Guam Diner Bytes: Old Town Chinese Restaurant
I first reviewed them in 2002 when they were located on San Vitores in Tumon (under different owners). I had done a more recent update of Old Town Chinese when they were in the Aurora Hotel (now known as Lotte Hotel Guam). That was in September 2011, and that was when Old Town was doing a full dim sum menu along with their complete Chinese menu. They had superb buffets and mesmerizing views of the ocean! This Upper Tumon location does serve a limited Dim Sum menu any day of the week up until 10 p.m.
While I had intended to have a full crew (5 or more people) joining me for this review, I was only able to get Zee to join me after her Cantate rehearsal across the street at St John’s. It was a 9:30 p.m. dinner and we were welcomed by Mason Finona, Old Town’s manager. I would have been able to see my long-time friend and owner, Lily, had I been able to keep my schedule for Wednesday night! We’ll have to reconnect later.
The most important thing to know about Old Town Chinese is that they’ve got it all right - the food, ambiance, service, Wi-Fi, take-out and long hours (open all day long when everyone else closes for lunch!). There is NO MSG in their food ingredients, so you get the benefit of natural flavors and tastes. Zee had been craving for something that is a classic Chinese-American dish - Orange Chicken ($8.95). This is actually pretty good here, as the citrusy sauce is tangy and has elements of sweet and sour going for it with battered fried chicken that still keeps some crunch though it’s sauce-soaked.
I had ordered the fish with black bean sauce ($9.95) along with yang chow fried rice ($8.50) and Chinese broccoli with garlic ($7.95). Our final dish was the Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings ($7.00). We thought this would provide a fair representation of some of Old Town’s extensive menu of over 80 items. What is evident from the photos is that their portions are quite large and definitely designed to be shared.
The fish with black bean sauce is savory and filled with fresh, crunchy vegetables and tender battered basa fillets that are stir-fried in a tasty black bean sauce. I was also greatly impressed by their fried rice, which was moist and filled with shrimp, veggies, egg, and bits of pork and chicken. We have not been eating rice as part of our dietary regimen but there are always exceptions when we have to take one or two spoonfuls for the team!
Of course one can find no fault with the super healthy and flavorful Chinese Broccoli, which really fills the plate! Vegetarians would embrace this and other meatless dishes on their menu such as fried tofu with spicy sauce, braised eggplant with garlic sauce, baby bok choi & garlic, and spicy stir fried vegetables, all priced at $7.95 each.
The only thing that we ordered that we didn’t “rave” over was the Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings. They had a batter coating them which seemed to be a blend of corn starch and flour. We have grown to prefer our wings to be “naked” and batterless. A small dish of their version of finadene accompanies this and this does help a bit. This is an issue of personal preference. There are many who probably want their wings coated if not waxed!!
We are very eager to return with a full entourage to try out the more substantial parts of Old Town’s menu, including the steamed live lobster with ginger and green onion, steamed lapu lapu, crab with ginger and onion, roast duck, and seafood tofu hot pot. I should also mention that Old Town has lunch specials that are available until 5 p.m.! These specials are very reasonably priced! Some of you have probably seen Old Town 3 at the Navy Exchange. I also understand they will be expanding with a new location on Andersen Air Force Base. As I said before, Old Town’s got it right!