Our most recent outing found four of us at Johnson City’s Ming Asian Cuisine. The Dieter and Carnivore joined my dining partner and me after their lengthy and tiring all-day drive from Florida. The two of them were looking quite road-weary and anxious to unwind from their journey with excellent cuisine and some good company to go with it. My dining partner and I decided that Ming’s Asian Cuisine was just the place for both of our friends to shake the dust off.
Since his last meal had been a hurried fast food breakfast in Ocala, Florida, earlier that morning, my friend the Carnivore was hungry and wanted a meal that would be substantial but not heavy on his tummy. His companion the Dieter wasn’t that picky: she wanted something chicken and plenty of it. My dining partner had already made up her mind on her choice on the drive over. I had an idea what I was looking for, but needed to check out Ming’s menu to make sure. In the meantime, I asked our server Mandy to bring out an order of six Bang Bang Shrimp ($8) as an appetizer, while the Dieter ordered six fried pork dumplings ($6.95) for us to munch on while we made up our minds.
With appetizers on the way, I returned to my search. Sure enough, near the bottom of page two on the menu were the Singapore Noodles ($10) I was looking for. To complete my order, I chose some of Ming’s excellent sushi, in this case a California roll ($4.95). My dining partner decided on Ming’s Mu Shu Pork entrée ($13.50), while the Dieter picked the chicken & cashews ($12.50). The Carnivore ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp ($14.95).
Mandy took our orders to the kitchen, and returned shortly bearing our appetizers. Since Ming’s makes every meal to order, it took a while for our entrees to reach us. This was no problem, as the four of us were happily munching on shrimp and fried pork dumplings. The shrimp was especially good, being dipped in a light tempura batter, flash-fried then drizzled in a spicy sriracha-laden mayonnaise. The dumplings were so good we had to split the last two in half so each of us could enjoy just that much more of them.
Every one of our entrees was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
My Singapore Noodles was everything I wanted; shrimp, pork and chicken of course, along with some wonderfully delicate rice noodles, all of it stir-fried with a spice medley boosted with a hefty dose of yellow curry. My side dish of California roll sushi was OK, though its crab stick core could have been fresher.
The Dieter’s chicken & cashews entrée was very good, despite the need for more of the spice medley used. Chicken stir-fried in Ming’s teriyaki sauce developes good breadth of flavor. Adding in the nutty sweetness and smooth texture of cashew nuts gave the spice bouquet a pleasant, almost unctuous depth, very nice indeed.
The Carnivore was having a great time with his Kung Pao Shrimp entrée, finding the mix of plump shrimp, zucchini, bell peppers and onions in Ming’s spicy pepper sauce to his liking. We could tell this by the broad smile on his face and the amount of perspiration on our friend’s brow that he dabbed away from time to time with a napkin.
My dining partner was in heaven over her Mu Shu Pork entrée. This is Ming’s version of pulled pork barbecue, as in thin-sliced lean pork stir-fried with Asian vegetables such as julienned cabbage, carrot, scallions and bamboo shoots. There is a good amount of thick, tangy Hoisin used as the barbecue sauce, and more on the side for dipping. Add a stack of Ming’s tasty pancakes to wrap this mélange of goodness in, and you get a very quiet and satisfied dining partner indeed.
Needless to say, Ming’s Asian Cuisine fulfilled all that the dine-around bunch asked of them. The Dieter and Carnivore got to relax and enjoy an excellent meal while unwinding from their long trip from Florida. I got an evening of great conversation and excellent food. My dining partner had all these, plus a moment of personal growth provided by an excellent meal of Mu Shu Pork. Success all around, wouldn’t you say?
Ming’s Asian Cuisine
1045 Hamilton Place
Sun-Thu 11a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Fri-Sat 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
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Credit cards accepted