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Empire Chinese Kitchen, Portland, Maine

We had originally intended on going to Silly’s, but unfortunately they were closed for two weeks so instead we went over to Empire Chinese Kitchen.  We had originally eaten here a year ago when we attended Hayden’s friend Taryn’s wedding so we already knew that they had delicious food and were happy to return.  It was nice to be able to sit down with Taryn and catch up while enjoying some fantastic food!

What we ordered

Spring Rolls- 2 red cabbage & brussel sprout crispy spring rolls.  Normally we end up having to get the non-fried spring rolls so it was nice to be able to get these as a change of pace.  The sauce that they came with had a nice level of sweetness to it without too much heat and went extremely well with the crunchiness of the spring rolls.  They are small and when split between two people, they do not offer much in the ways of an appetizer, but we had ordered plenty of other food to go with it.

Spinach Dumplings- 4 carrot, ginger, sweet corn, in hand-rolled dough. We love dumplings and will always try and order them whenever they are on the menu.  They are like our Asian food buffalo wings.  These were cooked really well and were packed full of ingredients, but didn’t have an overwhelmingly strong flavor to them.  They felt more like a food to eat rather than a food to enjoy.

Vegetable Ramen- bok choy, enoki, broccoli, tofu, soba noodles & pepper mushroom broth. This is so much better than any store-bought ramen you can get.  The vegetables were balanced perfectly to have the crunch that you want without feeling raw and stuffed into a soup.  The tofu was delicious, the noodles were cooked to perfection and Hayden even liked the enoki (though she doesn’t care much for mushroom). The broth had a great flavor and really elevated this dish to the next level. 

Kung Pao Tofu- 5-spice tofu & fresh mushrooms / roasted peanuts / thin noodles.  The last time Aaron got this, he went way too high on the spicy scale so he toned it back quite a bit and it came out much more enjoyable.  The balance of flavors in the spice and the sauce that covers the entire dish gives it a full-bodied taste that is allowed to come forward in the absence of the intense heat.  This is easily one of Aaron’s favorite style of dishes.

Ginger Fried Rice- green bean / bok choy / broccoli / minced ginger.  This would be a great dish to split for two people as a side to your main dish, as it was really light and not weighed down with too much oil.  The ginger flavor is present, but not overwhelming and anytime we can get fried rice with vegetables, we try to go that route.

Restaurant information

Name: Empire Chinese Kitchen
Location: 575 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Price: $
Cuisine: Chinese
Vegan options: Vegan options
Dress code: Casual

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