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- Gloucester County Times Review of Mandarin Court!
- Mandarin Court
You say you gotta go to Philly? No more. Asian foods we once found only in Chinatown now perfumes Gloucester County with teasing exotic aromas. One of the recent keep'em here restaurants is the Mandarin Court Chinese Restaurant in Timberline Shopping Center in Sewell.
Going beyond usual Chinese fare (usually appreciated by its devotees) Mandarin Court brings to the table its Sunday Dim Sum carts and for the purists, Sushi and Sashimi. How's that for no-parking-meters Sewell?
While accommodating take-outs, Mandarin Court greets sit down diners in fine tablecloth ambiance where they can choose to lean on the sushi bar or amble over to a table. The mandatory black and red print menus belie dishes presented with an extra touch of presentation and finesse that elevates one fo the world's already great foods.
Most of us already are aware of the extensive training sashimi (raw fish) chefs must undergo to have knowledge of all manner of seafood and related items prepped for sushi, which uses flavored boiled rice. Mei Yeung, co-owner, said that few understand the skills required for preparing dim sum, so on Sunday they bring in chefs trained in that art.
Dim Sum, (means touch the heart) were onced served on stacks of bamboo steamers, now are served in carts with built in warmers. Dating back hundreds of years, the customs began in agricultural China after day-long labors were relaxed and rewarded with pots of tea and servings of dim sum.
Today's dim-summers can mark their Sunday calendars to head over to the Mandarin Court to indulge in samplings from dozens of dumplings, rolls and savories that stroll by their tables. Prowess with chop sticks might lend credencd to the experience, yet knives and forks do no harm.
Current Chef Jacky Yang, now in his thirties, began training at the age of 21 in Hong Kong, well known at the high point of Asian cookery. What pleases him the most? "When I am invited out of the kitchen to receive the applause of the customers," he said through Mei Yeung acting as his interpreter. It's clear food is an international language.
When asked of their signature dish, both Yeung and Yang agreed that General Tso's Chicken draws the most praise. "We prepare the dish with the freshest of ingredients, and in a special way, we use chestnut flour to coat the chicken, which makes it crisper to start with and stays that way longer," Yang said in Chinese. Mei Yeung stepped in to suggest Thai Basil Chicken as another customer favorite with the spicy, clove powered flavor that Thai basil contributes compared to Italian basil.
Forget your roll of parking meter quarters. Cruise along Woodbury-Glassboro Rd. to take in your chopstick favorite. Watch out for those asterisks, though (notating spicy hot).
- Tips on Dim Sun: Select your tea first, then look over the dim sum card which lists prices and is marked for each item consumed.
- Tips on Sashimi: Known for the predominance of raw fish, Chef Jacky Yang reminds us that up to 40 percent are actually cooked fish, so the wary can start with them.
- Tips on General Dining: Come with a family or group and order a variety of dishes to share, just as is the Chinese custom.