100 Favorite Dishes: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden
No. 64: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden
Some of the best cooking in Denver comes from restaurants that are completely off the grid -- those with generic names, facades as forgettable as last night's one-night stand and featureless dining rooms where the color scheme clashes. East Asia Garden, which takes up real estate on a stretch of shrug-ish asphalt along South Broadway, is exactly that kind of restaurant. You've whizzed by it a dozen times, never even giving it a cursory glance. And that's a mistake, because it easily turns out some of the most amazing Chinese food -- specifically Northern Chinese style -- in the city.
There are two menus, one written in English, and one written in Chinese, and both are full of dishes that deserve attention, including the chongqing chicken, which is very much the food equivalent of a firecracker. A shovel of blistered, fearsome, fried chiles with the volatility of Chris Brown -- he who throws chairs at windows among other menaces -- tangle with equal amounts of Sichuan peppercorns, hot enough to make your mouth numb for days, and cubes of fried chicken that give way to a slight crunch. It's on the Chinese menu, among a dozen other dishes, that, if you don't read Chinese, the endlessly patient server will happily translate.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:
No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro
No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One
No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale
No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones
In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up...sometime this year. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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