Chopsticks with their main branch in Nawala stuck to our memory as one of those unexpected places that offer some good Chinese fare with a Lankan twist. Now they've launched another branch, near Pepiliyana junction.
Their menu is quite extensive. Starting with, a list of soups followed by, rice and noodle dishes, and then a range of proteins cooked in different styles. Then they have a separate section featuring some set menus, lunch packs and a few Western dishes - Fish & Chips, Nasi etc. Like always, we decided to stick with their Sri Lankan Chinese dishes, which they're known for.
First hand, to prepare our tummies for the meal, we ordered ourselves a Sweet-Corn Soup. But given there was only two of us and we ordered mains as well, the waiter was kind enough to tell that the soup is rather large. Hence we resorted to half the portion size, putting it at Rs. 230.
There was a decent amount of corn hiding among the sea of egg whites. While we would have liked to see a bit more corn, what was there can be justified and cooked deliciously. The silky egg whites added a good texture and the soup was adequately thick while the bits of sweet corn adding a swirl of sweetness.
As for our mains, we ordered a portion of Chopsticks Special Fried Rice (Rs. 633), Diced Chicken w/ Hot Garlic Sauce (Rs. 633) and a Sweet & Sour Pork (Rs. 690).
Chopsticks Special Fried Rice had a hefty portion size that can easily be shared between three. The rice was cooked well without being oily and seasoned well. The highlight of it was noticing that there it is plentiful with bits of shrimp, beef, pork, chicken and eggs. We were glad that they didn’t skimp on the ingredients and there was a lot of veggies slipped in too.
Our Diced Chicken w/ Hot Garlic Sauce looked a tad bit underwhelming, but the taste was not. The sizeable chicken pieces were marinated well, and had soaked up all of the spices in the sauce to be a flavour explosion but without losing the chicken flavour. There was a hint of garlic present in the sauce which we thought they could have bumped up a bit, but that wasn’t really necessary given all the flavours at play. We got a nice level of heat from the chilli flakes too. An excellent dish to pair your rice with.
Sweet And Sour Pork, however, ended up being a bit of “huh?” moment for us. They have covered up the pork chunks in a batter, fried it and then added to the sauce.
As for the good stuff here, the sauce here was on point with the sourness, making us smack our lips every time we get that rich pineapple. It was a bit lower on the sweet side compared to the sour level but, honestly, we enjoyed it very much with the pieces of carrots, and maalu miris adding to the crunch.
Now, what should have been the highlight, the pork, which didn’t impress us much. The pork pieces itself were a tad chewy and didn’t carry any flavour. This came as a surprise given the amount of flavour the sauce had. The batter itself made the pieces looked more puffed up than they are but there which sort of got in the way of that delightful sauce.
The place itself was adequately spacious and had seating to hold up around 15 people. When we dropped by there was a power cut but it didn’t get toasty inside either. However, the open door would bring the noises of the road to you, also an occasional fly or two. Which we think won't be a serious issue since they do have an AC unit.
The waiter was very polite and prompt with his service. He never lost track of us and was only just an eye contact away. The food didn’t take a long time - especially the soup came to us within 5 minutes which was impressive given it was steaming hot.
Chopsticks at Pepiliyana can be easy to overlook, but as we feel that it’s something you shouldn’t do. Their menu is all inclusive of taxes so what you pay is what you see and that is a good value for the portion size they offer and the taste. If you are in the area, especially with a group or you want to take away some good Chinese food, they are a solid option.
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