Chopsticks

I love Chinese food. In fact I love all kinds of exotic and unusual food, and I love finding new restaurants too. Then again, in total contradiction with that, I am also a terrible creature of habit, I can eat the same thing in the same place over and over again and not get bored with it. All through primary school, I had cheese and pickle sandwiches for lunch every single day, much to my mother’s despair.

So it’s hardly surprising that once I find a good restaurant, in this case a Chinese one, I end up dragging Husband there all the time. Not that he takes much dragging when it comes to good food. This is the story of my latest addiction, the very lovely Chan’s of Bettystown.

chans

The funny thing about this restaurant, on the ground floor of a block of flats, just down the road from our house, is that it took us just over a year to eat there for the first time. In fact, for a while, we even wondered if it was still open. From the outside, you can’t actually see in, all the windows are blacked out and heavily curtained and there was not much going on outside apart from a banner for the “Family Lunch Special” that seemed to have been there forever… Then one day, on our way back from a hard day’s work, we decided to succumb to the temptation of laziness, and satisfy our curiosity about this mysterious place at the same time.

As you walk in through the double set of doors, you are suddenly transported from a rather run-down boring seaside town residential block exterior to a dark-furnitured, thick-carpeted, low-lit interior. And when I say thick-carpeted, the shag-pile is so deep, walking along the corridor to the toilets at the back feels like walking on snowshoes. The staff are all very friendly, and the whole of the inside is very classy and well presented. And despite its rather featureless outside, it is very popular, I have not yet been in there once without it being full or as good as. Books, covers, judging, all that…

As for the service, it is not excellent, it is obsessively perfect. Our favourite game now, is to play “empty your water glass” with the waiters. Because if you take so much as a big sip from your water glass, they will nip along at lightning speed to fill you up again. Because an empty glass of water is a terrible thing. So we do our best to try and get to the bottom of or glasses before they spot us. What larks. Also, we do our best to confuse them by asking for chopsticks every time, as the table is only laid with the western knife-fork-spoon combo. It would seem that this is a rather unusual and surprising request. But it’s worth it, because their chopsticks are silver. Shiny.

All this is well and good, but what of the food, you may ask. Well, the food is delicious. The all-day-every-day 3 course set menu is incredibly good value at just over €17. For this you get a choice of starter, a soup and a mind-boggling choice of main courses, plus a cup of tea or coffee, and believe me, when you leave, you will be full! Pleasantly full, that is, the portions are easily finishable, but large enough, not too big, not too small. Goldilocks would love it. Although I don’t think they do porridge.

My favourites so far are the salt and pepper shredded chicken (simple yet deliciously tasty), the chicken and sweetcorn soup (indecently gooey), and the chicken with cashew nuts that comes served in an elegant edible basket made of deep-fried, intricately draped noodles. This basket, of course, soaks up the sauce and becomes quite a treat to nibble at as you’re finishing. As for Husband, he is on a mission to try absolutely everything on the menu, so given the 20-30 choices of main course on the set menu alone, I think we’re good to go back there time and time again.

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