5555 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92807
It had been well over a year since we had Chinese food for the blog. Yes, I had to look it up, it had been that long. Both Katie and I have been craving some good Chinese food, but we live in an area where it's hard to come by. There's a fast food style joint by our place, but it's not that good, and we have grown tired of it. Lucky for us, we were invited to try Spicy City in Anaheim Hills, so we would definitely get to satisfy our Chinese food cravings.
Spicy City is located in Anaheim Hills, across the street from the Automobile Club, and in the same shopping plaza where one of my favorite cookies hails from, Campitelli's. I grew up in this area, and this is one of those restaurants that has probably been a good dozen restaurants in this same building. The building has been here 30 years, but Spicy City recently took over just over a year ago. They have another location in Irvine, which we hear gets quite busy. This location had its fair share of customers when we arrived at 7pm on a recent Wednesday, and that continued during our one hour stay.
The interior of Spicy City is bright and lively. Lots of splashes of the color red, which symbolizes good luck and fortune in China. There are also numerous well maintained fish tanks throughout the restaurant. You can tell that this is an older restaurant, as the wooden floor boards do creak a bit when walking on them. The booths were comfortable, and semi-private. The menu is large, with tons of American-Chinese favorites in the front of the menu, and more traditional, less western cuisines towards the back. The menu also features lunch specials and a variety of family dinners, which include soup, appetizers, and entrees. We wanted to try a wide array of items, so we just ordered off of the ala carte menu. There were some difficult choices, but we managed to make our picks. This is what we came up with.
Starting things off was this Pepper Beef ($13.99). One of my favorites of the night, this came with plenty of tender flank steak, onions, bell peppers, dry red chili, and a pepper-garlic sauce to top things off. The sauce here was not as sticky as at other Chinese restaurants. The sauce did not overpower, but let the natural flavor of the beef shine through. One of my favorite versions of this dish.
Another staple in Chinese restaurants is Combo Fried Rice ($8.99). This was a lighter version, which lacked greasiness, and still included shrimp, pork, and chicken. It was a more than ample serving size, and had plenty of pork and chicken in here, but it might have needed a little more shrimp, but I'm a shrimp fiend anyways. Another good version of a classic dish.
The lone misstep for me on this night was the Scallion Pancake ($3.99). Katie saw this on the menu, under the more traditional Asian specialties, and exclaimed that she had always wanted to try one. It was on the greasy side, and really lacked any kind of flavor. I did get a hint of scallion, but expected more. I had one slice of it, and let Katie have the rest of this.
My favorite item to get in a Chinese restaurant is Walnut Shrimp ($15.99), and at Spicy City, it's listed as one of their chef specials. I usually use this dish to judge how good a Chinese restaurant is, and after trying their version, I knew I was in for a treat the rest of the evening. The shrimp here were lightly battered, and topped with a sweet mayonnaise and honey sauce. I liked this plate because the sauce was not too thick, but it did not sacrifice flavor. The shrimp were pretty good sized, with plenty of walnuts that provided an earthiness. It's easy to see why this is one of their most mentioned plates online.
Another item that we ordered from the more traditionally Asian area of the menu, was this Shredded Pork with Peking Sauce and Lotus Buns ($12.99). Katie fell in love with this plate. I was almost jealous. I'd describe these as a build your own taco kind of thing. You take the doughy bun, and fill it with scallions and the sweetened strings of pork. I'm not really into the lotus buns, much too doughy for my tastes, but Katie was fond of them. I did like the pork though, and just ate it without the buns.
The last thing we tried on this night was the Orange Flavored Chicken ($11.99). This is way better than what they serve at Panda Express. All white meat chicken was lightly fried, and topped with a very well made tangerine sauce, that was sweet, but not overly so. I liked the nice crispness to this chicken, but the sauce still allowed the tender chicken to shine.
After we waved the white flag, and declared that we were done, they brought over these orange slices. We ate a lot of food at Spicy City, but the Chinese food here is not heavy like at other Chinese restaurants. Both Katie and I felt pretty good after all of this food that we ate. If you live in north OC, and are looking for some pretty solid Chinese food, you may want to try Spicy City. We are looking forward to trying their Irvine location when Chinese food cravings hit us again.
We would like to thank everyone at Spicy City for making our visit so enjoyable. We really felt welcomed, and could not have been happier with the service we received on this night. Most of this was due to our very personable server, Ken. He made sure we had everything we needed, and was very knowledgeable about the menu and the restaurant.
If you would like to learn more about Spicy City, visit their website here: http://www.spicycitygroup.com/