Why: Formerly known as Fa Fa Gourmet, Ying Ying Chinese Restaurant has downsized just a bit and relocated to the former site of Fat Dave’s.
The menu includes a wide range of options, all prepared without MSG.
Atmosphere: The new location offers a neighborhood cafe feel. Light, earthy shades of sand begin on the floor and extend up the walls. Booth seating ensures an intimate dining experience, and subtle lighting creates a warm welcome.
What I tried: My dining companion and I decided on the popular Orange Beef and the Crispy Prawns with Honey Walnuts. For our appetizer, we chose the Salad Rolls.
The Salad Rolls, with a sweet peanut dipping sauce, were the highlight of our meal. They contained barbecued pork, shrimp, noodles and lettuce. They were fresh and especially tasty when dipped in the sauce, which complemented the ingredients with its crushed peanut crunch and just the right amount of sweetness.
Of the two entrees, both my dining companion and I preferred the prawns. They were served atop a large leaf of iceberg lettuce with a sweet yellow sauce and a sprinkling of honey walnuts lightly drizzled over them. More of the sauce was included alongside for dipping.
The crispy coating was somewhat salty, and it was light enough that it did not retain excess oil from deep frying. These prawns were appetizingly served without the tail. This made them easy to eat.
The Orange Beef was far too sweet for our liking. The flavor of the beef was lost in translation between the sweet and semi-spicy sauce and the generous amount of orange zest added in. The meat itself was very thinly sliced and prepared with a coating that, once fried, reminded me of potato chips.
Both entrees came with a bowl of rice that was a tad dry.
Highlights beyond what I tried: The Sizzling Delights Delicacy, made with prawns, scallops, chicken and vegetables in a unique brown sauce served on a sizzling platter, sounded interesting. The BBQ Pork and Noodle Soup likewise piqued my interest.
Other observations: Both the beef and prawns arrived hot. The first bite of beef revealed a hair, which I brought to the attention of our waitress. She apologized, took the dish away and replaced it with a fresh serving.
The staff was attentive and friendly.
Cost: Chef’s Specialties are all less than $12. Combinations are $8.95 and include soup. Appetizers are all less than $5.50.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 9305 N.E. 76th St., Vancouver.
On the Web:www.yingyingrestaurant.com.
Health score: Ying Ying Chinese Restaurant received a score of 18 on Jan 27. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For further information, call 360-397-8428.