Xin’s Chinese Cuisine: Duluth, GA 30097
I got to experience my first official YELP UYE here courtesy of D.B. at a small Chinese restaurant about 15 minutes away from where I live. I drive past this strip at least once a week and for some reason I just never looked to see what was in it. I’m glad D.B. decided to host a lunch here because I never would have even known it existed to eat here! Two tables split the group into a larger group of 8 and a smaller group of 4. I liked our smaller table even though it meant we couldn’t order as many things. However what we did order included:
- spicy Szechuan fish fillet
- stuffed eggplant in garlic sauce
- twice-cooked pork
One of the harder things was figuring out what the dishes were with the pictures that were floating on the screen. Unfortunately my Chinese is god-awful and I couldn’t figure out what some of the dishes consisted of. We initially thought that the twice cooked pork was the braised pork belly with preserved vegetables. While this doesn’t have to be cooked twice, most of the times in preparation, we do cook the pork belly twice.
Twice Cooked Pork: slices of pork belly marinated and then appears to be seared in a hot pan with leek and green onion. I’m not sure what the second cooking would be.
- great amount of meat for four people: we couldn’t even finish it
- amazing flavor. It’s not salty, it’s not sweet. I want to say that it’s marinated in some type of cooking wine but I can’t be sure
- personally I like it better than korean-style pork belly (sang gyup sal) off kbbq. In part, there is way more flavor here. The cuts are even and not too thick. It’s got some nice little tiny bits of burn to it as well.
- meat seemed a little too dry in some pieces. Maybe it was left on the pan for too long or on a hotter side of the wok?
- not enough char on some pieces. So the good thing about korean bbq is that you can control how long your meat sears on the grill. Can’t really do that here.
- slightly too oily. It would be good if they blotted off the dish a little bit but this takes a lot of time that they probably can’t afford to do during the lunch or dinner hour.
Spicy Szechuan Fish Fillet: breaded fish fillet tossed and served with a seasoning that has those special mouth-numbing (literally numbing) Szechuan peppercorns.
- HUGE amount of food. Unbelievably huge
- Great flavors, if you don’t mind having your mouth numb. It’s not overly salty either which can happen at some other restaurants
- Not very spicy. This is coming from someone who used to be able to eat a lot of spicy foods and now tries to stay away from it due to bad GI issues. I blame my stress-induced gastritis for that. This dish however, isn’t really spicy at all. In fact, it is more numbing than spicy. For those of you who haven’t tried it and hate the feeling of when you go to the dentist, this dish is NOT for you.
Stuffed Eggplant: Eggplant “sandwiches” are stuffed with minced pork, breaded, and then deep fried. Then they are served with what I think is a sweet-sour garlic sauce.
- eggplant was super stuffed. They weren’t stingy with the filling at all.
- sauce was not overwhelming. Sometimes the sauce can be more than the food itself. In addition, it wasn’t really spicy either. I’ve had some serious spicy stuff and this doesn’t even come close to that kind of spice level. Garlic can give off some heat though.
- this wasn’t really a con but if the later pieces of eggplant aren’t eaten right away, the breading can get a little soggy from sitting in the sauce. It didn’t really bother us too much though.
- eggplant itself doesn’t have much flavor and so I honestly didn’t feel like the pieces had too much flavor. Maybe if the meat was marinated a little bit more it may have been better.
The restaurant is a bit small, but the server is super friendly. I believe it is a family-operated joint with roots from Beijing, China. They were really polite and really attentive. The food came out relatively fast even when the restaurant picked up speed later on in the lunch hour. It’s a bit difficult to do a party of twelve. I’d say the biggest party that could work would be 8. Then again, it makes for the perfect size to have good conversation and good food to share as well. In summary:
- twice-cooked pork: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
- spicy Szechuan fish fillet: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
- stuffed eggplant: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
Xin’s Chinese Cuisine is located in the little strip right next to the QT gas station at the intersection of North Berkeley Lake Road and Buford Highway. It’s not too hard to find and is a really good place for all of those OTP (outside of the perimeter) to get a good Chinese meal.