Chinese food in college is often relegated to a lower status than it deserves- something you call for when you’re feeling too lazy to walk to the dining hall, and not, most definitely not, something that comes to mind when planning a dinner out with friends. But it’s time to change this mindset, because Chinese food is meant to be served family-style, around a table set with some rice (white, not fried) and tea for each person. And, as I recently discovered, Moon Star can be the perfect place to do that in the Binghamton area.
The restaurant is somewhat of an enigma on campus. They don’t take to the same aggressive takeout menu campaigns as do other Chinese restaurants, and the trek to its location in Endicott can seem daunting. But, for the upcoming Binghamton Restaurant Week, they have agreed to give a 10% discount to anyone who shows their Binghamton student ID while dining in. And it is most certainly worth it.
When you first walk into Moon Star, be prepared to forget everything that you know about Chinese take-out places. There is no white tile flooring, no tiny tables, and no brightly-lit display of menu items. You are seated and given an extensive menu, which is separated into the usual takeout fare and the “Real Chinese Food” menu. Do yourself two favors: ask for some green tea and order some family-style dishes off of the “Real Chinese Food” menu. It is here that you will find dishes that represent the Sichuan and Guangdong provinces of China and that stay true to their roots. Though some of the dishes can be very spicy, you can request that your food be made milder. After you order and plates of food start filling up the center of your table, dig in!
One of the spicier dishes on the menu is the beef with spicy sauce. It may look harmless, sprinkled with sesame seeds, but it can be tough to handle for some. Be sure to chase it with some white rice!
If you find yourself overwhelmed after a bite of the beef, take solace in some crispy chicken with garlic sauce. Don’t be fooled by its exterior. This isn’t your typical, KFC-style, greasy fried chicken. This is crispy chicken done the way it should be: with an amazing crunch that doesn’t turn soggy after ten minutes and that is coated in a sweet and sour garlic sauce.
Perhaps the most enjoyable dish of the bunch is the shredded pork with Peking sauce. That’s because it comes with a wheat-based wrap and some shredded spring onions, so you roll up the pork and spring onions yourself. The pork is good enough to eat on its own with some rice, but when balanced with the slight chewiness of the wrap and the crunch of the spring onions, it makes for some fantastic bites.
Of course, no Chinese meal would be complete without some vegetables. To that end, there is nothing better than sautéed Snow Pea sprouts in garlic sauce. Although a simple dish, it is executed very well here.
So if you and your friends are in the mood for some good Chinese food, be sure to go check out Moon Star, and prepare to forget that brightly-colored goo that other restaurants call sauce.
A special thanks to the staff at Moon Star for providing us with this wonderful meal. They were extremely nice not only to us, but also to the other customers, who we could tell were regulars by their easy banter with the staff.
Location: 3218 E. Main St., Endicott, NY 13760
Hours of Operation: Mon, Weds, Thurs:11 am-10 pm, Fri, Sat: 11 am-11 pm, Sun: 12-10 pm