Best Bets: Chop suey

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
The house chop suey at Chang's House includes beef, chicken and shrimp.

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MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal The house chop suey at Chang's House includes beef, chicken and shrimp.

When asked what I wanted for my 8th or 9th (somewhere around there) birthday dinner, I remember saying, "Chop suey." My mother's chop suey, specifically. This was my favorite meal.

My mom used the leftover roast beef from Sunday dinner and mixed it with canned La Choy chop suey vegetables. I liberally doused the chop suey with La Choy soy sauce. I loved it.

I believe I've had chop suey in a restaurant only once or twice, but it's been decades. I wasn't impressed.

I was told to check out Chang's House in Bartlett. I've been to the Antique Gallery dozens of times, but I've never noticed Chang's House, which faces north on the west side of the antique mall's parking lot.

The Chang's House menu features vegetable, pork, chicken, beef and shrimp chop suey as well as house chop suey, which includes beef, chicken and shrimp.

I chose the house. It was delicious. I used soy sauce on only one or two bites: it was too good without it.

Chop suey is a mixture of vegetables, said Suzanna Yu, who works at the restaurant. Then you "throw in small amounts of other things, whatever you've got in the refrigerator."

Some of their other popular dishes are Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso's Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Chop suey isn't as popular as the fried dishes, but it's "healthier," Yu said.

Their chop suey is one of the freshest dishes I've ever eaten. It's got a sweet taste to it, but not as in sugary sweet. It's more like the sweet flavor in fresh corn.

With the exception of canned water chestnuts and soybean oil, only fresh ingredients are used at the restaurant, said Fu-Chuan "John" Chang, who owns Chang's House. Chang, who is from Taiwan, moved to Memphis from Boston.

They grow their own bean sprouts, which are used in the chop suey and other dishes.

Chang showed me the large plastic garbage can they use to grow the sprouts. They put holes in the bottom for drainage. They add about seven cups of Mung beans, which they keep covered with water.

They also put a piece of damp burlap over the beans because they don't want them exposed to the sunlight. They don't want any green leaves. Also, the sprouts aren't as good when they get too long, Yu said.

The lid is kept on so they won't accidentally drop anything in the can while they're working in the kitchen.

About 60 pounds of bean sprouts are used each week at the restaurant, Chang said.

The house chop suey costs $8.60 for a heaping container along with another heaping container of white rice.

The other types of chop suey are a dollar or so cheaper.

Chang's House is at 5999 Bartlett Center Drive; 901-382-7581 or 901-382-7582.

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