Tian Chinese Cuisine in Ellicott City

March 17, 2009

My mom has been raving about this place and their 99 cent zhajiang mian (noodles and black bean sauce) ever since her friend brought her here last week. She kept saying the next time I visit home she would bring me, which is exactly what she did when I went home over the weekend.

The restaurant is located right next to Lotte supermarket off of Rt. 40. The sign advertises the establishment as “Korean-style Chinese” cuisine. I don’t really know what that means. They covered their windows completely with banners advertising their 99 cent special. As a result no natural light comes into the restaurant, which actually makes for more pleasant lighting from the inside. The inside is clean and very nicely decorated with dark wood panels and brlightly lit with recess lights. You wouldn’t guess from the outside how nice it looks on the inside.

Banner on the outside advertising their zha jiang mian

Menu cover

Most of the servers don’t speak very much English. We had a hard time communicating with them and wound up doing a lot of pointing and gesturing, but we ended up with the right orders, so that wasn’t too much of an issue. We got two orders of the 99-cent zhajiang mian as well as an order of chap jae and a spicy squid dish. The server asked us if we wanted the spicy squid “mild spicy” or “Korean spicy.” which I thought was funny. We are not brave souls, so we went with mild spicy.

They don’t give you much in regards to appetizers. Just some pickled yellow radish, raw onions and a dipping sauce. But I guess since it’s technically a “Chinese” restaurant they’re not obligated to provide any of the traditional Korean appetizers? Anyway, I was never a big fan of pickled yellow radish anyway.

Chap Jae

“Mild spicy” squid

Zha Jiang Mian

The zhajiang mian was surprisingly good. I wasn’t expecting much for 99 cents, but we got a huge bowl of noodles. The sauce had tofu, some potato, and even a few pieces of pork. The only catch for the 99-cent zhajiang mian is they automatically add a $1 tip/order, which is fair. I though the chap jae was really good, though I was surprised that it came on top of rice. I didn’t think chap jae was usually served with rice. And the “mild spicy” squid dish tasted more like Korean spicy…but maybe I’m a weak sauce.

Take home message–I’d definitely go back for more “Korean Chinese” food.

Oh yea…and I saw this on the menu and got a kick out of it.

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