Little Chinatown–Kenner, LA

Little Chinatown
3800 Williams Blvd.
Kenner, LA
(504) 305-0580
Little Chinatown

Little Chinatown


I should probably explain that while I hope my articles will be of interest to as many readers as possible, my choice of restaurants to visit is ultimately based on my own interests, including what I wish to discover about dining in various cities. Probably my number one passion is Chinese food, and when I heard from the people at Bao & Noodle that there was another Chinese restaurant in the New Orleans area that I should visit (at least that they told me about), I thought I should check it out (although at the expense of some of the local cuisines due to my time limitations).

In Oklahoma City I found that the best seafood was at Chinese restaurants, and the same proved to be true on my New Orleans visit. Little Chinatown in Kenner (near the New Orleans Airport) had some of the best and definitely some of the freshest seafood I have ever experienced, and with the bonus of being prepared Chinese style this was really hard to beat.

The dish I ordered (a seafood hot pot) was the most expensive item I saw on the menu, but was recommended by the waitress as one of the ones she personally liked to eat. My standard practice is to ask employees at a restaurant which dishes are their favorites, and when one of them turns out to be as outstanding as this one I think it is perfectly justified to give the restaurant one of the highest ratings possible. I recognize that many other dishes are probably not going to be this good, but I assume that some probably will (thus I feel fairly confident in the rating I have given).

In any case, seafood is one of the local specialties of New Orleans, and Little Chinatown for me did a better job of presenting it than any other restaurant I visited.

Seafood Clay Pot

Seafood bean noodle clay pot

Seafood bean noodle clay pot

The Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot was a typical Chinese dish in that I did not really understand what would be in it until it was set on the table (although I took their word that it would be very good). The seafood consisted of some items that I believe were local and some that may not have been, but all were extremely fresh (or I will at least say that enough of them were that this was an outstanding dish). The bean noodle was a glass colored vermicelli style noodle that although having a good flavor, mostly served to highlight the main ingredients of the dish.

This was a spicy dish (about four chiles on my “5 chile” scale), so they were obviously not trying to make it so spicy it was hard to taste the seafood. I did enjoy the balance of flavors, however (and would recommended it spicy to anyone who does not have a problem with spicy food).

This is a Hong Kong style restaurant, but they do serve spicy dishes such as this one.

The Restaurant
In contrast to Bao & Noodle, Little Chinatown is larger, has a more varied and extensive menu, and I would say more reasonably priced (although both restaurants are a good value for what you receive). Bao & Noodle is exclusively spicy food (except for the bao) and the spicy dishes Little Chinatown has do not seem to have the full-blown type of heat I found at Bao & Noodle. In any case, these are two very different types of Chinese restaurants, but I thought both of them were excellent.

Little Chinatown said they do not use MSG, and this seemed to be the case with my dish.

Although the menu at Little Chinatown is limited compared to the the high end Chinese restaurants on the west coast, and the setting is definitely not the same, I thought the food here was of a comparable quality.

 


RATING: 26

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 26, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot

 

Bao & Noodle–New Orleans, LA

Bao & Noodle
2700 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA
(504) 272-0004
Bao & Noodle

Bao & Noodle


In researching New Orleans restaurants I got the idea from some people that it is rather silly to eat Chinese food here since it is best to experience the city’s own cuisine (Creole, Cajun, etc.). One the other hand I saw some really good reviews of Bao & Noodle for their Chinese food, and I thought if it is really that good I should give it a try.

Bao & Noodle turned out to be as good as the reviews indicated, and it gives support to another saying that it is really hard to find a bad meal in New Orleans. I thought Bao & Noodle was the best restaurant I experienced on this particular short visit, but I also have a particular passion for Chinese food that would make me like it better than other cuisines when prepared as well as this one was.

The building itself was a typical New Orleans experience, with open windows and doors giving somewhat of an outdoor patio experience even though the tables were inside (of course the weather was appropriate for doing this, which might not have been the case in the middle of the summer).

Although I did not see a lot of Chinese people in New Orleans, they were a large part of the clientele at this restaurant (indicating that they approve of the food served as I did). Bao (steamed dumpling) and noodle dishes are the specialty of the restaurant, with a variety of noodle soups and dishes being served. Since my trip took me through Dallas I tried some bao there, and thought sticking to the noodles might be best for this restaurant.

I believe the food here is mostly Sichuan style with some northern style Chinese food and other dishes. I am not totally familiar with different Chinese cuisines, but I could tell that the noodles and vegetables served were more typical of northern China than in the south such as the Hong Kong area.

The spice level seemed closer to real Chinese levels than American style, and I was really impressed that it reached the level where I felt that it brought out the best in these dishes without being so spicy that I had a hard time eating it.

Spicy Chicken Soup

Spicy Chicken Soup

Spicy Chicken Soup

 

From the photo the Spicy Chicken Soup looks as if it is made up mainly of meat, noodles, chile, and green onions. The broth, though, gives this dish such a flavor enhancement that I count it as one of the best Chinese soups I have eaten (although to be technically correct I only ate a sample of it). High quality ingredients were another key component, and I could see how something like this would be embraced in such a food conscious city.

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

This photo of the Dan Dan Noodles does not show the sauce at the bottom of the bowl, which made this not only better than it initially looked but also one that was very spicy. I would call the sauce a “chile sauce” except that it is not quite as spicy as the type of chile sauce many restaurants serve on the table in a little jars.

The components of this dish made it probably the most interesting and best example of dan dan noodles I have tried. Like the soup the flavor is not solely from the ingredients that are the most obvious on top, but they come together when the proper mixing or stirring has been done. The spiciness was not over the top but it was enough so that I felt this dish was quite authentic.

Tea

Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Tea

The tea was a little expensive, but was made with loose leaves and was quite good. I had a glass of water on hand as well, but the spice level of the food was enough under control that I could enjoy the hot tea with it as well.

Recommendations
Both dishes were excellent, but what I really liked about the dan dan noodles is that it was probably the best one I have ever tasted (and therefore is higher on my satisfaction scale for having tried this restaurant). The menu is small and there are not a lot of choices, but it seems that all of them are quite good.

The restaurant is small and it seemed that there was one cook and one waiter when I went. To me this shows that they are not making Chinese food for the masses, but they do produce very high quality food for the few people who come to this somewhat out of the way location and can wait for their food (my wait was not bad but I do not know how it would be when they have more of a crowd).

If you do not like spicy food at all I suppose they can make it this way for you, but I think the chile is an essential flavor component of this type of food. To compare it to Mexican food, this restaurant is no spicier than the typical restaurant in New Mexico, although it has a higher spice level than would be found with most Tex-Mex food.

I did not try the steamed buns but this is a large part of the menu, and seemed to be a very popular item by observing what the other tables had ordered.


RATING: 27

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. & Mon.
Accessible: N/A
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 25, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Dan Dan Noodles, Spicy Chicken Soup

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (loose leaves)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Dan Dan Noodles
star 5 Spicy Chicken Soup

 

Cafe Beignet–New Orleans, LA

Cafe Beignet
600 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA
No phone listed
Cafe Beignet

Cafe Beignet on Decatur St.


My journey here started with a desire to go to Cafe du Monde, but finding that the lines to get in were almost impossible (or at least would significantly decrease my time for seeing other French Quarter sights). I think going to Cafe Beignet was an excellent decision. For one thing Cafe Beignet itself got to full capacity right after I ordered, and more importantly I accomplished my mission of finding excellent beignets (the specialty of both restaurants).

The Jackson Brewery

The restaurant is located in the old Jackson Brewery building

Cafe Beignet is located in the old Jackson Brewery Building (home of Jax Beer) next to a parking lot labeled “Premium Parking” on Google Maps. The hourly rate charged at the lot was another reason I wanted to minimize the time waiting for my beignets, but as I found out there was probably no reason to pay for what I think would have been an extra hour in order to try Cafe du Monde.

In truth I do not know how any beignets could be better than the ones I had at Cafe Beignet. This was truly one of the best sweet treat experiences I have ever had (although many in New Orleans call it breakfast).  It is possible that the beignets at Cafe du Monde are better, but I did observe that they were smaller (even though I wasn’t able to order anything there I walked in and saw what they were serving).

Beignets

Beignets

Order of beignets

Beignets are deep fried dough covered with powdered sugar. This description does not make it sound like something special, but the ones I tried here definitely were a special treat. It is not something I want to repeat at regular intervals knowing what the nutritional content and calorie count must be, but it was certainly something I enjoyed for a special experience.

The pastries come in an order of three for $3.99, and I certainly thought this was a bargain.

Coffee

Caramel au Lait

Caramel au Lait with beignets

Being a cafe, coffee is the other main attraction here. I am not a coffee drinker, but the lady at the counter talked me into a Caramel au Lait because it was “mostly milk with not much coffee.” Even this did not convince me to become a coffee drinker, but I enjoyed it as a one time experience (especially with these wonderful beignets).

Sandwiches

Croissant sandwich

Croissant sandwich

I did not order a sandwich, but they are available as evidence by the one shown in the photo. Cafe Beignet has fruit cups and other items that will give you a good breakfast even if beignets are not on the agenda for you. It was interesting, though, that many patrons included drinks from the bar as part of their breakfast menu.

General Information
Both Cafe Beignet and Cafe du Monde have other locations, but most people seem to flock to the ones on Decatur Street for both restaurants. I enjoyed the atmosphere of Cafe Beignet which included an open air setting and patio tables if you want to eat outdoors.

My friend who ordered the croissant had to wait for what seemed to be an inordinate time for it, but otherwise the restaurant lived up to my expectations for a great beignet experience.


RATING: N/R

Cuisine: Cafe
Cost: $$
Hours: Open daily (8 am to 10 pm)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Bar

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 25, 2017

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item: Beignet

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Beignet