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Three Sisters Tacoma Szechuan

Just like a trip to Tasty Town, Fried Foodville and other delicious yet make-believe destinations

REEN ONION PAN CAKE: looking quesadilla, feeling omelet

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Three Sisters Tacoma Szechuan

Where:  9601 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood, 253.581.0102
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily, lunch special, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday
Cuisine: Szechuan and Chinese
Scene: Casual family-friendly dining
Drinkies: Standard nonalcoholic drinks
Prices: $3.99-$17.95

ANNOUNCER: After the most gluttonous of feasts in the name of thankfulness last month, what better way to continue the spirit than by sharing? Three Sisters Tacoma Szechuan offers more than 150 menu items of interesting dishes such as whole fish, pork tripe, kidney, black fungus, cold chicken, and rabbit in addition to well-known General Tsao’s chicken, sweet and sour pork, and Buddha’s delight. A family combination dinner is the way to go and is great for sharing at this Szechuan and Chinese restaurant — one of the best in the South Sound. After all, family combination dining isn’t called a miser’s meal. Tucked back in a newer Korean grocery and shopping plaza on South Tacoma Way, the financial lure of the $6.95 lunch combination plate is equally undeniable.

JAKE: A small complementary dish of celery, carrot and onion tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce was served immediately. We chomped this while reading the menu and listening to, oddly, American country pop. A piping hot green onion pan cake arrived next. Not sweet, it’s cooked in omelet fashion and looks like a quesadilla. We went with family combination dining. You get choice of soup, rice and entrée. It’s right on the money — boatloads of food, great price and guaranteed leftovers.

JASON: Of egg flower, wonton and hot and sour, I chose wonton. Not fancy or dazzling, but it does have a nice, evenly salted broth with plump meat-filled clouds floating near the bottom among bits of green onion.

JAKE: My egg flower was full of whorls of golden egg and was mellow on the salt side. Jason, I agree, these soups are not dazzling, but they aren’t anywhere we’ve been yet. I look at them as filler. As far as rice goes, the barbecued fried type was a dish straight from Tasty Town. An abundance of barbecued pork chunks gave it a jumpin’ savory taste. The white rice was, er, white rice.

JASON: Don’t forget about the fried appetizer plate from Fried Foodville. The egg roll had a crisp outer shell that crackled apart when I bit into it. Inside held a surprisingly good mix of cabbage shredded into ribbons, carrot, and salt and pepper. I’m usually disappointed by egg rolls, but this was good. Chicken wings? Not so much. They were so small, barely had any meat on them and weren’t worth the effort they took to eat. Cheese filled fried wontons were little greasy pouches of goodness. Isn’t it funny how grease can be a welcome attribute in one dish and abhorrent in another?

JAKE: I’m with you there. Grease and cheese are on my approved list — especially if said grease makes said cheese crisp. Deeeelicious! And yeah, hot wings were blah. One big, breaded prawn was fried to within an inch of its life. Er, my life? We each had a bite and tossed it back.

JASON: My cumin lamb was the mayor of Tasty Town; that’s how good it was. Thin, marinated lamb strips had a bit of fat, giving the dish a bump in richness. Quite tender meat gave easily at tooth touch. White onion and green and red bell peppers made up half the dish. Plentiful dried chili pepper pods were carefully avoided after a first blind forkful nearly made my head explode.

JAKE: I’ve watched you eat dime-sized pieces of wasabi and not get that reaction. Mom always said to watch what we put in our mouths. I went the way of the sea in ordering a fantastic tasting dish of prawn and octopus. Thick, hot garlic sauce wasn’t remotely scorching; no way that’s four stars. Come on, hurt me already. Sadly, prawns were a tad overcooked. Octopi in long thick ropes notched with a frill pattern making them look almost otherworldly mingled with bushy broccoli, snow pea pods, baby corn, and carrot. Sauce was good, no complaint there.

JASON: No one asked if we wanted dessert. Orange slices arrived with the bill. I pouted like a 5-year-old.

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