Pei Wei  

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to Eat Healthy at Pei Wei MenuImage by admiller via Flickr

Pei Wei Asian Diner

4040 City Avenue, Bldg. 2 Space 2
Philadelphia, PA 19131

You should know

Actually, Brian and I wanted to go to Chipotle. But, alas, dairy and I are not the best of friends, and I didn't have an Lactaid on me. And I'm sorry, a burrito is just not worth the bother without the cheese and sour cream.

Fortunately, this spin-off of P. F. Chang was right next door, and I had been meaning to try it.

For what it's worth, Brian ended up not going to Chipotle, either, but instead trying out the sandwiches at Potbelly. But you'd have to ask him how that went.


I ordered the Spicy Korean Chicken with fried rice ("Korean hot pepper sauce, garlic, white mushroom, onion, carrot, long beans, toasted sesame seeds," $7.95) and a fountain soda. The soda fountain was in the back of the restaurant, so I had to cut through the casual dining room to fill my cup. There were two kinds of tea (chai and citrus green), but when I tasted them, I was disappointed. I honestly don't know if they were supposed to be iced teas that hadn't been sufficiently iced, or hot teas that had cooled down too much. Either way, both teas were tepid, so I got Coca-Cola instead.

Back with the soda fountain were tubs of assorted sauces for seasoning dishes; metal spoon for soups; small boxes for taking home leftovers; and big tubs full of fortune cookies. Cups of wrapped chopsticks, plus nice napkins, sat on each dine-in table.

The restaurant must have a vigorous order-ahead service, because the dining room was not very full, and the take-out line was not particulalrly crowded, but the cooks in the visible kitchen were working frantically and my food still took quite a while to come up.

When my food finally came up, the woman at the counter tossed the take-out box into a plastic bag and handed it to me. No napkin. No chopsticks or fork. No sauces. No fortune cookie. All of these things were visibly stacked beneath the front counter, in addition to being available to dine-in guests at the back of the restaurant. I may be interpreting this incorrectly, but it seems to me, then, that I should not have had to then wait around for five minutes, trying to flag down the counter-attendant's attention so that I could requst a fork and napkin. Yes, using a metal fork from home would be more ecologically sound, but I wasn't going home -- I was going directly outside to eat dinner with Brian, who as noted above had bought his food from a different establishment.

Fortunately, I had snagged a fortune cookie from the back when I got my drink.

My food was delicious, but I'm glad I got the fried rice. There was nowhere near $7.95 worth of chicken in my meal. I did manage to get a good lunch out of my leftovers, but had the rice been plain brown or white, I wouldn't have bothered. There not enough chicken or sauce to stretch out rice that did not have flavor of its own.

The chicken I got was good, though. Spicy, though not overly so. As I had predicted, in chains like this even "spicy" food is pretty mild, which is fine with me. The rice was very nice, with a decent mixture of vegetables and egg. There were more carrots than I would have chosen, but overall, a nice blend.

And the fortune cookie was very tasty.


Almost worth it
I don't know if the service would have been better had I dined in, but if I go back, I'm going to find out. The food was good, but I don't think I'll be getting take-out again. I don't care if you give me chopsticks or a fork, but I need one or the other.

Also, at risk of sounding like an idiot, I had no idea how to pronounce the place's name until the writing of this entry. Yes, I am an ignorant American.

The rest of the Internet

An interesting business article about Pei Wei by Bret Thorn at bnet.
Thank you, Philadelphia Inquirer! According to The Discreet Diner, it's pronounced "Pay Way."
The Wikipedia page.
The nutritional information for my meal. Mmm, healthy.
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