House Wong, 100 Bonhay Rd, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4BL 01392 435682. Open 5:00pm – 10:30pm everyday apart from Tuesday.
Eating Exeter is not just about fine/casual dining restaurants with local ingredients and local produce. Sometimes we go that extra mile for the readers to bring you a comprehensive guide to where to eat in Exeter, even if they don’t take debit cards.
Exeter has a fair number of Chinese takeaways dotted throughout the city. The ‘traditional’ British Chinese takeaway serves a greasier version of what is considered traditional Chinese cuisine, and like the curries of India, we have westernised it to our liking. It is not too weird, and includes things that we’re familiar with. Most of the flavours are acceptable to a western palette and there are no surprises, generally. They are as synonymous to Britain as Fish & Chip Shops, red telephone boxes, The Monarchy and saying sorry a lot.
We’ve used various takeaway services over the last year. Deliveroo is great, couldn’t recommend them enough. JustEat is generally OK, but we’ve had a few problems with them in the past. But if you’re willing to go and collect your food, then a world of opportunity opens up.
There are still loads of great takeaways who have not bought in to the online delivery concept, and House Wong is one of them. There is no online review until now, in fact (and this is often the case for many Chinese takeaways) I am not sure there is any online presence at all apart from inclusion on various business listing websites. Neither is there an official online menu (we did find one, but all the prices were very out of date, and it cost a lot more than we had anticipated).
When I was growing up, we used to get our takeaway from The Bamboo Fryer in Topsham. It was always crazily busy and always really good, and then went downhill after it changed hands. Supposedly. That was nearly 18 years ago, so don’t take that as an official recommendation, but the value of the ‘treat’ was there, and for me, it still is today.
At the time I was convinced that there was an army of wizards out the back who made the food from magic as it didn’t take very long to arrive and compared to how long a Sunday Roast took, it was impossible for my young brain to fathom that food can be prepared in minutes. I digress.
I love the fact this is a traditional British Chinese, there are a few oriental ornaments dotted around and there is a selection of well-thumbed glamour magazines to read through as you wait for the culinary wizardry out back to conjure up your meal. Having sampled their pancake rolls before, I knew with certainty that the most anticipated part of the meal would be good.
As I was poorly sick, Tori went off to get the food. The turnaround time was pretty speedy, it took 10 minutes or so from placing the order to getting the grub. As we live 5 minutes away by car, the bag was still piping hot when she got back.
We went for Pancake Rolls £2.20 each, Egg Fried Rice £2.50, Prawn Crackers £1.80, Sweet & Sour Pork Balls £4.50, Beef Chow Mein £4.50 and Kung Po Chicken £5.20
Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely ordering with our eyes as we were both hungry.
So here it is. New Year’s diet totally out of the window along with ethical eating and cholesterol awareness. Compared to a few takeaways that we’ve had via JustEat the portion sizes are immense. You could easily feed three people with one item.
The chicken had that slightly strange taste that you get with cheap meat, the pork was the same, but no less enjoyable. The rice was sticky and eggy, the beef was tender and not overly chewy; everything tasted, overall, very nice. Definitely good value.
The Pancake Rolls were very greasy, so we had to pat them down, but still edible. The Kung Po Chicken had so many cashew nuts, something that is often skimped on with chinese takeaway dishes but not overly spicy for a ‘hot and spicy’ item. Tori noted that the Sweet and Sour sauce had a more of a natural colour to it, and wasn’t fluorescent orange which some are. It had a sweet taste to it and wasn’t overly acidic.
We ate. We felt stuffed. There are leftovers which we can nibble at, and I am happy to say that House Wong definitely gets an ‘Eating Exeter Recommended’ status as I would happily recommend this place given its large portion sizes and tasty (but greasy) pancake rolls.