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Friday, March 28, 2014

Nashville Food Friday: Lucky Bamboo

A review of chinese food at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
One of the things I miss most about living in New York is the Chinese food. The little town I grew up in had some of the best Chinese food (BBQ spare ribs for the win!) and I was only a short train ride away from NYC's Chinatown. All the dim sum and bean cakes I could stomach were at my disposal. Upon moving to Nashville, all of my dumpling dreams where shattered (well, at least until I found my favorite local Chinese place China Cottage). Lucky Bamboo (recently reopened with the folks from Green Hills' Chinatown) brings a little bit of New York Chinese style down to Nashville. They serve dim sum on the weekends, but on this cold night we went for their specialty: THE HOT POT.
A review of chinese food at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
A review of chinese food at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
The inside of this place is crazy. It almost reminds me of a Disney themed restaurant in the Chinese portion of EPCOT, or something you might find in Vegas. There is a giant rock fountain in the center of the dining room filled to the brim with really pretty koi.
A review of chinese food at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
Opposite the bamboo covered bar is a full wall mural of pandas. Pandas just hanging out, having fun and watching you eat. I could have sworn that their eyes followed me around the room. The place is big, with only half of it being used for diners. Behind a partition is another large dining space with what appears to be a stage and karaoke setup just begging to be used. I wonder if this part of the space will ever be used to serve diners, or perhaps it's just for private parties.
Dumplings at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
To start we had small BBQ pork dumplings. They took a while to arrive at our table (an appetizer that arrived with the main dishes) but they were solid dumplings. The dough was thick and substantial without being so fluffy that it overpowered the fillings. 
Pig Feet at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
The special of the day was Szechuan pigs feet. Luckily for me I went with a group of friends that are adventurous eaters like myself and it was a no-brainer to order this. The pigs feet were cooked slow and low and then stir fried with the hottest of peppers, peanuts and celery. Pigs feet, if you've never had it, have a very odd texture- a mixture of skin, fat and cartilage. I loved them especially because they soaked up all the flavor and were super tender. This dish was HOT. If you accidentally ate one of the red peppers your mouth was ON FIRE.
Hot Pot at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
Empty hot pot
The main course was the Ying Yang hot pot (this was half of the mild house soup and half of the scorching hot Szechuan soup). Hot pot, if you're not familiar with it, is similar to fondue or shabu-shabu. You're served a boiling hot pot of broth that is kept at temperature with a portable burner, and you select various vegetables, meats, and noodles which you boil in the broth. This is a fabulous meal for a cold night and an even better meal when you go with a group of friends. Hot pot is communal and it's best when you get to order a lot of things and share!
Hot Pot at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
The basics for the hot pot are cabbage, spinach, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, mushrooms and some crab sticks. In addition to this you're given a menu for what you can put in your hot pot and you pay by the ingredient. We ordered so many things that they didn't fit on the table- but here's a list of all the goodies that went into our hot pot:
  • beef
  • lamb
  • jumbo prawn
  • fried tofu
  • taro
  • bok choi
  • enoki mushroom
  • bamboo shoot
  • woodear mushroom
  • udon noodles
Hot Pot at Lucky Bamboo in Nashville Tennessee
Hot pot with tons of stuff
We tended to put the stuff that takes longer to cook into the pot first, like the pumpkin and taro. The meat cooked in under a minute and the cabbage seemed to soak up all of the spice. When things are done you just kind of dig in with a ladle or your chopsticks and pull out what you want. I had fun fishing for things and yelling out "I found a taro, who wants taro?" I honestly loved the hot soup better, mostly because I like the punishment of the hot peppers.

Overall I really enjoyed the hot pot and I would go back for it any time. Even with ordering all of that food our checks were still fairly cheap (split between 5 about $15 per person). Jennifer, our waitress was helpful, polite, and happy to explain everything to us hot pot novices. When next winter rolls around I'm sure I'll want a hot pot just as frequently as pho. Now, I have to go back to Lucky Bamboo for their dim sum and see how that compares to New York.

Lucky Bamboo China Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Ooh this is making me so hungry haha! I would love to try out the hot pot.. or the spicy soup

  2. ::raises hand to volunteer to go back with you to taste dim sum::


  3. OOOH! I am with aubrey....text me next time you go. Jamie is a non-adventurous eater so he would never in 200000000 years be down for this. LET'S go! I need to experience this panda-filled magic.


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