Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"Fu Jian. May I Help You?"

In Defense of Fu Jian: The RVANews Best/Worst poll features the prominent Fan Chinese take out joint, Fu Jian, in almost every one of its worst restaurant categories. Why the spiteful attention for such a run of the mill restaurant? Fu Jian even offers fried chicken, fish and shrimp, spare ribs, french fries, and other junk food staples to keep everybody happy and meet the unhealthy appetites of those too unadventurous for beef with broccoli.

Sure, sitting at the corner of Meadow and Main means that Fu Jian is bound to get some attention. That's usually a good thing. But, considering that they're constantly replacing a repeatedly broken front window, maybe Fu Jian is getting the wrong kind of attention. Nonetheless, Chinese take out is what it is. So, why all the hate? I've been ordering from Fu Jian since 1998. It is music to my ears to hear that familiar refrain at the other end of 353-5888, "Fu Jian. May I help you?" If you've got an ax to grind with Fu Jian, please speak up. But if you haven't tried their lightening fast delivery, I don't mind passing along my (mostly vegetarian) ordering advice:

  • Bean curd with garlic sauce: For the price, you can't beat this dish. Probably about three lbs of tofu, deep fried to perfection, and slathered in a tangy/spicy brown garlic sauce. No veggies. Only tofu and LOTS of it. Unfortunately, the sauce is sometimes too thick and a little gelatinous and gloppy. (you can also get the same with broccoli instead of tofu, but they won't combine the two). ($5.75 for a quart - pints not allowed)
  • Bean curd in home style: Same as above, only the sauce is bland and forgettable and it's got veggies in place of half of the tofu. A decent trade off, actually. ($6.00)
  • Shrimp toast: Disgustingly good. Meaning, it tastes really good, but makes you feel really disgusting if you eat more than one triangle. Greasiness is a fine line to tread. Balance this out with rice or soup and an oil absorbing facial. ($3.25)
  • Fried cheese wonton: Wontons stuffed with cream cheese, then deep fried. Dip these in the duck sauce that comes along and think of brie and jam. It's not that, but for three bucks, what do you expect? Considering how heavy these are, you could almost consider the starter as your meal, if you're not into vegetables or starch or spending money. ($3.00)
  • Bean curd roll: typical fried spring roll without a trace of meat* and sometimes bits of soy protein. ($1.10 each)
  • Moo shu vegetables:A really big portion of sweet moo shu favored cabbage and carrot shreds, served with five "pancakes," and some plum sauce. The veggie version is only X dollars cheaper than the meat, so get whichever you prefer. It's all about the plumb sauce and the burrito style wraps that bleed juice through your fingers and down your arm. You'll need extra pancakes, but don't ask for them unless you want to pay an extra $3. ($6.00 serves three)
  • Ma Po To Fu: A big vat of spicy slime with squishy cubes of curd and previosly frozen veggies. This dish is a Chinese classic that the take out world hasn't really altered that much from the original. Try it at least once. ($5.25)
  • Lunch specials: They've got 30 options that come with pork fried rice or white rice, a FREE soda, or an egg roll. Um... yes, please. ($3.99 -$4:99 from 11-3pm)

Doesn't all of this sound good? Dinner can be had for under twenty with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. So what if Richmond's Chinese take out is generally subpar. So what if you got sick once or twice from the shrimp with lobster sauce? It's bound to happen from any restaurant if you go there enough. And what are you doing ordering seafood take out, anyhow?

*Traces of meat are bound to be found in nearly all dishes. Veg-heads: live the lie and don't scrutinize.


  1. i am sorry but i have to say i cant stand the place. it used to be cool back in the day but now- blech. i ordered from there regularly in 2002 and the food was tasty. now it is just all around crappy chinese food.

  2. Best sweet and sour chicken in Richmond. Period.

    You don't order Fu Jian for high class authentic Chinese food. You order to satisfy your jones for junk food. Otherwise you would be going to Peking.

  3. I loved FuJian when I lived in Byrd Park... even when they delivered on their bikes, they were fast... I can't count how many times we ordered there, and maybe once or twice had bad experience... they are great for the price and the quickness and the extra 5 pounds I would gain everytime I ordered

  4. IVV: Maybe they have gone downhill, but they're still doing the job adequately and cheaply. Is it possible that the food is crappy AND tasty?

    Kelly: I think you might just speak from experience.

    Kyle: Many of my readers would say that the only difference between Fu Jian and Peking is the plating, table setting, and the price tag. But I do concur. It's a competent genre restaurant and not a "worst of" candidate.


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