 2pm there is often parking available on the street in front at that hour but the restaurant starts getting busy by 3.
Don Cuevas
a few blocks up from the Zoo?
Post Tue 01 Mar 2011, 07:25 by Don Cuevas
Peter wrote: "a few blocks up from the zoo. "

Does Wang Jiao serve Lion's Heads? Razz

Seriously, thank you. I did locate it on the Google Map at

We could, conceivably park at Wal-Mart and get a cab for the short distance.

Really, Lion's Head is a true Chinese dish, but has little to do with the feline species. They are large pork meatballs and bok choy or Napa Cabbage braised in a savory brown sauce. It can be very rich, but it's worth it every few years. I'd consider it more a winter dish, as it's pretty heavy.

Quote :
Traditionally this Shanghai casserole dish featuring oversized pork meatballs and greens is made with pork fat and cooked in a sand clay pot. The large meatballs are meant to represent a lion, and the shredded greens its mane.

If you like, instead of 4 large meatballs you can form the pork into 6 - 8 smaller meatballs.

Yeah: fat. THat's what makes it so good, plus the brown sauce. I have used more sherry in it than the recipe says.
I suggest looking up other recipes for it, if any of you are interested.
In fact, I just located this one, and at a glance looks superior.

Last edited by Don Cuevas on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 16:18; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : About Lion's Head)
We will take a taxi ourselves but there are parking spots nearby the restaurant without having to look far and wide. My experience arriving at 2pm is that there were spots available directly in front.

I put gas in my car early in December. Now that it is March it is getting time to buy more soon. Returning to Morelia from Zinepecuaro last Saturday I notice I am somewhere between half and quarter tank now. My '07 Sportage still has under 14K miles on it. We'll probably get more gas before April, to be on the safe side.
RE: The Dawg's comment about people not knowing good Chinese food

Most people that have eaten Chinese food have no idea that there are distinct regional styles much the same as the regional cooking of Mexican food. China has five major regional styles - Peking/Shantung, Szechwan, Honan, Fuckien and probably the best known of all to Westerners, Cantonese. This is only natural since the Cantonese comprised the largest number of emigrants to North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

While Cantonese has the widest acceptance, I personally feel that it is the least imaginative of all the Chinese styles. It also seems that this style is the most conducive to those horrid "Chinese buffets". I would agree with Don Cuevas regarding buffets! They should be against the law!

If you should ever have the opportunity to obtain, THE COMPLETE ASIAN COOKBOOK written by Charmaine Solomon, do yourself a favor and purchase a copy. For anyone who enjoys a variety of cooking styles and the challenges of trying new recipes, it is an absolute adventure.

Personally, while I do enjoy good Chinese food, my real preference is to Japanese (real soul food).
Wang Jiao Buffet?
Post Fri 04 Mar 2011, 10:23 by Guest
Peter wrote:
Don Cuevas wrote:
If we knew the address for Wang Jiao, there's an outside chance we might join you for lunch on Thursday.

Wang Jiao is on Av Universidad #695 at the corner of Jesus Romero Flores, a few blocks up from the zoo. When we meet at 2pm there is often parking available on the street in front at that hour but the restaurant starts getting busy by 3.

If I'm not mistaken, Wang Jiao has a buffet (pay and pig) location on Camelinas? Does anyone know if the 2 are related?

It seems not uncommon for another business to open and cash-in on the name of another place with a good reputation. Not sure if or not they are related, never heard of the one on Camelinas. I know there is another Fonda Marceva that is nowhere as good as the original on Abasolo.

Start a new thread(topic) and tell us about your friend's pollo restaurants. Please.
Come down and see us at Chino Lee's!!
Post Wed 30 Mar 2011, 21:03 by chino1217
Hello everyone,

If I only knew there were other Americans that actually connected the last few years I have been living here! My name is Andy Moreno, and I am new to the group. I have been here for almost three years and own Chino Lee's on AVE. Torreon Nuevo #1291 in front of Bodega Aurrera in the colonia Villas Del Real. I have met a few of you over the last few days, and have really enjoyed our conversations. Come on by, and I'll hook you up with the cleanest, quality (no dog meat), Chinese and Thai in Morelia for 40 pesos a plate. That's a discount for all my peeps. We are open from 2-8 Tuesday-Sunday. If you're not hungry, simply come by and rap with me and my wife. I have a lot of knowledge of the people, and culture here in Michoacan. See you all soon, and I look forward to meeting you all!

Semper fi- Andy
Hi Andy. It has been almost a week since we dropped in on your restaurant and had a really fine meal. You can expect to see us again very soon. I promise, I will bring the camera and give you the same sort of treatment I am about to do in the following post for Wang Jiao that we visited today with Don y Doña Cuevas just around the corner from another event we were all attending.

Very glad to have met you, Andy, you've helped prove we ARE serious when we talk about good Chinese food in Morelia. Your restaurant offers Pad Thai, Mongolian Beef, and many other delectable treats. I invite you to post more and tell us about your menu and perhaps tell us where you learned to put together such delicious meals.

Sorry I didn't spot your post earlier, I guess we built this site a little too big. I admit now, I get lost online here myself at times. Our expat community is growing, but more than that we are all becoming more connected these days. I believe that is a very good thing we have happening now. You may have trouble visiting us at our 2nd Wednesday get-togethers at Club Campestre as your restaurants hours are operating during our 3pm gathering. We do meet informally on our off-weeks for lunch at various restaurants around Morelia and would like it if we can make Chino Lee's one of our places. I have heard others of our Amigos say they have heard of your place and would like to dine there soon. That way we can help you get connected with more of us in our growing expat community. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon, tomorrow perhaps?

Nos vemos, Andy. Hasta luego.
Wang Jiao for Comida China - Av Universidad #695
Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? SAM_0207

One of our guest Amigos asks if this restaurant is related to another with the same or similar name here in Morelia. I don't believe so. This is no steam table buffet here, everything was prepared for our order. We started out with a bowl of Sopa de Tallarín.
Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? SAM_0205

Next came the appetizers like Eggroll, BBQ Spareribs, and Butterflied Shrimps. Before we got very far with those then came the Chop Suey with camarones and chicken, some Pork Fried Rice, and Almond Chicken. Don Cuevas and myself drank hot Oolong Tea while the ladies had a cold pitcher of fresh Agua Naranjada.
Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? SAM_0202

We thought we had been served everything but the fine folks there kept coming with more for us. They brought us Sweet and Sour Chicken that began disappearing before I could get to my camera. Some of the spelling of these Chinese delicacies are a little different for Spanish rules of pronunciation but they are generally recognizable. The Kung Pao Chicken was already starting to leave the serving dish but I managed to get a photo while enough of it was left to show you how it looked. How it all tasted was heavenly.
Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you? SAM_0206

No, the Wang Jiao we all know is no pay and pig palace. This is the most excellent and complete Chinese menu I have found to date in this part of Michoacán. But what do I know? Everyone followed my suggestion and we ordered the Number 2 for four, and now you can see what most of that consists of. Most of it, the agridulce Sweet and Sour Chicken disappeared too quick for my camera finger.
We were very happy with our meal at Wang Jiao, keeping in mind that we had no illusions that we were in San Francisco or New York's Chinatown.

The Arroz Frito was among the best we've ever had. It had a slight smokey taste, as if whomever was wokking in the kitchen new what they were doing. And I'm not a big fried rice fan. It had bits of fried pork in it. I actually helped myself to seconds or thirds of the rice.

Of all the other dishes, the Chop Suey Mixto was our favorite, as the bean sprouts were very fresh and crisp even after being stir fried. The vegetables in the Kung Pao Chicken were very attractive, but I found the taste of the chicken legs very strong.

The Pollo Almendrado was good, with surprisingly generous pile of whole, toasted blanced almonds on top. There were even bits of mu erh or cloud ears fungus in the dish.

The Spring/Egg Rolls were pretty good, and had the recognizable scent of 5-Spice Powder in the filling. Not bad, but not exactly appropriate for Spring Rolls. Hot mustard (Mostaza fuerte) was served on request, in very small quantity. It was thin, and not all that hot, but by golly, it was hot mustard. For more punch to the palate, there was a small sauce dish of a variety of the dark, oily Salsa Macha popular in Michoacán.

We ordered extra camarones rebozados on the basis of their appearance at a neighboring table, and while they were attractively fried in bow-legged hoops, the shrimp themselves weren't too flavorsome. But we managed to eat them anyway. Smile

We would eat there again if we were in the neighborhood.

Peter had mentioned that the ribs tend to be more like jerky in texture, but we lucked out this time, and the meaty rib chunks were juicy enough and simply seasoned with salt and maybe pepper.
The table dish of Salsa Agridulce was very standard stuff, but was more or less an innocuous condiment for the fried items (of which there were many), but combined with the hot mustard or salsa macha, it was fine.

It was an incredible amount of good food for the 4 of us, just under $500 MN, but there was plenty of leftovers to carry home.
Don Cuevas writes:
"The Spring/Egg Rolls were pretty good, and had the recognizable scent of 5-Spice Powder in the filling. Not bad, but not exactly appropriate for Spring Rolls."

There are very few places where I have seen the 5-Spice used in eggrolls but they are not alone in doing that. Lin's in Santa Paula, California is another such place that prepares their eggrolls in that manner, almost like a signature. I was very surprised when I first visited Wang Jiao and tasted that. I have not yet spoken to the owner about this but by now I suspicion there may be familial connections to that California restaurant.

The owner of Lin's was the longtime chef at The Golden Chicken Inn in Oxnard, California which was established there in 1926. It had long been the most recommended Chinese restaurant in all of Ventura County until he left to establish his own restaurant in Santa Paula in the 1960's. Before the freeways made the trip relatively rapid that was something equivalent to the drive from Pátzcuaro to Morelia for us "wharfrats" that lived in Port Hueneme, but for his excellent food then drive it we did.

Normally I will use star anise and canela in preparing eggrolls in my own kitchen. Those that I made for your Chinese/Mexican Fusion Food Fest I did not as I was featuring the use of chicharrón as the meat flavor with the vegetables in those rollitos we prepard for that event. I used the same mixture of vegetables and egg with chicharrón plus the addition of the familiar queso as the stuffing for our sweet and sour chiles rellenos for that affair. I don't recall any of the guests there expressing any hesitation about enjoying those offerings - that only came later when word got around to local critics about that concoction and couldn't wait to express their dissatisfaction that such a culinary feat was presented. You just had to be there.
Just had to bump this thread back up the list a bit, the food is so good here at Wang Jiao. Tere and I have made seven trips here for comida since being introduced to this restaurant in February for Chinese New Year this year.

Our last trip was over two weeks ago and we are ready to go again soon. Our recommendation: get the combinations so you can have it all. We like the Number #2 and that is what is pictured above, some of it, there just was not the room to get everything into the picture. It helps to have extra people as they add extra dishes to the order. Don y doña Cuevas were joining Tere and I the day of these photos so we pretty much had the works though I'm not sure where the cut-off is with the number of diners and the number of dishes added. Their menu is huge so I'm not sure I want to test the limits. We've certainly never left there hungry.
We were walking in the vicinity of Plaza San Francisco in Morelia yesterday afternoon. It appears to be the gravitational center for comida China restaurants in Morelia. One we glanced into, actually on Av. Don Vasco, served up its slop gooey on little foam trays. To me, it was very unappealing.

Out on the perimeter of the Plaza, I casually spotted two or three more comida China restaurants. At least there's on Italian place, Piccolá Italia, to give some balance.

Somewhat off topic, but we recently had a great dim sum brunch experience at Sunny Shanghai, in San Bruno, CA.

The very next day, we ate lunch at Vung Tau, a first rate Vietnamese restaurant in San Jose.

It will be a long time, I think, before I can bring myself to eat again at Comida China places in either Morelia or Pátzcuaro.
That is a sentiment I share about most comida China in Mexico in general. I thought Wang Jiao was the exception, perhaps not the best Chinese anywhere on the planet but by far better than anything else I've encountered here. Is that a thumbs down from you for WJ?

Those Chinese steam tables around Plaza San Francisco are nothing like their San Francisco, USA counterparts. Not bad if I just wanted some pollo agridulce (sweet and sour chicken) and rice - Chinese fast food. Sometimes you're not always looking for the very best but something quick and satisfying. Mexico does OK with agridulce.
On our way to the Albuquerque Airport last Monday, we saw a new sign on a restaurant that had formerly been a Vietnamese restaurant: AZTECA CHINESE FAST FOOD
I recall a trip I made to Tijuana in the 70's and remember the whole downtown being full of Chinese restaurants almost to the exlusion of any other kind. That would be the last trip I had made to Mexico at all for 30 years and until I came to Morelia for the first time.

I don't recall that I had eaten at any of those restaurants in TJ then so couldn't say how the quality was but at that time there had been a burst of Chinese places in California of varying quality and none of the newcomers was as good as the two old restaurants that had become established in my town.

Chinese food is not uncommon in Mexico but it took a number of years living here until I found a good place. I still cannot comment on what style of Chinese and am sure it holds little bearing to the authentic places but I might say it is predominately Cantonese which was at least how those restaurants I knew from the 50's and 60's had billed themselves. I still know little about it all, I just know what I like. Regardless of style or authenticity quality is quality.
I am sure that you realize that many of the "typical" Chinese food offerings found NOB were invented this side of the Pacific Pond and have little or no connection with the various regional food styles in China! One oddity found in the regional cooking styles of China is that as a general rule, the food gets hotter as you head north in China. This is somewhat of a contradiction since in general food tends to get hotter the closer to the equator that one gets since hot spices can often inhibit spoilage.
I guess the rule-of-thumb as far as American Chinese food goes is that it does not get more authentic than that served in San Francisco's China Town.

Never having been to China so not knowing for sure I would think that although the vegetable, spice, and meat selections would be different in the Americas, the Chinese immigrants that originally prepared these foods here likely based them on Chinese-inspired ideas for the popular foods.

The Chinese restaurant menu has evolved over the decades but I have no idea if these newer additions reach from a more authentically Chinese grab-bag as some of the cooking-style labels may suggest, or if they are solely American innovations. I do know a couple of Mexican-Chinese fusion ideas were inpirations of this gringo author. I do believe those dishes offer some real mainsteam promise with a little of the best of both worlds. No one in attendance at that fusion-fest in Tzintzuntzan were put-off by them and were rather well-accepted.

You just haven't lived without trying sweet and sour chiles rellenos stuffed with a blend of cheese, egg, vegetables, and chicharrón. Phoney, stuck-up critics be damned. They weren't there at the festival. Chicharrón egg rolls with a chile sweet-and-sour dipping sauce were also popular.

Good Comida China in Mexico?? You can't be serious, are you?

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