One of the things I miss most about San Francisco is the Chinese food. Every visit home includes a visit to Chinatown and the numerous amount of fantastic Chinese restaurants all around my favorite city by the bay. Since moving to Tampa, I have been searching for a place to satisfy my love of Chinese cuisine without all of the unnecessary artificial flavors and fat. I am excited to share that I have finally found that place………..Wok Chi in Brandon!
Recently opened on May 13th, Wok Chi is a fast-casual concept that features the ancient art of wok searing rather than deep-frying ingredients which keeps their dishes nutritious. I was invited to a media tasting last week and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I began with Edamame Jiaozi which are beautiful bright green soybeans nestled inside a steamed, delicate dumpling with a crispy bottom. They were fantastic! I could really taste the flavor of the edamame. Light and refreshing, they were perfect on this warm Florida night.
All of us in attendance got to choose a stir fry and with so many choices, I decided on Spicy Szechuan with Beef and Brown Steamed Rice. I was craving something spicy and it was just what I wanted. With Szechuan peppercorns, tender onions, carrots, green peppers and snow peas, it was a sensational blend of flavors and my taste buds were practically doing the happy dance. I finally found a healthy version of this classic dish that accentuates flavor and fresh ingredients without any of the guilt.
I can never keep my fork to myself and just had to sample another dish which was Sweet and Sour Chicken. Now, I always avoid ordering any type of sweet and sour dish because they are always so heavily breaded and you can never taste the flavors of the protein. This, on the other hand, is how sweet and sour dishes should be prepared! Tart, tangy and a tad sweet with fresh chunks of golden pineapple, onions, bright red pepper and a dash of rice wine vinegar then tossed with wok-seared chicken, their preparation is like the Elvis Presley of sweet and sour and it really got me all shook up! Wok Chi, “thank ya, thank ya very much.”
With Elvis on the brain it was only fitting that I would move on to something sweet that was meant for a king. Ladies and gentleman, may I present their Crispy PB&J Chi-Bon. With music always on the brain, suddenly the 80’s classic “She Bop” by Cindi Lauper popped into my head and I found myself singing “Chi-Bon, Chi-Bon” to myself, unless of course, anyone heard me. Anyway, getting back to Elvis, he would have loved this heavenly creation of gooey peanut butter-filled inside of a dessert bun and served with strawberry jelly. I shamelessly enjoyed every last morsel and brought two home for my kids, one of which was their Crispy Custard Chi-Bon that my son raved about.
While sitting back and relaxing with my tummy nice and full, I was invited to have a cup of green tea which they offer to their guests as a token of their appreciation. How sweet is that? As part of their Green Tea Initiative and their expression of gratitude, they offer everyone that comes through their door a hot, healthy, organic, cup of freshly brewed green tea. I was delighted by this gesture and enjoyed my cup along with a pink fortune cookie.
As I sipped on my tea, I gazed around the room and felt truly at peace. It was nice to take a break from my hectic schedule and the green tea rejuvenated my mind and soul.
I am sure that when you read this, you were probably wondering the meaning behind the name “Wok Chi.” Here is their story courtesy of their website:
“There is a rich, yet brief, story behind our name. The “Wok” part comes from the fact that our cooking utensil of choice is the wok—a traditional Chinese vessel with a rounded bottom that allows us to prepare food with less oil and more steam. Chi means “energy,” so the steam rising from the wok during the cooking process is essentially the wok’s energy. Thus, Wok ChiSM. No one understands this concept better than our Wok Masters, who put the magic and flair into our dishes. Cooking, for the Wok Masters, is like a dance, and the choreography is thrilling to watch. Marvel at our Wok Masters. Feel the chi.”
I am so glad I got to be a part of this special evening and am ecstatic that I found the perfect place to satisfy my craving for delicious and healthy Chinese cuisine. I urge you to take a visit to Wok Chi and experience this incredible establishment.
**meal was provided courtesy of Wok Chi and because I enjoyed it so much, I decided to write about my experience.Share this Post[?]