There are plenty of Chinese restaurants around State College that we as students can take full advantage of. And Chinese is something that is extremely close to my heart, if you mess up Chinese, trust me…I would know. But as is the purpose of this passion blog, today we will discuss the various Chinese restaurants around Penn State, and I will be giving my own personal opinions about each restaurant.
I was borned in China, in Dalian to be exact. Chinese food has always been a part of my life, especially since my grandpa was a huge cook. So coming to America, finding real chinese food has not been easy. For some weird reason, most people here believe that orange and chicken is a national treasure of China…or that general tso was just really good at making stir-fry. The fact of the matter is that, most “chinese” food here isn’t really chinese food. However, there are a few restaurants on campus that I believe does chinese quite well. The ones that I will be talking about today is
-Big Bowl- 418 E College Ave, State College, PA 16801
-Chopsticks express- 134 E College Ave, State College, PA 16801
-China Dragon- 147 S Allen St, State College, PA 16801
These three chinese restaurants are Big Bow, Chopsticks Express, Little Szechuan, and China Dragon. For me personally, these four restaurants are all fairly good examples of good chinese around campus.
Before we get to ratings and which restaurant I would recommend the most, let’s clear up how I will be judging each establishment.
The ratings are based in importance of
1) The Taste
2) The service
3) The setting and decoration
4) Price and portions
These are the basic ways that I will be judging each restaurant. With that being said, lets get started from favorite to least favorite.
1st place – Big Bowl –
Big bowl is a very popular dining place on campus. I will bet that at least one of your friends have mentioned big bowl, especially if they are asian. If you are looking for good chinese food with impressive portions than big bowl is the place for you. The restaurant itself is huge, and although the service is a but lacking, the way the meal is prepared for you doesn’t necessarily require too much service. The menu at big bowl is also enormous, with ranges from stir fry and rice to things like dumplings. One of my personal recommendation at big bowl is a “Manto,” chinese steamed bread. Sweet and soft, big bowl’s Manto and dumplings are two of the main reasons that I got there so often. One drawback to big bowl (and literally all of the Chinese restaurants on campus) is that you have to pay in cash. How inconvenient Out of 10 big bowl would earn 7-8/10.
2nd place – Chopsticks express-
It’s a bit difficult to find this restaurant, squeezed at the edge of PNC bank. Chopsticks is easy to miss just because of how small the restaurant itself is. But don’t judge a book by its cover, this is one of my favorite lunch time dining places. Chopsticks has very authentic chinese cuisine, very similar to what I grew up with. At the same time, the food isn’t so out of the world that it’ll alienate those who might not be familiar with exotic chinese food. The meal and portions size of chopsticks is definitely one of my favorite characteristics about the restaurant. 5 dollars for an amazing portions, you really can’t go wrong with this place. Plus, out of the four restaurants, Chopsticks definitely has the best service. In regards of drawbacks, my one complaint about Chopsticks is that the variety is extremely limited and pretty much unchanging.
Out of 10, Chopsticks would earn 6-7/10
3rd place -China Dragon-
Out of the four, China dragon is probably the most out of the way. If you know where Chili’s is on Allen street, then just walk a few more steps and you’re at China Dragon. The set is almost identical to chopsticks, but with more variety. It’s sort of easy to understand why people might prefer China Dragon over Chopsticks, the food is similar and just as authentic and China Dragon is only a dollar or two more expensive. However, my drawback with China Dragon is that the service has always been crappy. I have been to that restaurant about 4 or 5 times and not once have I ever gotten a smile or great service. If China Dragon had better service, it would definitely be better than Chopsticks.
Out of 10, China Dragon would earn 6-6.5/10
There are actually other Chinese restaurants around campus that I haven’t eaten enough to give a good review at. For example
Little Szechuan – 228 W College Ave, State College, PA 16801
is another great place to try, though it might be packed most of the time.
If you are ever get the cravings for anything Asian, hopefully this blog post might help you make a decision. I want to try out other asian restaurants and give an updated comparison list later this semester, till then