My friends invited me to their family Chinese New Year celebration on Friday to close out the lunar year. I was available to attend as my family was not celebrating until Sunday. I gladly accepted and was excited about dining at Great China in Berkeley as it was on my list to try. They have a reputation for serving one of the best Peking ducks around.
From reviewing the menu, I assessed that the majority of the cuisine was mostly from the Northern region of China. With a large menu to choose from, we narrowed it down to eleven dishes for our table of seven adults and two children.
All in all, I thought the food was pretty good. There were definitely some highlights. Of course, we ordered the Peking duck. The kitchen delicately cuts the skin and meat from the bone and removes the fat before presenting it on a platter with thin pancakes, scallions, and plum sauce. It was light and lovely.
There were a few dishes we ordered that were new to me. One was called Double Skin which has mung bean noodles, carrots, cucumber, egg crepe, calamari, shrimp, sea cucumber, onions, mushroom, and pork. The waiter mixed everything together table side. It was a very interesting dish with loads of ingredients and flavors. I enjoyed Double Skin very much.
Ant Climbed the Tree is not the name of a story or poem, but a dish categorized as a seafood plate at Great China. It includes glass noodles (like the ones used in the Korean dish jaepchae), shrimp, green peppers, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Even with its funny name, you can’t ignore its deliciousness.
One final dish I’ll highlight is the garlic fried rice. It was simple, but I absolutely loved the flavor and the perfect consistency of the rice.
I really enjoyed about half the dishes and the rest were okay. I would return to Great China with a large party and probably order the items above and some additional new dishes to try.