Sunday, April 25, 2010

The name says it: Food's good, food's good

The name outside of a restaurant can mean a lot, as it can direct potential customers inside. At Ho Ho Kitchen, the name doesn't only indicate the food is Chinese. It actually means the food there is very good.

"In Chinese, ho means it's good," says manager Carol Zhanz, who has been working for the past 10 years at the restaurant, which is owned by her brother. "Ho ho is like, very good, so that's why we kept this name. I think we will keep it forever."

Her family has owned the restaurant for about half of its lifetime.

"The restaurant is maybe, I think, 30 years (old)," Zhanz says, "so we had it about 15 years."

Nestled in the side end of the Chester Springs Shopping Center — where its sign is beneath an unrelated one that says "Travel" — Ho Ho Kitchen sits across from the Clearview movie theater and has a frequent clientele of fans.

"What is popular here is General Tso's chicken, chicken and broccoli and sweet and sour chicken," Zhanz says, "And our people (also) like steamed dumpling. The people call it a pot sticker. It's very popular in the restaurant."

Also very popular are the healthy options found on the diet section of the menu. Steamed mixed vegetables or broccoli, steamed chicken with string beans and steamed shrimp with broccoli or other vegetables are available for very low prices.

"A lot of people like healthy food," Zhanz says, mentioning a dish of steamed vegetables served with brown rice. "A lot of people like the brown rice. Some people might not like it fried, so they'll get it brown."

Her family comes from China, says Zhanz, adding the family finds Chester "really nice." There are some differences between American Chinese food and the food in China, she said.

For example, in China, meats such as chicken and fish are not usually de-boned before serving, she said.

"Here, we buy chicken from a company, and they take the skin off, take the bone off, and then we cook it," she said.

The restaurant also has regular specials to liven up the familiar menu.

"We have a special, Thai-style shrimp. That's very good, and it's very popular, too," she said.

The shrimp has a strong, garlic flavor, she said.

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