Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to a lot of Asian cuisines but nothing beats some good ol' fashion Chinese food, especially in San Jose. Per my last "Best Chinese Restaurants in San Jose" article, I was recommended some Chinese restaurants by readers so I decided to check them out and experience it for myself.
Credit: @mixboy510510 on Instagram
The first restaurant I decided to try was Chef Li because someone vouched this was one of the best in San Jose. The first thing I noticed when entering the restaurant was their decor. They obviously put a lot of thought into make the dining experience better than most, which is appreciated. Nowadays, I try to find Chinese restaurants with a good vegetarian option as well ever since my mom turned vegetarian and this place's vegetarian options do not miss! We tried the tangerine tofu and it tasted really good. The flavor and the moisture was all there. We ordered a few meat dishes as well like the Mongolian beef and the sesame chicken, both hit the spot! This might be one of the top favorite Chinese places in San Jose.
What I recommend: Mongolian beef & vegetarian options
Location: 2033 Camden Ave San Jose, CA 95124
Credit: @bayarea.foodies on Instagram
One of my dream restaurants has always been to open up a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant and at China Chen, they accomplished just that. The combo of eating Chinese food while munching on some Vietnamese appetizers is something I've only imagined. At China Chen, I tried their famous wonton noodle soup that everyone raves about. I love that they make their wontons in house and pack it with so much flavors. And the broth? It's definitely something I would write home about. No MSG so it doesn't leave you thirsty and craving for 3 glasses of iced water. Other than the wonton noodle soup, I got to try their banh bot flour cakes, which is a vietnamese dish that tastes like a savory flour cake. Very delectable and goes well with your wonton noodle soup. This is my future go-to when I want Chinese and Vietnamese food in the same meal but can't decide which place to visit.
What I recommend: Wonton noodle soup & Vietnamese dishes (try the banh bot flour cakes)
Location: 400 S 3rd St San Jose, CA 95112
Credit: Russ V on Yelp
Jade Garden has been recommended to me by a lot of San Jose foodies and I can see why. Their portions are huge and they are a small family owned business which means they will try and give you the best customer service every time. I got to try their walnut prawns and I'm so glad they're generous when it comes to the prawns. Nowadays, the Chinese restaurants we go to, they only give a few pieces of prawns but charge around $10 for the dish. Here, they give around 10 pieces which is very generous and they're not small either. They're pretty big for what we're normally used to. Also, we got an order of chow fun and in my experience, chow fun needs to be oily in order for it to taste perfect and the place made it perfect. It wasn't dripping in oil but it wasn't dry. The beef was outstandingly cooked and not too gamey. I was able to enjoy the authentic dishes without needing iced water because there's not much MSG that goes into their dishes. 10/10 would recommend this restaurant.
What I recommend: Walnut prawns & chow fun
Location: 3479 McKee Rd San Jose, CA 95127
No disrespect to anyone who actually likes Panda Express but if you're in the South Bay and especially San Jose, there should be no reason why you would opt for a fast food Chinese restaurant that serves mediocre at best Chinese food. I compiled this list for those who don't know that there's more options than just Panda Express and I hope I can change your minds. I will be taking more recommendations on which restaurants to try next and continue to write about it so more people will be informed!