How big is your wok? Mongolian BBQ at Big Wok

Husband is a big fan of Mongolian BBQ.  When we discovered an all-you-can-eat place in Manhattan Beach during one of our exploratory drives, he was ecstatic.  Big Wok has now become one of our “go to” places for when we don’t feel like cooking and want something inexpensive and filling to eat.

Wok me, Amadeus

This place is pretty popular, especially during the dinner hours.  We usually try to get there  earlier so that we don’t have to wait in lines to get our food and have it cooked. We’ve never had to wait to be seated and are always greeted quickly by a smiling waitress.  Service here has always been great.  Parking on the other hand…

Meat, meat, meat

Just some of the veggie offerings

Big Wok operates like any other AYCE Mongolian BBQ.   You grab a bowl, fill it with semi-frozen slices of meat, vegetables and noodles.  Then you top it off with various sauces and hand the dish to a cook who gives you back a plate of steaming hot yummy eats.  The selection at Big Wok isn’t as big as other places I’ve been to but it has enough variety to make for interesting combinations.

The meat section offers turkey, chicken, pork, beef and lamb.  I usually do a  combo of chicken, beef and lamb, sometimes pork.  There’s also tofu for the vegetarians.

As for veggies, there’s your usual culprits – zucchini, green onions, celery, mushrooms, chopped green and red cabbage.  There’s also spinach, tomato, water chestnuts, baby corn…well, you get the idea.

Pick your sauce

There’s a good variety of sauces.  Regular BBQ oil, spicy BBQ oil, garlic water, ginger water, curry sauce, lemon water, chili oil…  There’s a card with a few combinations but, like all other Mongolian BBQ places I’ve ate at, I find it best if you at least double the number of spoonfuls.  Otherwise, you end up with a bland dish.  I like to use the spicy BBQ oil, garlic water (be sure to add in the garlic chips), a little ginger water and a spoonful of chili oil.  I think I may have to add in more chili as it never comes out as spicy as I want.

There's meat under all that...

Mmmm mmmm....

I don’t usually do noodles as I prefer rice.  I’m not sure why.  I do like noodles but I never get them at Mongolian BBQ places.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to fill up on them when I know I’m also going to get “mana biscuits”.  Husband, on the other hand, is the opposite.  He loads up on meat and noodles.  Completely skips the veggie section…*sigh*

Oodles of noodles

Hey, where's the greens?

Mana Biscuits

Back to the “mana biscuits”.  What I’m talking about are those Chinese flat sesame-crusted bread thingies.  Husband and I used to play a lot of WoW and talked about having a guild party at our place and doing a WoW themed menu.  We decided that these bread items would be perfect “mana biscuits”.  I know, we’re dorks…  I love these things, though.  Husband doesn’t eat them since he’s got oodles of noodles on his plate so I always gobble them up.  There’s a nice crispness on the outside; the inside is warm and a little chewy.  I like to wipe the plate with them…so good!

Our total bill, tip included, ranges from $25-30 depending on if we get drinks or not.  Big Wok also offers some sides like fried shrimp, kimchee, soup and wontons but I’ve never ordered them and never seen anyone else with those dishes on their table.

I give Big Wok 3 1/2 NOMs!

Big Wok
250 N Sepulveda Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 798-1155
Big Wok Mongolian BBQ on Urbanspoon

Sea Siam

I wouldn’t consider Sea Siam the best Thai restaurant; in fact, it’s just okay. But it’s a quick place to grab some Thai and one of the most awesome wonton soups I’ve tasted.

I had the green curry lunch special which was average but very heavy on the bell pepper and lacking in the zucchini.  However, the amount of chicken (can also be ordered with beef, pork or tofu) was decent and surprisingly, the chicken had a lot of flavor.  I liked that they used a peanut sauce as their salad dressing but the salad itself was just shredded cabbage with a slice of cucumber and tomato. The “fried wonton” that came with the lunch special ended up just being a fried wonton wrapper…no filling?!?!?! That was odd and disappointing.

A coworker ordered a pot of the wonton soup as her meal.  I tried a little bowl and it blew me away.  The broth was bursting with flavor which made me think that they made it from scratch and the dumplings were plump with filling.  Served hot (but not scalding) in the typical metal pot you see in most, if not all, Thai restaurants, this was a great dish for a cold rainy day.  I would come back just to order this.  And looking around at some of the other tables, it seems that the wonton soup is popular among customers.

The prices are fairly inexpensive. Lunch for 3 ladies (2 lunch specials, a pot of wonton soup, 2 hot teas) came out to $28 (including tax and tip). The service is good though our waitress seemed to have some trouble with her English.

I would come back here because it’s very close to where I work and the prices are good for the amount of food. And the wonton soup….soo good!

3 NOMs for Sea Siam.

Sea Siam
16103 Bolsa Chica St
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(714) 846-8986
Sea Siam on Urbanspoon