Hunan Chef fails to impress

Hunan Chef fails to impress

Collin Hoofnagle

Hunan Chef's chicken and fried rice was tasteless.

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I didn’t have high expectations walking into Bel Air’s Hunan Chef. There has to be a reason why the place is constantly empty. As I found out, it’s not just because Fuji Sushi is located right next door.

The reason that no one is there is plain and simple: the food is awful.

Never mind the tired and dated atmosphere or the unfriendly waitress mumbling broken English. I’m willing to deal with those in return for satisfying Chinese food.

The lunch menu was arranged according to price, with entrees costing about $5.00. All lunches come with hot tea and your choice of soup. The prices were extremely impressive, but it made me wonder why the place was so empty if the restaurant provided food for such great prices?

Again, it’s the food. I ordered shrimp fried rice with wonton soup. The wonton soup tasted fine, nothing that differentiates it from others. Perhaps there’s just one recipe that all Chinese restaurants follow.

The shrimp fried rice came out lightning fast, but looked less than appetizing. Also, the portion was tiny. Sure it was lunch and the price was cheap, but the portion just wasn’t satisfying.

Neither was the taste. The fried rice was bland. Not delicious, but not repulsive. The shrimp were tiny and not even pink. I couldn’t tell whether they were sitting in the fridge for two weeks or they were just undercooked. Either way, they contributed little to the dish.

Compared to the other food I ordered, the shrimp fried rice tasted heavenly. My lunch was served with a large fried eggroll, which looked promising. Unfortunately, it was full of grease and offered little flavor.

My friend’s lunch consisted of General Tso’s chicken along with plain fried rice. The chicken was heavily fried and tasted more like a piece of deep fried chicken wing coated in General Tso’s sauce. The fried rice accompanying the chicken was tasteless.

The only redeeming quality about the meal was the price. The total cost for both meals was just $9.44. There are few places in Bel Air that offer lunch for two at that price, yet there are also many places in Bel Air where the food is enjoyable and presented in reasonable portions.

Both the terrible quality and quantity of the food forced me to supplement my lunch at Hunan Chef with a trip to Qdoba.

If you’re looking for a quick lunch that’s cheap, according both to the price and quality of the food, then head to Hunan Chef. But just like I did, you’ll probably have to supplement your meal with real food afterwards.

Hunan Chef fails to impress, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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