100 Favorite Dishes: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden

100 Favorite Dishes: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden
Lori Midson

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. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro No. 93: Posole from The Porker No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One No. 72: New England clam chowder from Bittersweet No. 71: Celery and lime popsicle from Spuntino No. 70: Curried split pea soup from Modmarket No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola No. 67: Frico caldo from Frasca Food & Wine No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones No. 65: Luther Burger from Crave

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

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