Moving to a new city, one of the first things most people look for is a reliable and tasty cheap Chinese takeout place.
Since I moved to Charleston in October, I have struggled to find such a place. And when I ask, I usually get two answers: Red Orchids China Bistro in West Ashley, or that I'm wasting my time because Charleston doesn't have good Chinese food.
So we asked readers for their favorite Chinese recommendations, and many of you told me the same things. Post and Courier critic Hanna Raskin, in a recent review of pop-up Kwei Fei, gave the following recommendation for diners seeking good Chinese: "I spend a disproportionate amount of time explaining why the city is short on Chinese restaurants, a phenomenon attributable to economics, history and culture. My standard response to people bemoaning the situation is to point out that a round-trip ticket from CHS (Charleston) to LGA (LaGuardia) is $107, which is about the price of dinner for two at many downtown Charleston restaurants. From there, it costs $2.75 to ride the Q19 bus to Flushing."
In all seriousness, Raskin gave Kwei Fei four stars. But we asked readers for their favorite hole-in-the-walls, and here's what we got.
Disclaimer: we've not been to many of these places, and we don't necessarily cosign the recommendations. These are readers' favorites.
Dragon Palace, 162 Seven Farms Drive. Daniel Island.
"Can’t believe you don’t know Dragon Palace on Daniel Island. While the menu has gotten more Americanized over the years, it’s the best Chinese restaurant Charleston has had in the 25 years I’ve lived here. Dragon Palace does a passable dim sum every Saturday. And once every few years it does a Peking Duck night that rivals the Peking Duck I can get at high-end Chinese restaurants in Toronto or Vancouver." —Gregory Forman
Golden Garden, 778 S. Shelmore Blvd. Mount Pleasant.
Dinner with #MyManMikey last night on #datenight. He was so happy. We found a Chinese Restaurant in Mt Pleasant where the owners are from the same town as him, Shenyang. They make a few authentic northern Chinese dishes. #happyhubby #happywifey then he took me to a show downtown. Nice night out with my man!
"I do love the Red Orchids but it's too far away from us. So we tried the Golden Garden on Shelmore in Mount Pleasant, on the recommendation of about a dozen Chinese doctors and medical students at MUSC. And we like it just as much as Red Orchids. A favorite, which I don't think is on the menu, is their eggplant; you have to ask for the secret menu for Chinese customers, or order from the photos on the wall." —Josephine Humphreys
"Golden Garden off Shelmore in Mount Pleasant is a reliably good choice among many bland ones. They do have seating that is better than your average, primarily take-out joint but that's what they are at heart." —Kevin McNamara
Hot Mustard, 428 Meeting St., Charleston
"Hot Mustard is the creme de la creme of the Lowcountry." — Corey Webb
"Hot Mustard is the one true bae of Chinese cuisine." —Patrick de la Peña
"How dare anyone besmirch the noble house of Warm Condiment? While Hot Mustard may be more than your typical Chinese take out stand (I hear they're considering bringing back the McRib), it has weathered storm, gentrification, and folly to deliver the most dependable culinary delights this side of the Pacific. If it weren't for Hot Mustard, global warming would still be a myth and women's suffrage wouldn't have happened until the 1940's." —Chris Howell
Great Wall, 1291 Folly Road, James Island
"I like Dragon Palace on Daniel Island for fancy and Great Wall on James Island for pick-up. Both are delicious! But I haven't ever had NY Chinese!" —Gloria Jenkins
Asian Flavor, 1145 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant
"My favorite restaurant is not solely Chinese, it is a mix of Thai and Chinese. Our favorites are vegetable pancit (a rice noodle), shrimp fried rice, General Tso’s Chicken (the best but not overwhelmingly spicy and a nice amount of slightly crunchy broccoli), spring rolls with the yummy sauce and vegetable lo mein ... My go to soup is Tommy Kha Gai with lots of chicken and coconut milk but the wonton and egg drop soups are equally wonderful! All Chinese restaurants are not alike. Some are a healthier version of your go to comfort foods!" -Karen Harris
Did we miss any other good spots? Leave them in the comments.