Da Chen Chinese Restaurant

I’ve been bemoaning the lack of classic Cantonese restaurants in the Philadelphia region on here, but there is a place that is only about 15 minutes from me that fits the bill pretty well. The lack of foil-wrapped chicken on their menu takes a little of the luster off from my perspective, and I was not happy with their Shrimp with Lobster Sauce the last time I ordered takeout from them. But I decided to give them another shot today for lunch with another friend and former colleague, and am glad I did. 

Da Chen of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, which is a southwestern suburb of Philly, has the right look for an old-school 70s-80s style Chinese restaurant and – the foil-wrapped chicken notwithstanding – the menu to match. 

Da Chen of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania

I was very pleased that we were presented with crispy noodles, duck sauce and a pot of tea almost as soon as we sat down at our table.  That was standard when I was growing up, but is less common nowadays.

Not as standard as it used to be.

Our lunch platters included soup. My dining partner, Pete, went with hot-and-sour, while I opted for wonton. Although you can’t see them in the photo, there were a few strips of roast pork in there; something else that was more common in the days of yore.

Hot-and-Sour Soup
Wonton Soup

One of the main reasons I decided to eat at Da Chen today was my craving for an old-school PuPu Platter. I was a little skeptical that it would be presented in classic fashion with a hibachi in the center. I needn’t have been. I always get a kick out of heating my beef-stick over the flame.

I’m posting a separate photo of the shrimp toast that was included as a hat-tip to my friend and frequent blog commenter, Brad. He is the biggest shrimp toast fan I know. 

If there was one disappointing aspect to the PuPu Platter, it was that it included spring rolls instead of egg rolls. I have a strong preference for the latter.

Nothing scream old-school Chinese like a PuPu Platter served in one of these wooden trays with a hibachi in the center.
Shrimp Toast; for Brad

As if that wasn’t enough of an appetizer selection, Pete also ordered fried dumplings. I tried one and have to say I’m glad he got them. 

Excellent Fried Dumplings

We each ordered old-school entrees. Pete’s was General Tso’s Chicken, while I had Sweet & Sour Shrimp. The sauce was excellent. As is often the case, the shrimp were small compared to the breading that encased them. I enjoyed the dish nonetheless. 

General Tso’s Chicken
Sweet & Sour Shrimp

We were mighty stuffed by the time we finished our entrees, but there is always room for fortune cookies.

After having written Da Chen off for a few years following the bad takeout experience I alluded to previously, I’m now very happy to have them as a nearby option. They haven’t seen the last of me.

Published by BZ Maestro

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4 thoughts on “Da Chen Chinese Restaurant

  1. Shrimp toast rules! Da Chen’s pupu platter looks very much like the ones I see here in the Midwest, with the rolls, beef skewers, and crab rangoons. The firepot differs from the kettle-shaped ones I’m familiar with, and judging by the blue flame it puts out enough heat to require the grate to be foil-wrapped for protection.

    Hopefully the shrimp toast wasn’t too greasy; it seems like that’s often the case with inferior versions.

    Liked by 1 person

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