A long time back I wrote about the deliciousness of authentic Szechuan Chinese and some of my favorite restaurants for that cuisine in the Triangle, It's time to do a deeper dive into probably my Szechuan favorite, Super Wok. Located in a run-down shopping plaza off of Maynard and Chatham, this area is better know for low-brow Indian and Mexican eats. But wait, there's more! Take the steps downstairs to the unassuming Super Wok if you enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine and the savory spiciness of Szechuan food. After having eaten here at least ten times I guarantee you, you're in for a big surprise.
Inside, Super Wok is really basic decked out in the yellow and red of the Chinese flag. With only 15 or so tables, the place can get busy but service is super-fast here so no worries! Grab a seat, peruse the menu littered with typos and you're know you're about to eat something ethnic and real. Super Wok does some great "appertizers". The traditional choice is the dan-dan noodles. Thin spaghetti mixed with minced pork and a light chili oil sauce. Spicy, savory and slurpy, it's a delicious dish. I recently tried their spicy noodles with peanut butter which was ridiculously good. Same thin noodles coated with soy, sesame, chili oil and peanut butter. They're served chilled so don't be surprise when you bite in, perfect for a hot summer's day. Super Wok also does some more traditional cold chicken and pan-fried dumplings, great stuff!
While the appetizers are really good here, the entrees are where it's really at. Where to start? Understand that Szechuan food is normally spicy but you can work your way around the hotness. For main dishes, I adore lots of their dishes. The tri-pepper chicken is one favorite: stir-fried chicken pieces with jalapeno, chili peppers and chili pepper flakes. Spicy, savory and definitely a dish to wake up your taste buds. Their kung-pao chicken is the traditional style, more chicken without any breading stir-fried with blanched peanuts. Quite good but a step down from their usual fare. The twice-cooked pork is also decent but not for everybody given the thinly sliced, fatty pork belly. My favorites probably fall under the crispy fish fillets in spicy Szechuan sauce and the orange beef. While the traditional Szechuan favorite is spicy fish fillets in a clay pot, I think the fried fish filet is a better contrast of tastes. Sweet with a bit of vinegar sour, some crunch and the savory firm fish, this dish is a nice melange of flavors and textures. The orange beef is a more traditional rendition with slightly bitter orange peel and tender flank steak that's stir-fried with a crunchy coating and sauce, delicious!
For veggies and a bit of green balance, the traditional dry-fried string beans are excellent. Fried until they get a bit wrinkly, the beans are full of flavor and bits of flavorful pork. The pea shoot tips with garlic are another great choice. Medium-weight greens in a flavorful but light, white sauce. Mapo tofu is another traditional side dish but I have yet to try it, sometime soon. And believe it or not, the rice even is pretty super here. My friends have commented they must use magic water to prepare it but I have no formal proof! Service at Super Wok is really good and fast. Dishes come out lickety-split and family style so don't necessarily expect to get an ordered delivery of entrees, especially if you're not sharing. Super Wok also has a solid lunch menu with more basic Chinese-American fare and Thai food but hell no, I'm not eating that stuff when I'm here! While their non-Szechuan offerings may be ok, I'd find it a waste of time to eat that food when they've got SO much to offer on the traditional menu. So yeah, Super Wok is pretty super in my book. Just don't let the location or exterior fool you into thinking there can't be anything good here. You really can't beat this place for authentic Chinese food, bon appetit!
Super Wok - Reviewer: Ron Wen - Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars