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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 lori.midson@westword.com.

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East Asia Garden - Closed

1156 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80210

720-259-7141

www.eastasiagarden.com


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