Confucius says ‘eggroll is king’


Jennifer Byrd

Editor-in-Chief

 

If you were to judge a restaurant by its peeling green and yellow cover, you might pass over the Mandarin, tossing it alongside the other bland Asian diners that dot the city. But that would be a culinary tragedy.

Urbanspoon.com has 350+ reviews for the restaurant and gives the Mandarin an 89 percent approval rating. This hidden Del City gem, located less than five minutes from campus at SE 29th and Sunnylane Rd., is a breath of fresh, non-buffet air.

Sweet, sour, and spicy flavors await the palate at the Mandarin in Del City, Okla. Photo by Jennifer Byrd

Sweet, sour, and spicy flavors await the palate at the Mandarin in Del City, Okla. Photo by Jennifer Byrd

 

The locally famous eggrolls are handmade and fresh, crispy but nowhere near greasy. People online rave about these fried rolls of heaven. Their homemade plum sauce compliments the flavor well, and even though there is plenty of ginger flavor swimming around in the sugary goodness, it doesn’t overpower the taste of the roll itself.

One of the most popular entrees is Hawaiian Chicken (aka sweet and sour chicken with pineapples). Unlike other places, Mandarin batters and fries a whole chicken breast, then cuts it up, and serves it with a mound of pork fried rice and yet another homemade sauce. Their version of sweet and sour is tangy and not overly sweet. It’s my favorite item on the menu and sure to please even the most refined of Hawaiian Chicken connoisseurs.

Other recommended dishes include a tender General Tao’s chicken, which is labeled spicy but has more of a sweet flavor, and garlic frittered chicken (aka fried garlic chicken). The Chow Mein is also top quality with fresh, crisp bean sprouts tossed with chicken, celery, and cabbage. The cabbage was not the main ingredient, as it is with many Chow Mein dishes, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

Premade fortune cookies were customarily served with the check and even they were tastier than most. Plus, it’s hard to argue with a dessert that tells you to “take a vacation soon.”

The Mandarin Restaurant is located at 4401 SE 29th St. and is open 11 a.m.  – 9:30 p.m., seven days a week. Lunch menu is served Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and prices range from $3.90 – $5.70, including soup and eggroll.

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