iowa: szechuan house & 888 restaurant (ames)

For such a small city like Ames, the number of Chinese restaurants is actually quite large. Even better, these restaurants are probably some of the most authentic Chinese places I’ve been to here in the U.S. (of course, outside those in Chinatown). Back in College Station, we have a few Chinese restaurants, but most either cater towards more Westernized tastes or are just lacking in quality.

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szechuan house

Here in Ames though, I’ve able to find two high-quality, reasonably-priced Chinese restaurants around. The first one, called Szechuan House, is located across the street from the HyVee on Lincoln Way. Their fried rice and the eggplant with garlic sauce is definitely some of the best I’ve had in a long time, and a few days later we stopped by to go try their hot pot. The five of us were able to finish the hot pot (which you could choose four meats, four vegetables, and add on any additional food, and a base). The spicy broth was surprisingly not too spicy, and it was quite fun to cook our own food in the hot pot (albeit it was a hot day, so leaving the restaurant all sweaty wasn’t a particularly good idea).

888 restaurant is another Chinese nearby; although it’s much smaller than Szechuan House, the food here is still fairly good for the price. I will say though, it’s not quite at the same level of Szechuan; something about the taste just isn’t *quite* there. We ordered the eggplant, fried rice, and teriyaki beef, all of which lacked a little compared to Szechuan. All in all though, you get what you pay for at each restaurant, so if you’re looking for something cheap and convenient, 888 is the place to go. But for a more sit-down, authentic experience, I’d recommend Szechuan House.

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