Chinese food may seem like it comes from the same place of origin, but it certainly doesn’t all taste the same. I tested out where to find the best egg rolls in town from three different places– China Star, Garden Buffet, and Hy-Vee Chinese.
China Star is a quaint little restaurant on the outskirts of the Square. It’s decorated like a traditional Chinese restaurant, in that there are a lot of small pictures of Chinese art with a couple of small plasma screens displaying a Chinese movie. The atmosphere looked very cheap and felt unclean. The service was very prompt but the server spoke very little English.
When the egg rolls arrived, they were fresh, hot and smelled great. They had a very distinct fresh vegetable taste, including carrots and cabbage. The filling also had a lot of meat. I wasn’t sure what sort of meat was in it, but it was seasoned. The outside of the egg roll was very crunchy but a little softer in the middle. The price for two egg rolls was $1.96 and definitely worth it.
The next stop was the Garden Buffet located off Jefferson Street. Walking in, there were a large number of tables and then buffet tables set up in the back. There were very few decorations on the walls and the atmosphere felt very “Americanized” and cold. It also looked and felt very unclean.
The service was prompt and I was given a weird look when all I wanted to order were two egg rolls. When I received my order, they were not very warm, and I could tell they had been sitting for a while. They tasted very stale. There was more meat visible and a very strong taste. The only vegetable in them was cabbage. The crust was very tough and not very crunchy. For $1.60, I would pass the next time on their egg rolls.
The final stop was Hy-Vee Chinese, also off Jefferson Street. The atmosphere was very “Americanized” as well as a grocery store. There are an assortment of entrees and sides, including egg rolls. The service was slow. The food also tasted “Americanized”. The egg roll was twice the size of the egg rolls at the other establishments and it tasted very greasy, almost fake. There was very little meat and lots of cabbage. The crust was very flaky but that was the only good part about it. For $1.05, pass on this side option.
Overall, the China Star had the best egg roll by far. Served hot, and filled with actual fresh vegetables and meat, there’s no comparison to the other restaurants. Although I wouldn’t recommend sitting and eating there, delivery is probably going to be your best option. So the next time you’re feeling like oriental food, call the China Star.