Tag Archives: Chinese

Review: Full Kee Chinese Restaurant

Hi, Foodies!

You probably know by now (if you’ve been opening your email and clicking on the blog) that I’m am HERE for Full Kee Chinese Restaurant, a local eatery that calls itself “gourmet Chinese.”  We went back for a taste because I wanted to “research” it for a possible future Chef’s Table. And it did not disappoint. So here’s the review when I brought Sister Foodie with me on our foodie exploration.

You can read the full article for YES! Weekly here.

We did schedule a Chef’s Table for Wednesday, June 19. I hope you can attend. Get tickets here. 

Full Kee has been located at 3793 Samet Drive since 2005.  It was owned and operated by George Yu, who had a very popular restaurant in Washington D.C. before he and his family moved to the Triad. What started as a takeout restaurant, Full Kee expanded into a cozy restaurant with beautiful Chinese art, dim lighting, and a full bar.  In May of last year, George retired and moved to Florida.  Sue Chen had been a partner with George in the early days but had since moved on. Now there was a very brief period of time between George selling and Sue buying the space that the restaurant was not itself.  For one, the restaurant was operated by someone else. Full Kee’s Chef, Carlos Lopez, who had worked under George’s tutelage for nearly a decade, had left to pursue another opportunity while that owner was in charge. The restaurant experienced some not so great reviews for a few weeks. Sue ultimately purchased the restaurant in November and the space its in and brought Carlos back. And now Full Kee has risen to its former glory. Some say it’s better than ever.

Back before my food writing days, Full Kee became a favorite. You can read that initial view here. I found it so interesting that there was actually a Chinese restaurant that claimed to be “gourmet”.  It just wasn’t the norm. Chinese was and is almost entirely takeout and often quite low-key (no pun intended). Full Kee invites your casually dressed self into an ambiance that feels like fine dining, but is very comfortable and inviting. The dim lighting is soft and elegant. And what was more thrilling, amazing, astonishing, is that my children ate their food. At a restaurant. It was then and there that my children discovered they love Asian food, specifically dumplings, stir fry rice and “sweet chicken” (as my son calls it). To this day, General chicken is is favorite food (besides brownies). They’re actually going to the Chef’s Table. They will not be denied. 

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We were fortunate enough to step back into Full Kee after the ownership change to see what’s new and enjoyed our visit with Sue while we sampled some plates.

Egg Drop Soup: If you’re an egg drop soup fan, you’ll love this light broth with the ribbon of yolks. It doesn’t have that off-putting corn starch-like consistency. My sister, who was dining with me the evening we visited, it’s the best egg drop soup she’s ever had and that she ever feels a cold coming on, she knows where she’s headed.

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Lettuce Wraps: A perennial favorite with romaine lettuce and finely minced chicken with  vegetables. They are always a crowed pleaser for the table. The chicken was mild and seasoned wonderfully and the cool, crisp lettuce acts in contrast to the tiny hint of heat.

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Dumplings: Carlos makes all the dumpling wrappers from scratch. The result is a delicate dumpling exterior, tender on top, crispy on the bottom, while it lets the filling shine through. It comes with the typical sweet and savory dipping sauce. It is the perfect appetizer. 

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Spring Rolls: You just can’t not get some spring rolls when you eat Asian food amirite? They were super hot, super crispy, came with two dipping sauces and fab.

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General Tao Chicken: According to Sue, it is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (as it is in just about any Chinese restaurant). Full Kee’s General chicken, with its secret ingredient in the sauce, is light and crispy and not full of breading like you might find with ordinary takeout. “We wanted it ti be a bigger piece of chicken, but not heavy with flour and not cooked too long. It’s crispy outside and tender inside,” Sue told me.  It’s wonderful. And what often comes off as an afterthought, the broccoli is al dente and actually flavorful. Sue says, “It used to be just very plain, but I asked Carlos to add more seasoning.” The result is broccoli with a hint of garlic and it’s perfectly cooked.

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Walnut Shrimp: These firm, juicy jumbo shrimp are lightly crisped in the same manner as the General Tao’s, but the sauce is a bit more robust and amber in color with crunchy walnuts in the mixture.  I highly recommend this dish as well as the Philomela Shrimp, which has a creamier sauce. Or you can get the Full Kee Shrimp, which is a combo of the two. Both come with the same tasty garlic.

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Mongolian Beef: Customers will notice a change to this dish as the protein portion has been increased and the onions have decreased. It’s very savory and peppery and hearty.

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In addition to improving on some of their popular dishes, Sue says she’s lowered the prices while increasing portion sizes. The menu includes a wide variety of traditional Chinese noodle and rice dishes, including Stir-Fry Rice, Stir Fry Sea Bass, Boneless Duck and Curry. Sue has also recruited a wine connoisseur to help patrons with the perfect wine selection.  We agree with Sue that everyone in your dining party should order something different from one another.  “We want everyone to be able to try a little bit of everything.  It’s the best way to enjoy Chinese.”

Full Kee has retained its loyal following of customers, some of whom have a place at the table every Friday night. Andrew Priddy, who lives outside Winston-Salem, says they’ve been loyal since 2010. “We travel a lot. And this by far is our favorite restaurant. Great food, great service. They’re like family. We just love it.”

Sue say that after the slow-go of it, Sue says she loves getting feedback from her customers. “My customers make me feel like we have potential. Every time I see a great review or hear one, it’s just so encouraging and gives me a lot of hope.”

Full Kee will be the featured restaurant with A Chef’s Table on Wednesday, June 19th. Tickets can be reserved at https://chefstablefullkee.eventbrite.com

foodie b’eat: Xia Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar via CHOW in YES! Weekly

A year ago or so, we took a lunch break from our office in WS to Xia to check out their sushi. It was pretty good, but we really didn’t get back there (even though it’s next door) because we discovered that Wen Hwa (a few blocks over) was the microfoodies’ favorite place to eat in the history of kidkind.

So we went to Wen Hwa. A lot. And that was our Asian Fusion fix for a good 6 months. Until the unspeakable happened. Wen Hwa was damaged in a fire a mere 2 hours after we had just eaten  lunch there. We waited and waited for months, but it just didn’t open. And then recently they announced they would not reopen.

Anyway, we went back to Xia because guess what??? They also have Pho. Pho! Something that’s been absent in this town. We have had no Pho in #WSNC. But Xia has it. And you should check it out. And all the other stuff they have too. Heck, try the sushi too. Read all about it here.

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This is the Honey Sesame Chicken. Ours order it with no sesame. Very similar to General Tso. It will look like this, but be spicy.

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Fried Spring Roll

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Jasmine Tea

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Pho Beef Combo (with rare beef and meatball)

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foodie b’eat: The Best of Asian in the Triad via CHOW in YES! Weekly

This might be more of a refresher for some of you who are more regular readers of the blog. Here’s a checklist of some of our fave Asian spots across the Triad.  It’s all in my latest CHOW article in YES! Weekly.

By the way, since we went to press, we found another that we really love. nOma Food is a new fast casual restaurant on Battleground Avenue. They officially open Monday, August 24. You must check them out. They are fab. Especially love their curry and the beef rice bowl! Enjoy, foodies! PS…if you don’t see a fave, let me know what I’m missing.

Sushi Republic

Exploring Asia in the Triad

The entire triadfoodies clan has been hitting some bucket list spots lately here in the area. Most of them…well ALL of them…Asian. Did I mention the microfoodies, who surprise me with their annoying quirks about food, pretty much LOVE Asian cuisine? I mean, these kids turn me into a liar. One day, I say they don’t eat anything but grilled cheese and PBJ and then the next day they are scarfing down Tikka Masala like a champ. I mean, what the what??? And it doesn’t stop there. They like Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian (??) and Moroccan (I know, NOT Asia). But it’s pretty much nuts since I can barely get them to eat a cheeseburger. It’s exhausting.

Due to being slack about consistent posts, I’ve now, ahem…compiled a lovely treasure chest of goodness that you definitely should check out in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. These are in no particular order except the first one. If I don’t list them first, my kidlets will tackle me and demand all my naan.

Nawab Indian Cuisine 129 South Stratford Rd, WS

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My first taste of from scratch Indian food was in my own home when I made a slow cooker Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken). The flavors were to die for and my children, God bless them, ate it like it was their last meal on earth. I even went all out and allowed them to eat with their fingers as we sat on the floor around our coffee table. Fun times, but I digress. At Nawab, you will eat at your standard table with standard utensils and the flavors there are authentic and delicious and as spicy as you want it. Go Indian hot for the full effect. You can’t go wrong with a delicious Tikka Masala with its slightly smoky, sweet and zesty flavor. Amazing. And we highly recommend getting Rogan Josh. They have various choices with seafood, lamb (which is what we ordered), goat, etc. You GOTTA get the naan bread. Everything is pretty much family style, so the 4 of us shared 2 entrees with plenty left over and clean plates even. Not so sure yet? Nawab has an amazing buffet that has everything from Mango Steak to Tikka Masala to Tandoori Chicken and plenty of veggie options too along with a salad. $12 for the all you can eat buffet. True bliss. It gets busy at lunch so if you get there at peak time, you may wait for your table but it goes pretty quickly. And the service is just impeccable as the owner makes her way to every table to make sure your experience is an enjoyable one.

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Another trip: Lunch Buffet

Cha Da Thai 420 Jonestown Rd, WS

Located in a shopping center on Jonestown Road (as well as a location in Boone) there’s a great selection of Thai specialties and favorites and pretty moderate prices. Food here is also served somewhat family style as most Thai places and it comes out piping hot with fresh vegetables cooked al dente. The boy kidlet even ate his fried spring roll. He was not aware there was cabbage in it so we won’t say anything. I ordered the crispy duck and mr. foodie ordered the Chicken Curry. He gets that nearly everywhere and he has a standard so if it’s delicious then that’s great news. Great spice in the broth that soaked up the rice and great tender chicken. We ordered the boy the chicken fried rice and helped him put a good dent in it. We had plenty left of that though and it was enough to make an entire family of four “leftovers” with some rotisserie chicken. Delicious day of and a few days later.

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Sushi Thai 826 South Stratford Rd, WS

At first glance, this little place in a former something else (maybe a steak place?) looks like you might just pass it by. But we say, do not! Delicious fresh Chicken Teriyaki for the kids, Chicken Curry for mr. (I told you) and it was chocked full of fresh veggies as you can see below and I ordered sushi. It was all really good and it came out in a timely manner with great service. It was pretty deserted but for 3-4  tables on a Sunday evening. Definitely check them out for a nice quiet meal that won’t cost a lot of $$.

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Thai Sawatdee (3 locations)

Thai Sawatdee has 3 locations,  but if you ask anybody in WS, they will probably tell you that their favorite Thai is actually the one that’s a walk up counter at the Harris Teeter on Cloverdale Avenue. Affectionately called Teeter Thai. But the new location on Robinhood may be able to give the walk-up a run for its money as there’s way more space to sit and enjoy dinner with your family. I can only speak of the Teeter location which did not disappoint with its Spicy Noodle and Pad Thai. I did think the Pad Thai was on the sweet side, my wide spicy noodles were great. And where else can you end your meal with a quick jaunt over to the dessert section at HT and buy some tiramisu? It’s definitely a perk. Plus you can order, then shop, then have Thai food. That’s pretty awesomely convenient. You ain’t hitting Teeter Thai for the ambiance, that’s for sure. I was just at the HT today to get some olives from the olive bar and I sure wish I’d gotten some spring rolls while I was at it.

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Wen Hwa Asian Fusion Cuisine 134 N Spruce Street, WS

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Speaking of ambiance, there’s just about nothing that compares to it Wen Hwa.  Its black and red interior definitely transport you to an exotic place. It’s pretty quiet and the general feel of it is really nice, yet casual. Cloth scroll menus that unroll…pretty cool! Service is terrific and we were checked on a number of times by the lovely owner. The General Tao’s chicken is slightly spicy and amazing, the Singapore Street Noodles are so yummy. Also worth a try is the Sesame Honey Chicken. AND the Chicken Wraps. As I type this I’m thinking it’s definitely time to go back. There’s an entree called Vietnamese Black Pepper Beef & Shrimp that has my taste buds wondering….
UPDATE: We did go back…for lunch…and though the above beef and shrimp dish was tempting, I simply couldn’t pass up the lunch special of General Chicken with Spring Roll for 5.95. It’s really the best General Tao chicken in the Triad bar none. So fresh and crispy and just-right spicy. By the way, I have a STACK of 10% off coupons so if you want one, holler!

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General Tao's Chicken $5.95 with Spring Roll

General Tao’s Chicken $5.95 with Spring Roll

Chef Samir Shaltout (pronounced Shal-toot) Egyptian Treasures 4212 W. Wendover Ave., GSO

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Egyptian and Mediterranean done right. With terrific service and maybe even a visit from the Chef himself. We decided to go for the Babaghanoush, Falafel, Chicken Shawerma and Lamb Kabobs. I really could eat food like this nearly every day. I love hummus, feta, rice, flat bread, all of it. All of the items we tried were freshly prepared and the restaurant itself has a nice Egyptian decor in spite of the fact that it’s in a shopping center that’s anchored by a Staples. For something truly unique, we highly recommend. Plus he has a catering truck! If it just opened on one side, Chef Shaltout would have one heck of a food truck option. I mean, people would flock, don’t you think?

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Chef Shaltout

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Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe  101 W. 4th Street, WS

And by no means does being last on this list, mean anything at all except it’s a blend of Greek, Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare so it’s not all Asia all the time at Mooney’s. Mooney’s is definitely one of the more popular restaurants in downtown Winston-Salem at lunch. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a seat. At lunch, you walk up, order and take a number then get your food. At dinner, it’s table service. Of course the hummus and falafel are divine as is the babaghanouj. Here, I’ve also gotten the Shawarma and for lunch I ordered the Kafta with steak. This is a wonderful restaurant in which to just nosh, nosh, nosh.  Hummus, pita, dips, wraps, falafel…so good. Heck for the less adventurous people in your life, they even have burgers! And fries! Win win.

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Not pictured above and not to be missed: Phoenix Asian Cafe (1641 New Garden Road, GSO) has been open a few years and looks VERY similar to that large Pan Asian chain restaurant, but I swear it’s even better and the bonus is eating local. Plus, Phoenix has great sushi. My favorite items on the menu are the appetizer, Firecracker Shrimp, and the entree, Spicy Fish. Phoenix’s food comes out so hot that you will have to let it cool before you can enjoy it and that’s okay, right? Very similar in concept in Winston-Salem is Hakka Chow (615 St. George Square Ct) Also with pretty decent sushi and the Hakka Zen Shrimp (kind of like the aforementioned shrimp) and good Chicken Curry. This restaurant is brought to you by the restaurant family that owns Bernardin’s and Bleu so you know they don’t do things halfway. If you find yourself craving that big Chinese chain you find at upscale malls, drive the extra few minutes to the locally-owned version. You won’t be disappointed and you may save a few bucks.

That’s barely touching on all the amazing places to eat that represent such a vast continent. I’ve already talked about Winston’s Mizu and Greensboro’s Pho Hien Vuong and High Point’s Full Kee in separate posts (they’re that good…and…I had way more time on my hands to do separate posts :D). This compilation is  much more convenient for me and hopefully for you. Definitely let me know if you have a suggestion for a can’t miss spot for Asian cuisine in the Triad and beyond.

Until next time, foodies…eat local!