Three other dishes showed off the various takes on classic brown sauce available at China Taste. Kung pao chicken added a mild but persistent heat with its dried chilis. Specks of pepper clung to the meat, while big pieces of carrot, cabbage broccoli stalk, and green pepper, along with the peanuts, added crunch. The vegetarian delight starts with a similar base sauce, but with a bit less of both sugar and heat. This allows the savory notes of mushrooms, cabbage, and especially big chewy-soft pieces of bean curd to predominate. Broccoli, carrot, baby corn, and peapods round out the dish. The Szechuan spicy chicken is a close cousin to the kung pao, but with much bigger slices of chicken breast, and a different mix of veggies — notably big crunchy pieces of celery stalk and soft broccoli florets.
China Taste's best gesture toward tradition might be its huge servings for less than $10. Prices for ethnic food have crept up, but at China Taste it is like the 1990s. For buffet prices you get something much better, and something comforting rather than disturbing.
Brian Duff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHINA TASTE 1223 Washington Ave, Portland | Sun-Thurs 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-11 pm | Visa/MC/Disc | 207.878.1388
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