China Gourmet’s owner Amy Jang brings a personal touch to our dining experience, while husband and chef Owen Jang offers fabulous often unexplored and overlooked authentic Chinese Cuisine.
The old adage “Home is where the heart is” rings true for China Gourmet owners Amy and Owen Jang. Over the thirteen years the Jang family has called Central Georgia their home, Amy and Owen have watched their customers’ children grow up and have come to view their clientele as true friends and Macon as a real home.
The success of the Jangs’ family-owned restaurant owes itself to the good food prepared by Owen, coupled with Amy’s ability to establish a wonderful rapport with customers. “I always dreamed of having a restaurant of my own, a place that would reflect my personality and encompass all of the things I enjoy, like music, art, and food from my native region of Taiwan,” Amy said.
Amy has indeed created a restaurant that reflects her passions. You are likely to hear her playing a stringed instrument, the zheng, at the restaurant on occasion. In addition, every Friday night customers enjoy dining while listening to pianist Tom Ridgeway tickle the keys of the restaurant’s Wurlitzer baby grand piano.
The delicate flower painting on rice paper that hangs behind the piano serves as an example of Amy’s love for Chinese calligraphy. Intricate Origami creations by Jang’s mother abound in the periphery of the dining room. This Asian decor melds easily with the western Tiffany-style lighting and the large crystal chandelier looming over the piano.
China Gourmet is nestled in a plaza along Arkwright Road, a bit further down the road from chain-restaurant giants Carrabbas and Outback Steak House.
China Gourmet offers a host of appetizers and entrées from a variety of China’s regions. With Mandarin, Szechuan, Hunan Shanghai, and Cantonese cuisine, diners are sure to find something that suits their tastes. My husband, Ken, and I are regulars at the restaurant, so we have sampled many different appetizers and entrées. We consider ourselves adventurous diners and therefore generally steer clear of highly Americanized Chinese dishes.
If you are tired of eating the typical American choice—Sweet and Sour—but you’re still a bit timid about Chinese cuisine, I highly recommend trying the Moo Sho Pork, which can also be had with chicken. The plum sauce offers a taste of sweetness without being overwhelmingly syrupy. The dish is distinctive, yet delicate, and melds well with the pork and vegetable mixture that is tucked into “pancakes”. This roll can then be picked up with your hands or eaten with a fork. An order is made up of four rolls—plenty to share.
If you are adventurous and love spicy food, Bean Curd Szechuan Style with Pork makes an excellent choice. The title is a bit deceptive: Essentially, the dish is a mixture of tofu, ground pork, green peas, and carrots in a thick and extremely spicy brown sauce. Served over a bed of steamed rice, this option allows non-vegetarians to reap the health benefits of eating soy (tofu). The tofu is delicious in this extremely flavorful dish.
For those who enjoy delicate flavors I encourage trying the Ginger Chicken in Sesame Oil. I never thought I’d like this option since I’m not crazy about ginger, but I gave it a try, and it is now my favorite dish! The ginger flavor is very subdued, probably partly because the abundance of shiitake mushrooms helps temper the ordinarily robust ginger flavor. The smokiness of the shiitakes blends nicely with the nutty taste of the sesame oil, and a more unusual variety of bamboo shoot can also be found in the dish. The bamboo shoots create a nice variety, balancing the meaty consistency of the shiitakes with a great crunchy texture.
As for appetizers, I often order the Steamed Pork Dumplings, but it’s rare that I ever leave without an egg roll. After all, who can resist slathering a fried pastry in duck sauce? It’s easy to rationalize it by saying, “So what? It’s full of vegetables!” Generally speaking, Chinese food is quite healthy, as it is not often fried, and the meat is frequently paired with vegetables. But if you are on a strict diet, Chinese Gourmet also offers a menu section titled “Weight Watcher Specials.” These specials are all steamed. Some are just vegetables; others are combinations of veggies with chicken or seafood. For staunch vegetarians there are twelve different selections that are comprised strictly of vegetables as well as at least five additional entrées containing tofu.
Aside from the restaurant’s generally friendly ambiance, China Gourmet is also child-friendly. This is always a plus for families with parents who cannot or do not want to always leave their children with sitters. Special child seats are available, and children aged nine and under can order one of the three children’s platters. Personally, I like to encourage children to be adventurous and try new foods, but the platters are available if you are sure they won’t like your adult choices. Selections like Sweet and Sour Chicken or Shrimp and Chicken Teriyaki generally go over well with young children. All of the platters, except for the shrimp, are served with an egg roll and fried rice.
As an added convenience, China Gourmet accepts call-in orders for take-out. If you are anything like me, there are evenings when you just want to spend the end of the day at home, but you are just too busy or tired to cook. In such cases, China Gourmet’s take-out is the perfect solution, especially since China Gourmet is open seven days a week.
Do you think Amy and Owen ever get tired? Well, you’d hardly guess it with Amy’s ever-exuberant and charming personality, which combines nicely with Owen’s fabulous ability to keep churning out terrific authentic Chinese dishes!
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Price Range: Lunch Specials from $4.50–$5.45 | Entrées range from $6.50–$24
- Alcohol: A moderate selection of domestic and imported wine and beer are available
- Child Provisions: Children 9 and under may order one of the children’s platters that range from $4.25–$4.95. Booster Seats and high chairs are also available.
- Extras: Off site catering is available as well as special on site accommodations for banquets and private parties.
- Hours: Monday–Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
3975 Arkwright Road
Macon, Georgia 31210