This week I was sent to check out some local Chinese take-out spots and find out who has the best chicken fried rice. Our locations were Chen's Chinese Cuisine in Tinley Park, #1 Chop Suey in Oak Forest, and Mo's Chinese Kitchen in Orland Park.
I was a little concerned going in that it would be tough to differentiate, so when I dug in to Chen's offering I really tried to focus in. The rice itself was tender and not too greasy, and the egg added some variety. There was a good amount of chicken, which made the dish heartier and more filling, but it wasn't too flavorful. Another thing I always notice with chinese food is how salty it can sometimes be, but in this case it wasn't overwhelming.
Thumbs Up: Great overall flavor, filling
Thumbs Down: Chicken was a little bland
At my second spot I had a better idea of what to look for. The first thing I noticed here was that there was a lot of green onion/scallions and I think maybe even some celery, which normally would be good for texture. When I took a bite the sourness of the onions was very prominent and overwhelmed the dish. There was a lot of tasty chicken but it was lost to the sour flavor. Overall the rice was well-cooked, but it needed soy sauce to help it out.
Thumbs Up: Unique flavor
Thumbs Down: Onions overwhelmed everything
My third and final spot's offering was noticably different just at first glance. It looked closer to white rice than fried rice. The first bite told me the rice was pretty dry and lacking flavor. Also, the chicken was extremely sparse but what little I found actually was delicious. As shown in the picture, there was almost nothing else to the dish so it came off rather plain. No onions, celery, or egg made it seem like too simple of a dish.
Thumbs Up: Simpler, lighter dish
Thumbs Down: Lacking in flavor and the rice was rather dry
And the Golden Chinese Takeout Bag Goes To:
Three restuarants and a lot of leftovers later, I had to dole out the title of Takeout Titan for for the Chowdown Showdown. It came down to the variety of ingredients and the overall tastiness of the dish. This week's winner is Chen's Chinese Cuisine in Tinley Park.
Looking for local eats? Start with your local Patch Places food and dining directory. Please post a review on your favorite restaurant's profile page.