Big Al's Bites: Golden Jade

Chinese takeout is a staple of American college students everywhere. Sure, you can go to P.F. Chang’s and throw down $50 for highbrow Asian cuisine, but the true American-Chinese experience comes in two forms: either in a small restaurant where you might be the only one who speaks English, or from Chinese takeout.

When I was a little kid, anything that was packed in that odd-looking white carton was instantly more appealing, because I knew that older, cooler kids who could afford to make their own culinary choices had a delicious meal packed inside the Chinese version of an albino gift box. The exotic flavors are not be ignored, and may have my top seed in the ethnic food rankings.

Fortunately for Ogden, a takeout gem is found on South Harrison, and its name is Golden Jade.

This is not your average takeout spot. It boasts some serious flavor and gusto. A family business, Golden Jade has been serving the Ogden community for as long as I remember. A friendly waitstaff and informal style of dining makes for a no-pretense kind of dining excursion.

While the paper plates and plastic cutlery may be a turnoff, it shows that good food needs no frills to stand out. I’ll start with my personal favorite, the Szechuan pork. This pork is what all Asian food wants to be when it grows up. The smoky-sweet flavor of the pork lends itself perfectly to mildly spicy, blissfully sweet Szechuan sauce. Their frying has just the right amount of breading to meat. You might think that’s an odd comment, but for those of you who have bitten into your sweet-and-sour chicken to find 90 percent bread, you know that it’s disappointing, more like a sweet-and-sour hushpuppy. The Szechuan pork has my highest recommendations.

Just as good as the pork is their house noodle soup, served in a giant bowl heaped with chicken, beef, char sil and shrimp in a deliciously rich beef broth with noodles. This Asian soup cocktail is one of my favorite remedies to a cold. Not because I think it has any holistic benefits at all, but because I get to eat the soup, and that alone makes me feel better. I think I’d get sick just to eat the delectable meaty goodness.

My wife would be irked if I didn’t mention her favorite, and I will, because in the experimentation of Chinese food comparison, I think it’s a good control. The sweet-and-sour chicken is perfectly balanced, leaving any hushpuppy chicken out in the cold. The sauce is generously ladled over the light, flaky chicken, making young and old foodies swoon. All of this, served with a wonderful ham fried rice, makes Golden Jade hard to beat.

Possibly the best thing on the menu are their crab wontons. Golden Jade once catered a student recruitment summit at WSU, and I saw political, charming people turn into starving, crazed baboons after the first bite. People were hoarding plates of the stuff back to their respective colleges, and rightfully so. BYU doesn’t have anything like this, and I don’t think there are any Chinese people in Logan. Get the wontons. They’re worth every penny.

Some people feel like a kid with cotton candy, some with dolls. I feel like a kid when I pop open an albino gift box of Golden Jade. It’s like Christmas. Only saucier.