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Archive for Thursday, March 26, 1998

WHO KNEW ORIENTAL FOOD COULD BE FOUND AT A CONVENIENCE STORE?

March 26, 1998

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Happens all the time ... you're on your way out of town, headed west, pull into a gas station to fill up your tank and say to yourself, ``Wow, I'm really in the mood for an eggroll.''

Well, the next time you're headed west on Sixth Street, stop by the Miller Mart gas station at 3300 W. Sixth and check out the One Dollar Oriental Express restaurant.

Heck, you don't even need to get out of your car, because they've got a drive-through window for your convenience. Hey, pass the sweet-and-sour sauce!

If you prefer a more stable atmosphere while dining, have no fear. Inside the convenience store, make a right after the candy aisle and you'll find yourself in the comfortable dining area. Owner Henderson Chieu has created a fast, fine and even fun Chinese restaurant with everything from Moo Goo Gai Pan to Fried Wontons.

While the food is not the spiciest, or the fanciest, it is a nice change of pace in the world of drive-through dining and a surprising bargain. The portions are enormous, and the prices are low.

Three dollars and fifty cents will get you any entree on the menu, served with a gargantuan helping of fried rice and lo mein.

While noted on the menu as being mildly spicy, the Kung Pao chicken has little Pao and less chicken. Though the Beef Broccoli has a suspiciously similar tasting mild sauce, it does have plenty of meat and broccoli. The lo mein is tasty and filling, with thick noodles and vegetables in a light sauce.

There are no surprises here, the eggrolls are tasty, the crab rangoon are creamy, and nothing is spicy. But when you're tooling down the road, holding the wheel in one hand and an eggroll in the other, who wants a surprise?

Open for a little more than a year, the restaurant offers appetizers and smaller meals for an amazingly low price -- $1.25 for your choice of two eggrolls, six fried wonton, a pint of fried rice, lo mein or soup.

They offer an extensive menu that, in addition to numerous chicken and beef dishes, also includes 10 vegetarian and 10 seafood items.

Now for something to wash it all down with ... Coke, Mr. Pibb or jasmine tea?

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to biles@ljworld.com.

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