r By Kerry Morton
As a connoisseur of ham fried rice and having had Chinese food from Golden Tree, Mandarin Palace, New Dragon Diner, “Enjoy”, Panda Express & many other establishments, my wife and I decided to do a taste test comparison of Tsing Tao, and Hunan City in Payson.
Nearly identical orders were placed via phone to Tsing Tao and Hunan City minutes apart. Tsing Tsing Tao promised a carryout order in 10 minutes, and Hunan City in 15 minutes. Both orders were ready at the stated time. They are close together, so it was easy to get from one to the other in the allotted time. In fact, the Tsing Tao order was picked up (& ready) in nine minutes, and the Hunan City order was picked up at the 15-minute mark.
The Asian salad from Hunan City was all right, not exceptional. The Egg Drop soup from Tsing Tao was very good and included a few vegetables. Egg rolls were not comparable in size or price. The Hunan City rolls were longer, and not as hard to bite thru. Those from Tsing Tao were shorter but bigger around.
The pink sauce from Tsing Tao was much thicker and stayed on the egg rolls. Both tasted about the same. Thicker is easier to taste, and lingers, rather than dripping off.
Soy sauce was included in both orders, but three packets came with the order from Hunan City, and one packet of soy sauce and one of mustard came from Tsing Tao. Napkins and utensils came from Hunan and a straw was also in the bag. The fortune cookies were the identical brand in both orders. The fortunes were different.
The rice was similar, but Hunan City’s was darker, oilier, and smokier in flavor. The ham chunks were larger, and cut up fried egg was included. Tsing Tao ham fried rice was about the same as all the others we have had over the years, and spicier than Panda Express.
The Kung Pao Chicken was very different between the two places. Tsing Tao had larger pieces of chicken and vegetables.
Lemonade was included in the lunch special from Hunan, but the taste was off, even though it was a fountain drink.
Wait staff was more numerous at Tsing Tao (2), and the fish tank is a distraction while waiting in line. There was no line at either place, and only one customer was visible at Hunan City. Tsing Tao had a couple of customers at 2:30 p.m.
The price at Tsing Tao was $11.32, Hunan was $7.82 (the lunch special). Two extra egg rolls ($2.95) were purchased from Tsing Tao to make the orders almost identical. The taste test winner by a nose: Tsing Tao.