Americans have a love-hate relationship with Chinese food. They love it for its rich flavors, satisfying sauces, tender meats, and plump vegetables. The extreme abundance of Chinese restaurants in big cities (and rural villages) proves this. But somewhere along the way, Chinese food became known as a generic, salty, and cheap cuisine. And as much as people adore its flavor spectrum, they gasp at the nutritional content, and grow dehydrated from sodium overdoses.
Good news for those in Salt Lake City: this valley's best Chinese restaurants have figured out how to craft tasty dishes without sacrificing freshness - or relying on MSG as a primary spice. The kitchen of The Szechuan Garden, for example, is led by a five-star master chef, and is staffed with yet more chefs hailing from Hong Kong to San Francisco. This nationally recognized establishment offers creek-side patio dining and elegantly presented dishes. The Shanghai Cafe specializes in vegetarian cuisine, providing non-meat-eaters with more variety than just tofu as a main dish. In fact, the imitation “chicken” used at this restaurant is so tasty that non-vegetarians opt for this in favor of the real deal.
If you feeling like eating at home, call Sampan for delivery or takeout; this reliably good restaurant offers enormous portions for little cost. Or if you prefer to stick with a familiar - though high-end - chain, head downtown and to P.F. Chang's.
Lastly, if you like dim sum as much as I do, then consider heading to Hong Kong Tea House or Ho Ho Gourmet.