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Once upon a time, over 2500 years ago, the wok was invented during the Han dynasty in China. The word itself is derived from a Cantonese word that means “cooking pot”. It wasn’t until 1849, during California’s Gold Rush that Chinese food was brought to America. Chinese restaurants came and Chinese restaurants went. Sit down or take out. Americanized Chinese food was basically the same in every restaurant across the land. If you’ve seen one menu, you’ve seen them all. Authentic Chinese cuisine is fairly new and can be found in cosmopolitan areas, like New York’s Chinatown in Manhattan, and Flushing in Queens.
Fast-food chains have tried to destroy America’s health, with burgers, burgers, fries, (would you like to supersize your order?), chicken, and more burgers. Thankfully American tastes have evolved beyond the bun (unless it’s a Char Siu Bao, aka Roast Pork Bun), and Chinese food was introduced as fast food. Panda Express started opening up in malls and in standalone restaurants across the land. Though popular, especially with the younger folks, it’s not good food (I have only eaten there once a few years ago. I won’t again).
It was time to evolve. A kitschy new concept was born in New York City. Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. An automat, if you will. You never see an employee. The idea is cute, but the dining options, in my humble opinion, are limited, and the food was so-so. Plus, Americans started to gravitate to healthier eating lifestyles.
The No-Fry Zone
In 2020, born on Long Island, the first modern Chinese kitchen to use smart tech and air-baking techniques instead of frying, MOGU Modern Chinese Kitchen came forth upon this land. Evolving from the Panda Express restaurant model, the food is just tastier, fresh, and healthier. MOGU is not a one-trick pony like Brooklyn Dumpling House. MOGU is striking a chord with Americans and its popularity spurred them on to open restaurants in Woodbury, Farmingdale, Commack, and Hauppauge.
MOGU Modern Chinese Kitchen
One of the first things that strikes you when you enter is how clean the restaurant is. It looks like they just opened today, and not a few years ago. If workers aren’t helping customers, they come out to the dining area and clean EVERYTHING. THOROUGHLY. It must be the most sanitary restaurant ever!
Want a diverse menu? They have a diverse menu (click an image for a larger-sized picture):
Being the closest location to Mee, and Mini-Mee, and hankering to try something new, we wanted to find out what all the to-do was was about. The restaurant is located at 1006 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735 (map). From the moment we walked in I was stunned at the cleanliness. I didn’t expect to see such a diverse menu (after last dining at Brookly Dumpling Shop). The next thing we noticed was no Asians. That was not a good sign. But, does a Chinese restaurant filled with Asians ensure the food is authentic and great? Not really, as you will come to learn from the next review to be published – I’m such a tease!)
I love restaurants with open kitchens. Look how clean the pots and pans are! There’s no food waiting to be dished onto your plate (Panda Express, I’m talking to YOU!). Everything is freshly cooked.
Being too hungry to peruse everything on the menu, dang those spare ribs looked so good, we immediately fell into old habits. Beef with Brocolli for me. Sesame Chicken for Mini Mee.
Please excuse the food filter I used. I’ll never do this again! But, I would order with of these two dishes again. OMG so really good. Packed with robust flavor. More than enough for two meals. At least for me. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day. There was no salty taste to be found anywhere. The rice was cooked to perfection, and the restaurant was CLEAN! Here’s an example.
Cleaning the counter, seen later cleaning the tables AND walls!!
Will we come back? Heck yeah! The food was good and plentiful, and there are so many other dishes I want to try next.
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)