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China 10 offers casual elegance, delightful dining

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Christina Ruotolo
Hot Dish

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I moved to Greenville in 1997 and as a poor, struggling college student, my meals consisted of ramen noodles, fast food, pizzas, and bread and water. OK, so that sounds kind of harsh, but you understand the food dilemma that attaches itself to college students.

The only time we could enjoy a nice “sit down” meal at a restaurant that included linen tablecloths and menus that were not laminated was the day after payday. My friends and I would meet at China 10 Restaurant in Greenville and enjoy our “fancy” meal. We shared a bowl of crunchy noodles dipped in a sweet, delectable duck sauce, were served bowls of steaming egg-drop or wanton soup, then a real third course, our entree that we shared along with plump, dewy white rice. We felt important, and whenever I was invited to go on a date, I always picked a restaurant like China 10 with its inviting atmosphere and food.

Even though I’m no longer in college, I still can’t afford to eat this way all the time. I frequent China 10 often taking myself back to the good ol’ days when food fed me in more ways than just nourishment. If you are looking for a place that offers amazing authentic Chinese food in a warm, inviting atmosphere where you can come in and feel important, then you should try China 10 at 1904 E. Fire Tower Road, Suite 107 in Greenville.

They used to be located on 10th street near campus. That is where the idea for the name came from. So even though they moved to Fire Tower Road, they will still have a piece of 10th Street history in their blood. They have been open for 23 years, and owners Phillip and Lien Hou have been providing customers with unparalleled service that still has the fine dining feel without that fancy fine dining price.

China 10 is open for lunch and dinner and offers a wide variety of soups, appetizers, fried rice, seafood, beef, chicken or pork options, chef specials, lo mein, and egg foo yung dishes as well as chow mein and a section featuring A Taste of Thai. They even have an entire section devoted to dietitian’s delights, which are entrees steamed with the sauces served on the side. They even have gluten free soy sauce, so gluten sensitive patrons can frequent often. They don’t use MSG, and they can alter salt and spices if needed. Their menu is a beautiful trip to the Orient with all the spices and flavor combinations that lend themselves to eastern culture. Their food has won numerous awards over the years including “Best Chinese Food,” “Best Oriental Cuisine,” “1st Place Healthy Chef Award,” and the “Golden A Award,” to name a few.

When you walk in, there is peaceful music playing and artful Chinese décor along with cozy booths or tables. Lien describes the restaurant as “casual elegance without the stuffy feel.” Hou says, “We go above and beyond so you won’t have typical service when you come here.”

Now about that amazing, addictive sweet duck sauce. They make the sauce in-house every day and Lien says it is loved by many. “A lot of customers are requesting that we bottle it. They say it’s delicious even on cardboard,” Hou says. I second their thoughts, it really is that amazing. So every meal you have here must start with a bowl of crunchy noodles and duck sauce.

After the duck sauce, start off with either their vegetable roll or fried cream cheese roll. The cream cheese roll is made with a creamy hunk of cream cheese inside an egg roll wrapper that is rolled in panko breading so you get a sweet, crunchy outside layer with sweet cream cheese inside. The vegetable roll is a small vegetable filled wanton. Both are super tasty ways to start your meal.

For my Chinese food tour, I tried the garlic noodles with Teriyaki beef. Four skewers of thin grilled beef bathed in a glossy, sweet teriyaki sauce are placed over a bowl of savory and garlicky sesame noodles. The entire dish is garnished with julienne slices of zucchini, sesame seeds and sliced green onions. This is a generous helping of noodles for only $11.95.

Now let’s have some chicken. I tried the customer favorite and chef’s special, the imperial chicken. Start with deep fried chunks of chicken stir fried with bell peppers, broccoli and baby corn all bathed in a tangy soy based sauce. First, let me say baby corn is my all-time favorite stir fried vegetable and very underrated. It’s sweet and tender and in my opinion should always be in vegetable mixtures. It pairs beautifully with the other sweet peppers and warm broccoli. The sauce is bright with a hint of tang with richness at its core. This dish was an artfully presented with a radish that was dyed and hand carved to look like an open rose. This culinary wonder offers an explosion of Asian inspired flavors for only $11.95.

The last dish I tried was the Walnut shrimp which is another one of the chef specialties. Start with jumbo deep-fried shrimp that have been sauteed with carrots, baby corn, bell peppers, honey glazed walnuts in another flavorful brown based sauce. The shrimp was plump and fresh paired with sweet, earthy veggies with another sweet and crunchy walnut bite all surrounded by another tangy sauce with hints of orange and acidity. It was another beautifully presented dish with its colorful array of ingredients and handmade zucchini flower for garnish for only $15.50.

It’s pretty easy to see why I frequent this place often. No matter what part of the Orient you are in the mood for, China 10 can accommodate your needs. Don’t forget they have full ABC permits and serve beer, wine, sake, mixed drinks, and hot and iced teak as well as sodas. The banquet room seats 25-30 people and would be perfect for your next luncheon, book or bridge club, or other event. You can even rent the entire place out for later events. You can order takeout or use them for your next catered office lunch.

China 10 is open for lunch Monday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with dinner served from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sunday until 9 p.m. You can join them during the week from 4-6 p.m. for their early bird special featuring special reduced rate items. For more information, call 252-830-2238.

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