China Stix: Family-style, authentic Chinese food

by Katherine Zhang, STEM Editor

Kat Zhang
A lion statue at the front of the China Stix restaurant. Restaurant hours are from 11:00 – 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4 – 9 p.m. for dinner, and the restaurant is closed on Tuesday.

Walking through the double glass doors of China Stix is like flipping a switch to a completely different culture — every decoration from the cheerful red Buddha statue to the formidable stone lions seems to have a long history rooted in the generations upon generations of Chinese tradition.

In fact, authenticity seems to be a pattern throughout the restaurant, which has been ensconced in a once-quiet parking lot off El Camino Real for years. While the lot has recently developed into the bustling Santa Clara Town Center, China Stix continues to offer the same friendly service and authentic food that it always has. The restaurant serves up a blend of styles from different Chinese provinces and areas, such as Peking, Hunan, Sichuan and Canton, so customers can find a range of options.

With entrees served in large portions meant to be shared, China Stix offers a family-friendly menu. For those looking for some Chinese classics, the Peking Duck, a dish consisting of roasted duck, cucumbers, spring onions and sweet bean sauce wrapped in a thin pancake, is a timeless dish that has been served since China’s imperial era. While the $36.95 price tag may seem expensive, it also includes a fragrant duck and noodle soup.

Those looking for a kick of spice can opt for the Hunan Sautee, a dish of sliced pork sauteed in black beans and chili peppers that can be eaten wrapped in a pancake or with rice. Seafood lovers can choose from lobster, crab, scallop, prawns and a variety of fish. For those who want a medley of seafood and other foods, the Sizzling Combination Platter ($16.50) serves a stir-fry of prawns, scallops and chicken.

The restaurant also offers a variety of vegetarian options, including multiple varieties of tofu — fried or braised, with black bean sauce, chilis or vegetables. Staples like egg rolls, wontons, fried rice and dumplings are also served, and dim sum lovers can enjoy a variety of dim sum during lunch.

Meals end with the obligatory fortune cookie, as well as dessert, which easily offsets the many savory dishes on the menu. Depending on the day, the restaurant may serve a warm red bean soup, a sweet taro and tapioca soup, cubes of coconut jelly or orange slices.

The authenticity of the food matches the genuine nature of the restaurant. The college-age clerks laugh and catch up with old customers. Senior waiters stop by family-size tables and greet the children who run around. The staff are quick to greet old customers by name and know their orders by heart, while new customers are welcomed with gusto and ushered into the cushy leather recliners in the waiting area or directly seated at warm gold-upholstered chairs.

Despite boasting years of service and publicity (professional basketball player Jeremy Lin frequents the restaurant when he’s in town), China Stix continues to provide a warm and welcoming family-friendly environment, and most importantly, a variety of authentic food.