Chef brings back recipes from Asia

Hunan Manor tops lists with its ever-expanding menu of authentic dishes

Restaurant profile

September 26, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Chinese food at Hunan Manor has long been recognized as the best in Howard County. It wins that distinction in local reader polls. And in 1999, no less an authority than USA Today listed it as "one of the 10 greatest places to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the nation."

Robert Foo, the restaurant's floor manager, isn't surprised at all the accolades the restaurant receives. "They really know how to cook good Chinese food," he said.

The restaurant's master chef, Tak Wong, who is also one of the owners, is constantly learning about new dishes, Foo said. "He travels to Asia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Taiwan at least once a year just to talk with other chefs over there about the new dishes that are getting popular in those areas," he said.

Wong left this month for a three-week visit, Foo said. When he returns, there are sure to be several dishes added to Hunan Manor's extensive menu.

The menu lists 811 dishes, as well as five vegetarian offerings made with a chicken substitute. Specials are also available.

The dishes, which hail from all corners of the Far East, include Hunan-style pork served with a hot sauce with vegetables; Mongolian lamb, which is sauteed with spring onions; Malaysian-style beef curry, which is served with onions, peas and carrots; and Taiwanese-style rice noodles, served with shredded pork, baby shrimp and vegetables.

Among the more popular dishes are Hunan-style crispy whole fish and that old standby, General Tso's chicken.

Wong, who is from Indonesia, is particularly proud of his Indonesian dishes.

His satay appetizers are made of flavored chicken, pork, beef or lamb and served with an Indonesian sauce on the side, Foo said.

"The other thing he's really proud of is the Indonesian-style curry. It's totally different from curry in other countries," Foo said.

The dessert selections include Italian tiramisu and chocolate mousse cake, as well as ice cream in such traditional Asian flavors as lychee, green tea and red bean.

Hunan Manor is open seven days a week and serves lunch and dinner.

The dining room, which seats about 310, is dominated by a 2,000-gallon fish tank. Catering and takeout service are also available.

Hunan Manor, Where: 7091 Deepage Drive, Columbia; 410-381-1134; fax, 410-381-1138.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Prices: Appetizers, $1.95 to $8.50; entrees, $6.95 to $17.95, with some seafood dishes at market value.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

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