Whenever I get “homesick” for LA, there are two things I crave – a burrito bowl from Chipotle or Chinese take-out in those paper containers. While I doubt Chipotle will every open here, I’ve finally found my Thursday night, Chinese fix that I can leave my heels behind and visit in sweats and sneakers!
Chop Suey is probably not something I would have discovered organically, for its first (and currently only) branch is located on Jumeirah Beach Road in Beach Park Plaza (shortly after Emirates Hospital in the same building as Fitness First and Samad al Iraqi). From the outside it looks like a quiet restaurant that’s been in Dubai for a long time but it’s actually a new, homegrown gem by two female mom-entrepreneurs, Diana Debley and Dina Spahi-Rifai. Similar to me, they struggled to find a California-style Chinese restaurant with a casual atmosphere and decided to take matters into their own hands and opened up Chop Suey earlier this year!
What I loved about Chop Suey (apart from the food of course) were the details. Clearly the fact that this is Diana and Dina’s personal venture shows. A few things that caught my eye:
- The menu – no more confusing the waiter! Mark down your choices, rip off the strip and hand your order to the waiter.
- No MSG – Dina has a gluten-intolerance so Chop Suey has made an effort to completely get rid of MSG from the menu, which means no more post-dinner bloating.
- Takeout – Chop Suey has the “traditional” white paper takeaway boxes that you can eat from directly. They also do special “party packs” which are perfect if you’re hosting an impromptu ladies night.
And the food! My mouth is salivating as I think about the tasting menu. For starters, the prawn toast and wontons are a must-try and the steamed dim sum are perfect to kick off your meal. For the main course, you have to try the shredded crispy duck served with pancakes and plum sauce, while for dessert the traditional black sticky rice pudding (which has a red bean flavor) make great highlights. But my pick of the menu has to be the crispy mixed mushrooms Manchurian style that will be loved by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!
If I have one complaint about Chop Suey is the location – I rarely get down to Jumeirah and the delivery radius is limited to Jumeirah, Business Bay, Al Safa and the west of Sheikh Zayed Road. But I’m sure I’ll be making my way down for those mushrooms often enough!
What: Chop Suey
Why: Casual California-style Chinese food
Where: Beach Park Plaza, Ground Floor, Beach Road
How much: AED 150 for 2 persons (no alcohol)
Pros: MSG-free, gourmet food at casual prices
Cons: Location, unless you live in Jumeirah
Rating: 4.5 stars
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