CINCINNATI -- Mmm. Chinese food.
Whether you're looking for authentic stuff or a more Americanized version (General Tso's chicken, anyone?), Cincinnati has you covered. In fact, Yahoo! says one of the best Chinese restaurants is right here in Covington.
Here are WCPO's Top 9 Chinese restaurants — and yes, some of them deliver.
KungFood Chu's AmerAsia (Covington): Included in the Yahoo! list of best Chinese restaurants in America, AmerAsia is a Chinese restaurant meets crazy kung fu movie set. It's known for super-hot food: If you order a level 10, they bring it out while wearing a breathing mask. $5.50 lunch specials, craft beer and a good sense of humor make this a place you must check out. Favorite dish? Dragon breath wontons.
Szechuan Garden Bistro (Fort Mitchell): Alex Chin, a longtime, standout local Chinese restaurant proprietor, took over a mediocre local Chinese restaurant and has changed it into something a little less ordinary. Try the Peking duck or pork belly, both served with steamed buns.
King Wok (Clifton): Fish tanks in the back, a killer lunch special and Sunday dim sum has made King Wok a University of Cincinnati campus classic. They deliver to Clifton-area neighborhoods as well. My standard order? Combo lo-mein, General Tso's chicken and crab rangoon.
Yum Yum (Downtown): You know that restaurant on Race Street that doesn't look open? It is open — only for limited hours on limited days — and you simply must try it. Yum Yum feels like a throwback to the '70s, complete with customer photos tacked on the wall that look like they might have been my parents. (I'll need to look more closely next time.) It's a two-person operation, run by a husband-and-wife team. Don't skip the Ding Dong chicken, in a flavorful brown sauce served with crisp, fresh vegetables, or the aromatic beef. If you don't want to eat there, the restaurant does a robust takeout business to Downtown residents and workers taking some of this delicious Chinese food home.
Shanghai Mama's (Downtown): How many late nights out end at Shanghai Mama's? Quite a few. It's been a Downtown mainstay for the better part of a decade, and for good reason: tempura shrimp, shanghai noodles and mu shu pork wraps are a fun twist on Chinese food (and delicious, too). Workers serve until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making Shanghai Mama's one of Downtown's latest open kitchens.
Uncle Yip's (Sharonville): Do you love the dim sum cart? Uncle Yip's has it. From steamed pork buns to house-made shu mai to chicken feet, Uncle Yip's serves dim sum all week long, with special items (such as shrimp and pork puffs and baked pineapple buns) available only on weekends. All dim sum is $3.50 per serving and yes, you can point to what you'd like on the cart.
Sichuan Bistro (Mason): Occasionally, you'll see a waft of smoke coming from a server's hands, as he or she delivers some sizzling beef that will make your eyes water. This is the real deal, folks — Sichuan cooking with both heat and depth of flavor. Tea-smoked duck, spicy ma po tofu (great for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike) and dry chili chicken are all standouts. There's an American menu — but why bother? The authentic menu is so good.
Oriental Wok (Hyde Park, Fort Mitchell): The grandaddy of Chinese food in Cincinnati is definitely Mike Wong. His two restaurants, in Hyde Park and Fort Mitchell, are big and opulent — just like Wong's personality. General Wong's Chicken (his own play on the famous General Tso's) is a local favorite, and there's also a Chinese home-cooking menu and a menu for kids, too. This is one restaurant where you truly feel treated like family. If Wong is in the building, he always visits your table. Oriental Wok also does catering and sells bottled sauces at Kroger, Remke and other supermarkets in the area.
Chan's Asian Wok (Mason, Cold Spring): Not too far from Sichuan Bistro is Chan's Asian Wok, which has a much more Americanized — but still delicious — menu. (If you don't make it up to Mason, there's another location in Cold Spring.) The lunch specials — $5 for an entree and rice — are fresh, delicious and not nearly as heavy or sweet as competing hole-in-the-wall, Americanized Chinese places. Fill up your punch card, and you get one for free. Try the Kung Pao chicken or their vegetarian dishes.