Lancaster County Magazine:
Grand China will celebrate its 24th anniversary in
September, which prompts owner Karen Koo to report that
she and her husband Kenny are now greeting second and
third generations of customers.
“We haven’t made many changes in the restaurant,” Karen notes of the casual atmosphere, friendly service and continued focus on freshly prepared food. The restaurant’s exterior maintains its nod to the Chinese fare that attracts guests. Chinese foo dogs (stylized statues found in the Buddhist religion) stand guard at the entrance. Inside, an aquarium filled with brightly colored and astonishingly immense goldfish (and other varieties) brings a smile to many a customer and delights children.
The walls are hung with artwork created by Siang Hua Wang, a professional artist and retired server at Grand China. Born in China, the artist and his parents later immigrated to Taiwan when communism took over mainland China. Art and painting were his main interests throughout his life. He studied at the National Art College of Taiwan and Art University of Osaka, Japan. In 1981, he toured the United States and, determined to stay in Lancaster County, became a U.S. citizen in 1995. He worked at the restaurant since its opening and retired after 22 years of service. “He may be retired, but since we’ve become an unofficial studio for his work, it feels like he’s still here,” Karen observes. “People really enjoy the artwork and comment when something new is hung.”
Grand China’s menu focuses on traditional Chinese cuisine including Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan and Mandarin items. In the past year or two, these have been augmented by seaweed salad, rice seaweed roll a smattering of Thai cuisine (including coconut soup with chicken or shrimp, stir fry, curry, chicken or shrimp pad Thai and pineapple fried rice). Karen says that pineapple fried rice joins the restaurant’s list of other popular items such as General Tso’s Chicken and Eight Treasure Duck, for which the duck is roasted and de-boned, then is topped with a mixture of vegetables, scallops, shrimp, pork and chicken. Seafood dishes are also on the most-requested list.
Menu items are made to order and prepared using fresh ingredients. The seafood is authentic – imitation crab and lobster are not used. Soups, appetizers and sauces are made fresh on the premises; the chef makes his own hot sauce – a spicy chili paste – that Karen says really appeals to customers.
The entire menu is available for take-out. “We have a lot of customers who prefer to dine-in and enjoy the atmosphere, but take-out has been growing,” she notes.
To complement the meal, Grand China offers a full bar including wine, beer and cocktails, one of which is a house drink named for Kenny – “Dr. Koo.”
Grand China Chinese Reataurant, 1509 Oregon Pike, Lancaster, 299-9234.