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Ranking beef and broccoli from five Chinese restaurants on campus

I set out to find who makes this basic dish the best.
Image by Shalom Berhane
Shuang Cheng Restaurant on Tuesday. Shuang Cheng has been open for business in Dinkytown since 1990.

There is an abundance of Chinese food on the University of Minnesota campus, more than any other cuisine. With so many options, I decided to order beef and broccoli at five of these restaurants and rank them based on taste and price. I am looking for dishes that are flavorful and reasonably priced for a college student.

Here’s a rundown of five Chinese restaurants that aren’t Panda Express.

  1. Legendary Spice: Legendary Spice sits in the same building as Wahu Apartments in Stadium Village. With a full bar and an overall fancier vibe, it is one of the more sophisticated Chinese spots on campus. The resources that went into the presentation of the restaurant sadly did not trickle down to the beef and broccoli that I had this Tuesday, as it definitely could have been better at its near $20 price point. The thinly sliced beef needed more seasoning. It is not flavorless, but their recipe could use some tweaking as there is an underlying unusual flavor. Not a terrible dish, but definitely not memorable. 

Score: D+

  1. Tea House: Tea House is on the fancier end of things when it comes to restaurant atmosphere — it is probably the nicest space you can sit down and eat on campus. The price of their beef and broccoli, however, is not so nice — I paid $25 for mine. This dish is hearty and chewy. It is an enjoyable order, but it does not have anything super special to make it worth the extra money. For most college students it would make most sense to go with some friends to Tea House and share some dishes to split up the cost.

Score: C+

  1. Hong Kong Noodle: More on the casual side is Hong Kong Noodle, nestled between Raising Cane’s and ValU Liquors in Stadium Village. This beef and broccoli is very typical in terms of taste. However, the dish was drenched in sauce, allowing for the pieces of broccoli to soak it up to make for an explosion of flavor when you take a bite. The quality of the beef is average, but it is nicely seasoned and, of course, covered in sauce which helps the overall taste. A good dish, but it would be better if it weren’t $20.

Score: B-

  1. Lao Sze Chuan: On the bustling corner of Washington Avenue and Oak Street is Lao Sze Chuan, a restaurant that should be talked about more. Out of these five beef and broccoli dishes, this stands out the most because of its notable sesame flavor in its sauce. The broccoli and the sauce complement one another really well and the broccoli is tasty, juicy and slightly sweet. This is a very good dish — the beef and broccoli combination has a nice balance between sweet and salty. The only drawback is it’s in the $20 range that several of these dishes are.

Score: B+

  1. Shuang Cheng: Serving Dinkytown since 1990 is Shuang Cheng, the homey restaurant right next to the Varsity Theater. Shuang Cheng has a reputation for a reason: it’s the best Chinese restaurant on campus, and their beef and broccoli is exceptional. For just over $10, the dish is very reasonably priced considering the quality of the food, especially when contrasted with the near $30 beef and broccoli from Tea House. Served with plenty of sauce, this meal is flavorful and big enough to share. This is the best bang for your buck.

Score: A

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