Lo mein from San's Asian Food

San’s Asian Food

A row of chairs from San's Asian Food

In 2017, I got my first taste of 1 Potato Two and their signature spudwich. It was so unique – and delicious – that I named it one of my five favorite entrees of 2017.

The stand was still brand new at the Boscov’s Fairgrounds Farmers Market when I visited. Now, about two-and-a-half years later, 1 Potato Two is gone.

But the space has already been filled by San’s Asian Food.

San’s opened in August in the already crowded market, taking over the former site of 1 Potato Two at the Mall end of the Market. Unlike their predecessor, San’s has taken full advantage of a less-than-desirable space. A warming table and sushi cooler faces the main aisle. In the space between San’s and the next stand, they have added a pair of two-seat tables to complement the counter seating.

Warming tables filled with Chinese food entrees and sides from San's Asian Food

The new stand has a little bit of everything: a warming table with your standard Chinese food fare and rotating specials, a cooler filled with sushi (for those looking for a sushi review, I’m sorry. I am not a seafood fan so you would not want to hear from me), and a full menu to order from if you don’t mind waiting.

I made two visits to San’s – both for lunch – so I could get a better taste for their food.

Sesame Chicken and rice from San's Asian Food

On my first visit, I wanted to try the classics. Among the limited selections waiting on the warming table were General Tso’s chicken and sesame chicken, two of my favorites. I got the two-entree lunch combo with a side of fried rice.

The General’s chicken was interesting. Usually it’s a sweet and spicy dish, but this had more of a tangy flavor to it. It wasn’t bad – I actually did enjoy it – but it wasn’t what I was anticipating. Unfortunately the sesame chicken was a let down for me. There wasn’t much of a sauce, and what little I had didn’t have a whole lot of flavor. It wasn’t bad tasting, it just didn’t have much of a taste.

Sesame Chicken and rice from San's Asian Food

I did enjoy the rice, which had what seemed to be fresh vegetables in the form of carrots, peas and onions (there was also just a little bit of meat). It wasn’t flashy, but it was a good side.

Both entrees used real white meat chicken, which is something I really appreciated. I’ve cut into too many pieces of General’s chicken only to find a mix of processed white and dark meat. That was not the case at San’s, which set it apart.  

On my second trip, I changed it up and ordered teriyaki chicken and lo-mein.

Teriyaki chicken from San's Asian Food

All around, it was a better meal than my first visit. The chicken had a very good flavor to it – salty and a little sweet as expected from a teriyaki base. The actual meat, though, was the stereotypical “pieces” that you find most often with the dish. It brought it down a little bit for me, but again, the flavor was really strong – probably the best of the three chicken dishes that I tried at San’s.

Lo mein from San's Asian Food

I also enjoyed the lo mein. It was tossed with broccoli, cabbage and other vegetables. The noodles were good and I enjoyed all of the vegetables. It was simple, but good.

In addition to the warming table, San’s does have a full menu so you can order your meal fresh. With limited time on my lunch, I appreciated the ready-made meals. If I had more time – say at dinner – I would love to go back and see how much better the food would be if it was made fresh.

Also, the small prices are a big plus. The two-meat combo is less than $10 (the single is $7).

San’s may not have jumped to the top of my list for Asian food in Berks County, but that’s ok. It has some good offerings at a very good price. It’s also really convenient.

That’s the makings of a farmers market stand built to last.  

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Fair
Price: Very Reasonable

San’s Asian Food
Boscov’s Fairgrounds Farmers Market
2934 N. 5th Street Hwy
Reading, PA 19605

Asian & Pacific Islands Farmers Market Meals Lunch & Dinner Reviews
Chicken and Vegetable Vermicelli Bowl - Lang Restaurant

Lang Restaurant

Lang Restaurant in Reading, PA

When I started the blog in 2014, my experience with Asian cuisine was limited to General Tso’s chicken and other Americanized Chinese foods.

That’s why my first trip to Hong Thanh in Wyomissing was so eye-opening. It was my first taste of Vietnamese cuisine and my first time enjoying an authentic, composed dish (read: something that wasn’t chicken in sauce over rice).

Lang Restaurant in Reading, PA

Hong Thanh was originally located in downtown Reading. Some Sundays after church, Julie and I would drive past the old restaurant. The Hong Thanh name was still written on the window. It looked untouched from the time the restaurant moved to Wyomissing until the day it was announced it was moving back into the city with a new name, Lang Restaurant.

Julie and I visited on a Wednesday evening (the restaurant is open evenings only, Wednesday through Sunday) and were one of just two couples in the restaurant. Two more groups and a few take-out customers came through during our time, but it was definitely a quiet night.

Lang Restaurant in Reading, PA

The dining room is beautiful – a little modern and a little classic, Asian-influenced without being kitschy. It felt like a downtown dining destination should feel like. Only a closer inspection, on the long walk to the men’s room, reveals the plywood wall behind the hostess counter that separates the finished dining area from the rest of the building.

We started our meal with the shredded pork roll – pork wrapped in rice paper with lettuce and peanuts served with Lang dipping sauce.

Shredded Pork Rolls - Lang Restaurant

These were a great start to the meal. The roll itself was very good, if a little chewy, but mixed with the Lang sauce, it took it to another level.

Lang sauce is the house fish sauce, a little spicy with sweet and salty notes. You can see the red pepper flakes, you can taste the ginger. It’s a simple sauce that made the rolls go down easy.

We hadn’t quite finished our appetizers when the entrees arrived. Giant entrees. Entrees big enough to be shared.

Chicken and Vegetable Vermicelli Bowl - Lang Restaurant

I had ordered the grilled chicken and rice vermicelli bowl. On top of the vermicelli noodles were piles of grilled chicken, carrots, snow peas, bean sprouts, broccoli, pickled carrot, and crushed peanuts.

The ingredients were fresh and well-prepared, but it was the Lang sauce that made it a meal. I dipped my fork in the sauce (sadly, I don’t think I will ever be able to properly use chopsticks) before picking up a forkful of the vegetables, chicken or rice noodles. I wanted to make sure that every bite had a little of that delicious sauce.

The meal was painstakingly slow to eat, not because of the dipping, but because all of the vegetables were cooked to al dante. That meant small bites and lots of chewing, but it was worth it to savor such a fine dish.

Crispy Noodle Stir Fry - Lang Restaurant

Julie had a very different noodle dish, the house special crispy lo mein.

Instead of the traditional boiled noodles, the dish featured deep-fried egg noodles with shrimp, chicken, pork and a vegetable medley (red onion, water chestnut, broccoli, green beans and more), stir fried in “brown sauce.”

Crispy Noodle Stir Fry - Lang Restaurant

Brown sauce is typically a combination of soy sauce, broth and other ingredients. It didn’t cover every noodle, but that was just fine as the noodles were very good on their own. Julie also appreciated the fact that the dish came with three different meats because it meant that she didn’t have to choose.

For both of us, more than half of our entrees went home with us for later. Julie was impressed that her noodles remained somewhat crispy even through the reheating process.

As tempting as Vietnamese banana cake and steamed coconut cups sounded, dessert was not in the cards.

Our total at the end of the meal was about $45, which also included a glass of fresh limeade for Julie.

We also spent $2 for parking at the Reed and Court Street Garage ($2 for one hour, and we made it from entry to exit in 58 minutes).

During our meal, we saw co-owner and restaurant namesake Lang Huynh come out and survey the room, the sign of someone dedicated to their craft.

He never approached our table, but if he had, I’d say the same thing I’m saying here. My compliments to the chef.

BCE Rating
Food: Excellent
Ambiance: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Value: Reasonable

Lang Restaurant
22 N. Sixth Street
Reading, PA 19601

Lang Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Asian & Pacific Islands Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Zhuang’s Garden

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.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Zhuang’s Garden
2834 Penn Ave
West Lawn, PA 19609

Zhuang's Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Asian & Pacific Islands Lunch & Dinner Reviews