Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our top pics for Asian cuisine in Little Rock

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Pu Pu Platter from Fu Lin - JESS MILLER-ROBERTS
  • Jess Miller-Roberts
  • Pu Pu Platter from Fu Lin

To quote Monty Python's Eric Idle: I like Chinese. To expand on that, I like sushi, Korean Barbecue, Vietnamese pho, Thai curry and a lot more. When it comes to the foods of what we still refer to as "The East," my taste buds are always happy and ready to go—that is unless they've been numbed up good and proper by some Sicuan pepper. And while Little Rock might be known for things other than Chinese and other Asian food, we have some pretty tasty places in our fair city that are well worth a visit. Or several. 

Here are our Eat Arkansas picks for best Asian dishes from around the city, in no particular order.

*Sesame Chicken, Chi's Asian Cafe Riverdale: I love sesame chicken, but boy do a lot of places screw it up. The most common sin with this dish is that the breading can't stand up to the sauce—or isn't fried worth squat in the first place. Not so at Chi's in Riverdale. Tender, moist chicken with a thin, crispy breading make for bite after delightful bite, and since it's prepared fresh-to-order, it's sauced close enough to the time when it hits the table that nothing has time to get soggy. 

click to enlarge Sesame Chicken from Chi's Asian Cafe in Riverdale - JESS MILLER-ROBERTS
  • Jess Miller-Roberts
  • Sesame Chicken from Chi's Asian Cafe in Riverdale

*Nigiri Sushi, Wasabi Sushi Bar & Grill: Recently re-opened with new management and a new attitude, Wasabi downtown has quickly become one of my favorite spots for sushi. The fish is fresh, the rice is well-prepared, and the service is very friendly. Not a fan of fish? Go for the yakisoba and let your mouth have a tasty noodle party.

*Pu Pu Tray, Fu Lin: Fu Lin's Pu Pu Tray comes with something very few dishes in town offer: Real live fire. And a lot of it. As a matter of fact, the last time I ate this collection of appetizers that includes a selection of egg rolls, crab rangoon, sweet-and-sour chicken and stickmeat, the flames coming from the brazier on the tray were actually higher when I was finished than they were when the tray was first placed in front of me. And it isn't friendly, Christmas Morning, Franklin Roosevelt-speech type fire either. It's angry, sputtery fire. Still, the food is divine. As for the flames...YMMV.

Sushi Plate from Wasabi - BROOKE WALLACE
  • Brooke Wallace
  • Sushi Plate from Wasabi

*Noodle Bowl, Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.: No matter what you put on top of them—chicken, pork or tofu—these bowls from Three Fold are the Little Rock gold standard when it comes to noodles. Chewy without being too dense, delightfully tender and never soggy, the addition of fresh cilantro and other toppings to these noodles makes for a filling lunch or dinner for not a lot of money. Go ahead and buy two—it makes for a good next-day lunch, too.

Noodles from Three Fold Noodles & Dumpling Co. - DANA VICKERSON
  • Dana Vickerson
  • Noodles from Three Fold Noodles & Dumpling Co.

*Beef Lo Mein, Fantastic China: Another great spot for noodles, Fantastic China has been a staple of the Heights dining scene for years. The various homemade dumplings are stellar, and I've always enjoyed their basic, simple lo mein with beef. It isn't fancy or ground-breaking, but it's perfect comfort food that's well-prepared.

Beef Lo Mein from Fantastic China - JESS MILLER-ROBERTS
  • Jess Miller-Roberts
  • Beef Lo Mein from Fantastic China

*The Buffet, Tokyo House: Is this one cheating? I feel like it may be cheating, because this is a buffet we're talking about. I like the sushi at Tokyo House, and even though I don't think the place's high dollar Friday Night Buffet With Crab Legs is worth the significant percentage of my light bill it costs, Tokyo House is a good option for Monday-Thursday dinner or a quick lunch. It's fresh...enough. Most of the time. If you are vigilant, you won't go wrong here, and when the chefs are working it, they turn out rolls as good as any in town.

click to enlarge Sushi from Tokyo House - MICHAEL ROBERTS
  • Michael Roberts
  • Sushi from Tokyo House

*Steamed Gyoza, General Tso's Chicken, Mr. Chen's: Ah, Mr. Chen's. I could probably have just written this post about the best things from this cafe located inside one of central Arkansas' best Asian supermarkets. I love their steamed gyoza, although I admit they really aren't much different than you find anywhere else. The General Tso's chicken, on the other hand, is head and shoulders over anybody else's version around—and together, the two dishes make for a nice one-two punch. And if you're in the mood for something different, get the Roast Duck on Rice—it's a fantastic duck dish.

click to enlarge Steamed Dumplings from Mr. Chen's - MICHAEL ROBERTS
  • Michael Roberts
  • Steamed Dumplings from Mr. Chen's

Doing a list like this means exactly one thing: I probably missed your favorite, most likely so egregiously that some of you will wonder how I even dared to post this list in the first place. I feel you. So if you have a dish you think I missed, head down there to the comments section and tell everybody about it. Also head to the comments to give me grief for including Tokyo House. I did admit it was cheating. 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Michael Roberts

Readers also liked…

  • Mama's Gyros is a pleasant surprise in Sherwood

    It's always a pleasure when a restaurant exceeds expectations, and despite the plastic plates Mama's Gyros in Sherwood was a tasty bit of serendipity.
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • Not sure about @thecorner

    New downtown eatery opens with limited menu and can't live up to attractive space.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • Justin Harris used foster daughter in campaign materials, against DHS rules

    State Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork) used photos of a foster child his family was planning to adopt during his 2012 re-election campaign. The state Department of Human Services expressly prohibits the public use of photos or any other media that would compromise a foster child's anonymity.
    • Mar 13, 2015

Most Shared

  • Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3

    Voices on the left and right are lifted against Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment to send tax money to private business and corporate lobbyists.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said

Visit Arkansas

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation