Review: Joy Garden Chinese American Restaurant

May 25, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Boise, Idaho, Restaurants, Reviews
Joy Garden's Spicy Orange Chicken AKA Chicken Doughnut

Joy Garden's Spicy Orange Chicken AKA Chicken Doughnut

How did Chinese food, the oldest and most highly perfected cuisine in the world, ever get so prostituted out to become the filth we find in crappy “Chinese” restaurants throughout the United States?  Seriously, it’s a sad sad thing.

I ate lunch today at one of these types of establishments.  Horrible.  Truly horrible.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I knew better than this, but alas, I entered and took my seat.

The decor cracked me up with the token fish tank in the corner and the giant red paper light balls hanging all over the place.  But the waitress was very friendly and did an amazing job of making me feel like I was a guest in her home.  This created a slight illusion that I might be in store for something delicious, even though the menu described the exact same options of poorly prepared imitation Chinese dishes that all these types of places have.

I selected the Spicy Chicken – “chicken lightly breaded and fried, served with our house spicy orange sauce.”  Sounded pretty good and I felt a moment of excitement as it approached my table.  But then I looked at it in front me.  This stuff was ridiculous.  The “light” breading was obscenely thick.  The sauce didn’t have any orange pieces or zest in it, and the presentation was awful; much like a child’s pile of Play-Doh.

The breading had a heck of a crunch, but tasted of very old oil.  The chicken was moist; but how could it not be when nestled in a sarcophagus of batter?  The sauce was, well… very odd.

It was sweet chili sauce (you know, the stuff you buy in a jar) and molasses.  What the hell is straight molasses doing in an Asian sauce?  There wasn’t any orange flavor or juice of any kind that I could detect.  I guess the color was somewhat orange.  Maybe that’s what they meant.  It wasn’t even spicy.  It was just overly sweet weird stickiness.

About my 3rd or 4th piece of chicken in, I started recognizing the flavor of something more and more.  I couldn’t figure it out.  But then a few more bites later I got it.  A sweet doughnut!  Yes, that’s it. I was eating chicken doughnuts.  An entire plate of them with a weird molasses glaze on them.  I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this anywhere else before.

So, if you like chicken doughnuts, this place is your heaven.  Otherwise, steer clear of Joy Garden at Overland and Eagle in Meridian, Idaho.

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