As an Asian-American, of course “Charlie Chan’s Ching Chong Roll” caught my eye. “Racist!” I thought. But wait, Bun Lai is Asian too, so I guess it’s okay. Then I read the description: “like having a Chinese disco party in your mouth!” Gross. Discos in China are sweaty, sticky and covered in cigarette butts. Please keep those things away from my mouth. But I decided to look past the poor description and choice of words — after all, English has never been the Chinese’s strength — and order the roll.
The roll consists of broccoli, roasted garlic and black beans. It’s $6.75 for six pieces. If you’ve ever had the spicy broccoli roll, consider this a better version. The garlic makes all the difference; not only does it add a savory touch, but it also amplifies the flavor of the entire roll. The broccoli is also covered in what appears to be a light tempura shell, and this adds a bit of texture to the fresh broccoli. Additionally, the black beans offer a nice earthy flavor. Overall, the taste is great, but the $1.12 you’re paying for each piece seems a bit too much. Still, if you’re looking for one of the nicer, savory rolls that doesn’t contain every ingredient known to mankind, then this fits the bill.
Want to Asian-ize your meal even more? The savory flavors of this roll pair well with the sweet Shinjuku Shimmy, a fresh hibiscus-flower-honey-beer-cocktail. Come during lunch hours, and you’ll even get a complimentary miso soup. And remember: if you thought your Hot-Headed Cowgirl Roll or Kwanzaa Bananzaa Roll was good, there’s always an Asian one that’s better.