Husband-wife team keeps a family focus on Chinese dining

Cozy China Village has brisk carryout, delivery business

March 08, 2001|By Jody Vilschick | Jody Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

China Village, on Route 103 (Montgomery Road) in Ellicott City, is as busy as the thoroughfare. Although the 24-seat restaurant is relatively cozy, China Village runs a brisk carryout and delivery trade.

"Our customers like General Tso's Chicken the most," says Fanny Xie, co-owner with her husband, Hoa Hoang. "But they also order the House Combo and Happy Family a lot."

The House Combination offers seafood, beef, chicken and pork with a variety of vegetables in "house special brown sauce," and Happy Family offers jumbo shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef stir-fried with snow peas, mushrooms, carrots, baby corn and broccoli.

Other house specialties include Four Seasons (shrimp, chicken, beef and pork with Chinese vegetables), Walnut Crispy Shrimp (battered shrimp deep-fried until crispy and then stir-fried with walnuts in chef's sweet and spicy sauce), and Shan Fun Beef (large chunks of beef steak stir-fried with snow peas, mushrooms and baby corn).

The story of the restaurant's beginnings is entwined in the story of the marriage and partnership of Xie and Hoang, who is the chef.

When Hoang was a young man, he left Guang Xhou, China, and moved to Howard County. Since he lacked a higher education and English skills, he sought work as a chef in a local Chinese restaurant.

Xie's and Hoang's parents knew each other and arranged the match. In 1985, Hoang returned to China to marry her. "Sometimes when they come back from America, they look down on girls still in China," she says. "But Hoa was different. He was very manly and always treated people very nice."

After the wedding, Xie remained in China until her papers came through; she joined her husband in Maryland in 1987 and also went to work, as a cashier and waitress, in a Chinese restaurant.

Hoang refined his skill as chef and managing the "back of the restaurant," and Xie learned how to run "the front of a small restaurant."

It made sense for them to open China Village in 1995. "It's a lot of work," says Xie. "We like having China Village. It's good running our own business, and the people here - our customers - are very kind."

In addition to traditional dishes, China Village's menu offers Crystal Chef's Delight (jumbo shrimp and fresh sea scallops sautM-ied with broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms and carrots in a creamy garlic sauce), Peacock Chicken (diced chicken sautM-ied with onions and green peppers in a hot tangy sauce), Sha Cha Beef (sliced beef sautM-ied with broccoli and pepper in a hot Malaysian barbecue sauce), and Peking Style Pork (shredded pork with bamboo shoots stir-fried in a plum sauce, topped with fresh scallions).

Vegetarians have a variety of choices, including Moo Shu Vegetable, General Tso's Crispy Bean Curd and Szechwan or Hunan Style Bean Curd.

"Hoa makes everything from scratch," his wife says. "He's a good chef - he knows how much to put in of this and just a little of that. Every chef has his secrets."

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