The Backdrop: Unanimous praise from fellow foodies brought me to Lam’s Garden. Yet another Chinese restaurant sitting in the heart of Orlando’s Chinatown located on Colonial Drive. My family’s love affair with Chinese cuisine strengthened on our multiple trips to Malaysia/Shanghai/Singapore to visit family and friends. Since then, we have been on a perpetual quest for discovering flavors similar to the tantalizing taste and textural inter-play Chinese cuisine is renowned for.
Not to mention Andrew Zimmerman’s recent episode was dedicated to Chengdu (province for Sichuan cuisine) had our mouths drooling for some good old spicy Chinese food.
The Space: First of all, there’s the space itself. Simple décor, revolving tables to feed big groups; Hmm, I was excited! The menu comes in two styles – Traditional (Red color) & American (Green). Without any hesitations I grabbed the traditional menu. It definitely was not your atypical menu, reflecting a few dishes from the Sichuan region, and a couple surprises as well.
Let’s talk Food: We ordered Orange Chicken, Beef Pepper Steak, Shredded Pork with Hot Peppers, Chinese Watercress in Garlic Sauce, and Beef Vermicelli Wet Noodles. Armed with a starving belly, we dug in as soon as the food arrived, which I might add came swiftly.
The pepper steak had huge chunks of beef however lacked the “pepper” the dish’s namesake; nice presentation though.
My personal favorite dish was the shredded pork with hot peppers (loaded with jalapenos & green peppers). It was most certainly the spiciest dish on our table. I am not partial to heat yet this kind of heat was addictive. I couldn’t resist going in for seconds.
The wet noodles with beef were a refreshing palate cleanser after the pork dish; though didn’t have too much happening in the flavor section.
The watercress was lightly sautéed leaving a slight after taste of bitterness. Certainly, the lightest dish on the table and nicely complimented the meat orgy we had going on.
Thought of the Day: The food was clearly flavorful but it lacked the oomph factor and authenticity of Chinese cuisine that I am accustomed too. Why, oh why is it so hard to find genuine ethnic food in Orlando, if not in America? The quest for exceptional Chinese food carries on. Sigh!!