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“Great Chinese food.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Lai Lai Restaurant

Lai Lai Restaurant
4023 Carpenter Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197-9644
734-677-0790
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Ranked #51 of 149 Restaurants in Ypsilanti
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great Chinese food.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

Excellent selection of dishes including authentic Chinese food. It's located in a small strip mall and the decor is nothing to speak of, but we always have very good meals and service there. Take out available.

Visited October 2012
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12 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Ypsilanti
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Sushi for Zombies.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

It's bad. Here's why; we order everything at the same time. The appetizer was seaweed salad which lacked the usual zest you'd expect. (the stuff from Meijer is better). Oh and the ice chips in the seaweed salad were, um, crunchy. 20 minutes later the first (of three) rolls comes out. It was the Veggie Roll ($5.69). It was stuffed with 75% iceberg lettuce. At this point we've run out of water. We don't see our waitress, so we politely ask for more water from the host who seems upset that we bothered him. 20 minutes later the second roll comes out, this was one of their "specialty rolls" the Chili Pipe Roll ($12.07). It was deep fried in such a way that it'd make Colonel Sanders proud and tasted like a Jalapeno Popper stuffed with rice and covered with teriyaki sauce. There was a meat that tasted like chicken in it. Needless to say, we used our remaining water to "rinse our palettes". Again we ask for more water, this time from our waitress, who proceeds to overfill my friends glass to a point where water is running all over the table. 25 minutes later the third roll appears; another "specialty roll", the Angel Hair Roll ($12.07). And oh boy, was it special; this roll looked and smelled as if Lai Lai had substituted traditional sushi rice with fried rice and the drenched (and I do mean drenched) the roll with sauces to try and hide that fact. It was topped with faux crab meat that had turned stringy and whatever was inside of the roll was a mystery. We didn't touch that roll. We did take a picture of it for facebook though. This was by far the worst sushi I've ever had, accompanied by a rude host and a clumsy waitress, although she was very friendly and seem embarrassed to bring the food to our table. She didn't seem to have a problem charging us for it though.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Leeds
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Dim sum left a lot to be desired”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2011

I will keep it brief.

All the dim sum I tried was pretty much flavourless - the 'stuffed' items are all stuffed with the same pink (prawn and black pepper?) filler and covered in the same gloopy orange coloured goo.
The tea was luke warm.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Michigan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Excellent Dim Sum in otherwise generic Chinese restaurant”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2010

There are now a few places in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area that offer Dim Sum. Of these, Lai Lai is my favorite.

Since this place does ordering from a menu [which is not, as some people seem to think, "less authentic" than Dim Sum from carts] you get things fresh from the kitchen. That means they're not lukewarm or slimy from sitting in grease for a while.

Fried foods are plentiful and not overly greasy. Shrimp Balls are large and plentiful. Fried and pan fried dumplings are filled with tasty fillings. Scallion pancakes are the flatter kind and are a bit chewy, as they should be.

Other dishes are a delight. Garlic spareribs, cut into small pieces, have both a subtle sweetness and garlic flavor that is wonderful. Rice sheets with one of a number of meats are slippery and good. Rice steamed in lotus leaf, with chicken, sausage and other treasures, is a terrific mix of flavors. Shui mai may be the only thing I don't like, I find them bland.

There are also bigger dishes, meant to be shared but could serve as a meal for one. The pan-fried (twice yellow) noodles are tasty; the kind with black mushrooms has many of the rich, meaty mushrooms. The congees are wonderful comfort-food.

Unlike many of the local places Lai Lai offers Dim Sum every day until 3 pm. The price is low -- two people can fill up for under $20. If there was one thing I wish they had it was a proper jasmine tea.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Ann arbor, MI
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Lai Lai - Dim Sum Disappointment”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2009

You enter this restaurant and the first thing you see is a newspaper article from 1990 saying that Lai Lai has the best Dim Sum in Ann Arbor, though technically it is located in Ypsilanti. Unfortunately, the restaurant did little to live up to its former reputation.

The service was awkward, no one comes by to ask you if you need anything, or even to refresh your pot of tea. The table cloths (vinyl) are stained, and it makes you wonder whether anything has been updated in 20 years. Still you hold out hope, maybe the food is great, right?

Wrong. The food is bland, the brown sauce seems to reappear in multiple dishes making you feel like you're eating the same flavors repeatedly...oh wait, you are. The stuffed tofu was inedible, and the crusty taro is tasteless. Don't go for the scallion pancakes either unless you want to be chewing for days, it tastes as though they took it straight out of the freezer and deep fried it. The only highlight of this visit was the spring roll, but that was probably frozen too and if I just wanted a spring roll, I could have gone to a Chinese restaurant.

Definitely not worth the money, they need to taste their own food and work on revamping it.

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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