It's been over a year since I first reviewed this popular local Chinese/Asian restaurant, but I am happy to say it is still an unbelievable lunch value in Columbia. You can literally order a customized lunch entre, with your choice of egg roll or soup, complimentary steamed vegetable selections while you wait, for less than 7 dollars before tip. Their luncheon menu has about a dozen pre-selected options with fried or steamed rice, but you can also order a wide selection of individual dishes if you want to try something more exotic. There is a long list of appetizers from which you may choose something special, also at reasonable lunchtime prices. They have a nice selection of beer and wine too.
The dining room is often packed at noon, but if you come early or a bit later, you will enjoy a more relaxed pace and better service. The few servers are kept very busy so you may have to wait to place your order or to receive your check. I eat a lot of Chinese food and my bellwether test is how they make fried rice when ordered as an entre. At Asean Bistro, you may choose it with pork, beef, shrimp, red-cooked roast pork loin slices, or in combination. I ordered combination with extra bean sprouts, which is my favorite. The chef always accommodates my "tweaks" to any dish, and this was no exception. My rice was cooked to order (not just scooped from a rice cooker like most places), and it was a heaping mound (enough to take half home). It came piping hot with a delicious, savory seasoning that required no added soy sauce. If you have never considered ordering fried rice as a main event, this is the place to do so. You will not be disappointed.
Instead of my usual egg drop or hot and sour soup, I ordered the spring roll which was properly delivered first, with a small dish of tangy red sauce. It came hot from the fryer and was cooked to perfection. I would say after years coming here that you can't go wrong with any dish. The very reasonable prices will make it easy for you to come often. As I read my fortune at the end of my meal, I thought that my real good fortune was coming here in the first place.
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