"The food court at China Town is one of those places where food is king. A place where the people who make the food are the people who serve it up to you and the same people who ask you how it was afterwards. This is my kind of place!!"
I've been hearing great things about the food court in China Town. It seems to be a favorite among food writers, culinary tours and hard core foodies around Atlanta. The mall by itself is nothing spectacular, however, the real gem is the food court. This is a totally unpretentious place where many Asian families come together to relax and eat a hearty meal.
During my first visit, I decided to try the food at Chong Qing Hot Pot. I wanted to see (and taste) what all the buzz was all about. As soon as you enter the first thing that hits you is the menu on the wall. It's completely handwritten in Chinese. In fact, every single eatery has their menu in Chinese but don't let this intimidate you. If you look closely, they usually have a black binder at the counter with pictures and descriptions of all menu items in both English and Spanish.
Chong Qing Hot Pot specializes in authentic Szechuan cuisine. Szechuan cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine originating in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China famed for bold flavors, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan peppercorn (花椒). Peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger are also prominent ingredients in Szechuan cooking.
Sichuan cuisine also has many delicious snacks and desserts, such as Bangbang chicken, chicken with sesame paste, lantern shadow beef, husband and wife’s pork lung slices, steamed beef, noodles with chili sauce, and rice dumplings stuffed with sesame paste.
The menu at Chong Qing Hot Pot, is nevertheless quite large and intriguing, and it has interesting combinations for adventurous eaters. I ordered the spicy chicken, sweet and sour pork, and anchovy rice. The spicy chicken was crispy and moist and extremely flavorful. I couldn't eat more than 3 peppers because the level of spiciness was so high that it made me cry, literally!! However, I enjoyed it so much, that I wouldn't hesitate to order it again. The sweet and sour pork was heavenly and was everything I expected to be. The anchovy rice was a big surprise for me since this is something I like but has been almost impossible to find.
Chong Qing Hot Pot Spicy Chicken (Crispy, and EXTREMELY spicy)
Chong Qing Hot Pot Sweet and Sour Pork
Chong Qing Hot Pot Anchovie Rice
Since my kids are not a huge fans of Asian cuisine I knew it was going to be challenging to find them something they like at the food court. Luckily, there is an eatery called "Hong Kong BBQ" that sells an amazing roasted duck. OMG!! I die for duck. I swear I could eat it everyday. My kids ate the whole thing.
Next time I visit, I want to try the Sichuan fish bowl, steamed dumplings and the twice cooked pork. The green beans also looked scrumptious so I might have to order it too ;-P All dishes come with complimentary soup and hot tea. Just go to the counter and scoop your own rice or soup. The serving portions are H-U-G-E (at least for two people) so either come with a big appetite, or bring a bunch of friends so can properly taste the majority of the items on the menu.