Every neighborhood needs a cheap, go-to Chinese takeout and delivery restaurant, and for the Coral Gables-Coconut Grove-South Miami area, it's Chef Tian. Want to feed four to five people for under $35 without leaving the house? Ring up Chef Tian, and soon a box will arrive at your door piled high with aluminum boxes of stir-fry and rice, plastic containers of soup and wax paper bags of egg rolls and wontons.
My family's favorite is the "Dinner for 4'' special, which provides two quarts of wonton or egg drop soup, four egg rolls, one quart of fried rice (with baby shrimp and bits of chicken and pork) and three entrees of your choice from a prescribed list. The kids' pick: honey garlic chicken, which is breaded and soaked in a sweet, sticky sauce. Pounded into tenderness, the pepper steak includes generous amounts of meat and vegetables. Chicken with broccoli is equally tender. Moo shoo pork, with the requisite pancakes and container of hoisin sauce, isn't a choice for the special, but is worth ordering on its own. Egg rolls are greasy and standard.
As with other dishes from Chef Tian, the appeal is the speed, price and quantity. You can count on leftovers for lunch the next day. And you'll appreciate the fortune cookies, with your future predicted in Spanish and English, at the bottom of the box.