Most Americans are used to one, maybe two types of Chinese food - Americanized Chinese food like General Tso's (which I'll admit has its importance) and Cantonese. Especially in Athens, its rare to find anyone that's tried mapo tofu or any Szechuan cuisine for that matter.
Enter, Tasty China. This Chinese restaurant in Marietta, Georgia offers a wide variety of Szechuan's hot, fiery dishes for its daring diners.
We started out with this Minced Beef with Cilantro Soup. The beef along with the mushrooms gave the soup a great umami flavor and the saltiness along with the freshness of the cilantro woke up our palates. A good start to our meal. However, the presence of cilantro was quite strong so if you're not a fan of this herb, you may want to opt out for something else.
The Dry Fried Eggplant which has been raved throughout town was somewhat disappointing as it was inconsistent. About half of the dish was perfectly seasoned and spicy while the other lacked the heat and seasoning its better half had. I enjoyed the crispy texture and the eggplants weren't bitter at all. Even my little brother liked it and described it as "spicy french fries". Oh aren't they so cute when they're little?
Pictured above is the Braised Sliced Beef with Vegetables in Hot Chili Oil. The beef was tender and the vegetables were a joy to eat in the spicy sauce. Combined with the rice, it was a delicious dish. Of course, I might be a little biased here being Korean and liking pretty much anything spicy.
The Braised Fish with Soft Tofu in Hot Chili Oil is similar to the braised beef but you have fish and tofu instead of beef and vegetables... jokes guys. Hold onto those hate mails! Aside from the differences mentioned, both the braised fish and beef have similar flavor profiles.
Sorry about the poor shot but this is supposed to be the Spicy Crispy Pork Belly. True to its name, the pork belly was both spicy and crispy. It was kind of like spicy, pork chips and just really delicious overall. I recommend getting an order. Thanks Jimmy (Eat It Atlanta) for recommending this dish!
And finally...this was the surprisingly delicious dish of the night. One that had me craving it the day after and now as I write this post. Pictured above is Tasty China's Stir-Fried House Special Chao Fen. I originally tried to order something else but my mother loves her rice noodles. To have a Chinese meal without one would result in an unpleasant ride back home. The slightly sweet sauce combined with all of the savory meats made for a delicious dish. A hidden treasure within Tasty China's fiery menu.
The only con you may experience is the service - even if this is an Asian restaurant. I loved when our soup came out without anything to eat them with and the waitress just left. After I got her attention and she finally brought us some bowls, she had the most pissed off look on her face. It was awesome. I'm used to this kind of service at Asian places so I didn't really mind but I'm giving the rest of you guys a heads up.
Cheap, filling, and tasty Chinese food indeed.