If you drive through West Lawn regularly, you may have noticed the recent facelift for Zhuang’s Garden.
The restaurant along Penn Avenue has a brand new entrance and new signage above the door. It’s a more inviting look, one that looked inviting enough to go for dinner.
I had never been to Zhuang’s Garden. The first thing I noticed was that there was much more parking than I had expected along the side of the building. And upon arriving for an early dinner (just after 5 p.m.) I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of those spaces were taken.
We were seated right away in a four-person booth. Those booths made up most of the seating in the restaurant. The building looks narrow from the outside, but there is plenty of seating, mostly booths with a few tables.
The meal started with an unexpected appetizer of fried noodles and duck sauce.
I say unexpected because none of the other Asian restaurants we have visited on Berks County Eats has offered them to us.
And it was a pleasant surprise. We both love the addicting fried bites but never order them. It was certainly nice to have something to munch on until the food arrived.
Julie had her mind set before we arrived that she was going to have egg drop soup. It arrived in short order.
I have never been an egg drop soup fan, but it’s something that Julie has always liked. And she was a fan of this one – brothy with plenty of egg drops.
I skipped the appetizers and prepared myself for my main entree: banana chicken.
The banana chicken is one of the best Asian dishes that I have tried anywhere. The chicken was fried like a sweet-and-sour chicken would be. It was tossed with bananas, bell peppers, water chestnuts, snow peas and bamboo shoots in what was described on the menu as a “delicious brown sauce.”
I don’t know what constitutes brown sauce, but it was delicious. One thing the sauce did pick up was the flavor of the bananas. Every bite had that distinct sweetness. And unlike a standard orange chicken that is all glaze, this was true flavor.
I have zero complaints about the dish, but I have to say that it was such a complete dish that I mostly forgot about the cup of rice that was served on the side. And though I do enjoy rice with my stir-fry meals, I didn’t miss it at all.
Julie’s meal was more traditional – shrimp lo mein.
That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. It was. The lo mein noodles were cooked well and there were plenty of shrimp pieces to create a hearty dish.
It was too hearty to finish in one meal. About half of it came home with us for later.
Zhuang’s Garden was also a great value. With a $25 price tag, we both felt like we had more than our money’s worth.
It was a very good meal with great food and quick service.
And all it took to get me through the door was a little remodeling.
2834 Penn Ave
West Lawn, PA 19609