The wonderful aromas at Ching Dow Chinese Restaurant greet you the second you open the door of the quaint little white building off the east side of the square.
There can’t be many towns the size of Centerville with a Chinese restaurant like Ching Dow. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with instrumental music playing softly in the background. No food sits wilting under buffet lights, as has become the standard for Chinese restaurants outside big cities. Each meal is prepared fresh and comes out piping hot as it has for 20 years at this unexpected gem of a restaurant.
On a cool fall day, I visited Ching Dow for lunch and had the sweet and sour chicken luncheon special for $5.50. The chicken was covered in a thick, rich sweet and sour sauce and mixed with onions, green peppers and carrots. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., diners can choose from 33 luncheon specials. These lunches are served with two well-stuffed crabmeat ragoons and a scoop of fried rice.
The luncheon special’s main dish is preceded by a bowl of egg flower soup so delectable I would encourage anyone who likes Chinese food to visit the restaurant just to sample it. The soup is great all year round, but it is especially satisfying this time of year as the temperature drops. Another aspect of the Ching Dow dining experience that gets even better when the weather gets cooler is the complimentary pot of tea for two.
Ching Dow is one of the few restaurants in the area that features a different dining experience at lunchtime and dinnertime. At night couples and families can order the family dinner, which is $10.50 per person with a two-person minimum. The dinners include egg flower soup, egg roll and fried rice, and each person chooses an entree. The entrees are presented on platters so diners can easily sample each of them.
Diners who forego the family dining option can choose from 40 chef’s specialties, including several pork, shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetarian options. And if you feel like staying in, just give Ching Dow a call: if my observation of the front counter during lunch was any indication, it does a brisk takeout business.Ching Dow
217 E. State St., Centerville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Seven days a week