Smile Politely

Green Jade Chinese is an excellent dinner option any night of the week

I had heard a lot of positive reviews about Green Jade, the Chinese restaurant located in the strip off Windsor Road next to Sunsinger. I have a husband who very much enjoys Chinese food, so we ordered a handful of items from Green Jade in Champaign to try the restaurant out. Suffice to say, I was impressed.

We decided on two appetizers and three entrees: boneless ribs and honey, crispy tofu, Mongolian beef, sesame chicken, and shrimp fried rice. I tried to steer clear from my usual Chinese food picks such as crab rangoon, egg rolls, and orange chicken, so that we could try some new dishes.

A photo looking down into a plastic to-go container filled with slices of dark red beef covered in a sticky sauce. Photo by Megan Friend.

Photo by Megan Friend.

The ribs and honey were not what I was expecting, but I’ve never had them before, so I think my expectations were just what I imagined ribs and honey to be in my mind. The best way to describe the texture of the ribs is rehydrated beef jerky, and I’m saying that as a person who thoroughly enjoys beef jerky. The pieces were small but weren’t tough and as hard to chew as jerky can be. They were rehydrated by a sticky honey sauce that was just the right amount of sweet. We got the small order, and there was plenty for two people and even some left over to snack on later.

Crispy tofu triangles sit in a Styrofoam container covered in a dark brown sauce, sesame seeds and chopped green onion. Photo by Megan Friend.

Photo by Megan Friend.

The crispy tofu was not as crispy as I had hoped it would be — although to be fair, I don’t know how crispy something like tofu can really get. The redeeming quality here was definitely the sauce. It was thick and syrupy but had more of a salty, umami flavor. As more of a salty person myself, I really enjoyed its flavor compared to the sweeter sauce on the ribs. We got the small order, and again, we had some leftovers to snack on later. I don’t know that I would order this appetizer again, but I’d probably eat that sauce on anything.

We typically don’t order Chinese without ordering shrimp fried rice. It’s a non-negotiable for my husband, and I was happy to oblige. We got the larger order and ended up only eating about half of the container between the two of us. The fried rice dish was filled with rice, onions, bean sprouts, and shrimp. I am used to fried rice being super salty, and this one wasn’t — which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes fried rice can be too salty, and there’s no coming back from that. I just drizzled some sriracha on mine and called it good. Overall, the fried rice was pretty standard and pretty delicious.

A white to-go container is filled with a mixture of large pieces of brown beef, cooked onions, mushrooms, small slices of carrot, and green onions. The food is covered in a thin brown sauce. Photo by Megan Friend.

Photo by Megan Friend.

Rather than getting our usual General Tso’s and orange chicken, we branched out with the Mongolian beef. The Mongolian beef was the only item without a sticky sauce. The beef was thinly sliced and tender. My only complaint is that I wish there was more beef. It came with a lot of sliced, cooked onions, mushrooms, and green onions. In my opinion, the dish was a little overwhelmed with onions, but I just ate around them.

The sauce was salty, just how I like it. By the end of the meal, the beef was gone, and mostly just onions and sauce remained. Ordering this dish was a nice contrast to the usual dishes that we order which are generally fried and covered in a sticky sauce.

A photo looking down into a white to-go container filled with larger chunks of light brown fried chicken covered in sesame seeds. Four large pieces of broccoli rest in each corner of the container. Photo by Megan Friend.

Photo by Megan Friend.

Speaking of fried dishes in sticky sauces, the last item we ordered was the sesame chicken. This dish was delicious. I’ve found that sometimes when you order dishes like sesame or orange chicken, the chicken is fried to oblivion, making the pieces super hard and chewy. This was not the case with their sesame chicken. The pieces were large, fried lightly and covered in a sweet sauce that wasn’t overwhelming. There were a handful of large, steamed pieces of broccoli and a dusting of sesame seeds on top. We ended up having quite a bit of this left over which will made for a delicious Sunday lunch.

A photo looking down on a spread of (clockwise) to-go containers filled with sesame chicken covered in sesame seeds, Mongolian beef with mixed vegetables in a thin sauce, crispy tofu in a dark, sticky sauce and covered in sesame seeds, thinly sliced beef rib pieces covered in a dark red honey sauce and a carton filled to the top of shrimp fried rice with pieces of onion, been sprout and shrimp visible at the top. Photo by Megan Friend.

Photo by Megan Friend.

Ordering online was seamless, and pick up was quick and easy. As it stands right now, there is not an option for indoor dining. The usually open space between dining area and kitchen is separated by plastic curtains as it’s obvious that Green Jade is taking all necessary COVID precautions to keep staff and patrons safe.

I would definitely recommend Green Jade to anyone looking for high quality and deliciously prepared Chinese cuisine.

Green Jade Chinese Restaurant
1109 W. Windsor Rd
M-Sa 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Top image by Megan Friend.

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