Restaurant: The China II
Type: American-style Chinese Food
Location: Chungdae Jung-mun (충대중문)
Price: Appetizers - 2,000 ~ 3,500 won
Entrees - 4,000 ~ 7,500 won
If you ask a typical American what food they think of when they hear "Chinese cuisine," you will probably get answers like General Tso's Chicken, egg rolls, or fortune cookies. I know that is pretty much all I knew about "Chinese food" before coming to Korea, save for maybe some chow mein or egg drop soup. So of course, when I came to find out that your normal "Chinese food" in Korea consists of some Jajang-myeon (짜장면), Jam-bbong, (짬뽕), or sweet-and-sour pork (탕수육), I was more than a little surprised. The sweet-and-sour pork, sure. That is pretty much in line with what I was expecting. But noodles with thick black sauce, a dish reserved for depressed people who are single on Valentine's Day, definitely threw me for a loop. Don't get me wrong, I can down a bowl of Jajang-myeon every once in a while, but sometimes I wish I could open up that white cardboard box full of wontons and get that taste of some good ol' Chinese food that Mama Drendall used to order from Hi-Ho Chinese Restaurant.
Well, if you are like me and crave that familiar taste of what we have come to know as Chinese food, then fear no more, people of Cheongju! Cheongju-ites? Cheongjunians? Now, you can get a whole bunch of great American-style Chinese food from "The China II" near Chungbuk University.
The China II gives you pretty much everything that you could ask for to satisfy that American-Chinese food craving you have been having. The chef owned a number of Chinese restaurants in Ohio, meaning that he knows what he is doing when it comes to cooking up some of your favorites. As an appetizer, I would recommend the cheese wontons. They are nicely fried but not too bready, so you get a good amount of the cream cheese inside.
When it comes time to choose an entree, I would recommend getting a few dishes and sharing them. They aren't super big, but they are cheap, and you can choose which meat you want in it. If you are looking for a good variety of flavors, try getting the Hunan noodles and the Gan Peng chicken. The noodles are a little on the spicy side, but it's not overpowering at all. The Gan Peng, in my opinion, is closer to the traditional General Tso's chicken you would get back home. I know, they have General Tso's on the menu. Trust me. That is more like the sweet-and-sour pork that you get from any Chinese restaurant. The Gan Peng tastes a little closer to what I am used to. Or don't trust me and just get the General Tso's on the menu. Both are good. But you DO trust me! That is why you are reading my blog! Ahahahahaha!
I got the Mongolian beef, and while it looks like almost exactly like something you would order back home, it was quite sweet. Not exactly up my alley, but go for it if you are okay with a sweeter version than you are used to.
Unfortunately, there is no fortune cookie at the end of the meal, but everything else is up to snuff. Anyways, I can already predict your fortune: "Your belly is full but your wallet is not light thanks to a handsome blog writer." You're welcome.
The China II also does take-out, so if you really want to get that back-home nostalgic feeling, bring the food home and share it with your friends. The place is pretty easy to find if you know your way around Chungdae Jung-mun. It is on the street with Buzz and Road King all the way down almost to the entrance of the university. It will be on your left with a placard out front. If you are not familiar, go across the street from Starbucks, past Dunkin Donuts and take a right at the next street. Stay on that street until the heavens open and you see "The China II" on the left side of the street.
Donald Trump may have said it best when he said, "China is the new China, by the way." (I actually don't know what Donald Trump says, most of the quote I get from him are from YouTube videos that are sent to me. Kanye West 2020!) Do yourself a favor and check this place out soon. Feel free to hit me up with comments or questions by leaving a comment on the blog. Much love for everyone reading this blog, and check back soon for another great Tasty Tuesday. And, as always, get your eat on.
P.S. If you are a Nic Cage/Con-Air fan and got the quote from the headline, then "oh yeah. Yee-haw."