Dish of the Year

Malaysian Curry Chicken in Hot Pot – Bamboo Terrace

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It’s hard to imagine the same people behind the late, not-so-great Great Wall Chinese Restaurant over by the mall are also responsible for Bamboo Terrace, which opened by the Walmart on West Broadway in 2012 and has been made into – arguably – Columbia’s best Asian restaurant. Tasting the freshness of the ingredients they now work with and the pride they clearly take in every dish, one can only guess how much it must have hurt to serve crappy steam-table “Chinese” food. Having trained in China and worked in kitchens from New York City to Las Vegas, they knew how to make the good stuff. They just weren’t sure Columbia was ready. A year and a half later, I think it’s safe to say that we were. It’s also safe to to say that Celeste Chen, John Jiang, Ming Lu and Xiu Lu finally have something to be very proud of indeed.

Traditionally Americanized goodies like House Special Lo Mein, fried rices and Mongolian beef will satisfy the less adventurous. The wonton soup will delight all comers. But there’s more – lots more. Chicken with Basil Leaf is a Thai-style stir-fry that’ll keep you reaching for the bowl of rice (and, even with soup and egg roll, will set you back just $7.25 at lunch). Japanese-style udon noodles are thick and comforting and my son’s favorite. Stir-Fried Sole Fish pairs bright, fresh-tasting fish with crunchy sugar snap peas and pickles, a surprising addition that gives the dish a fun, sour kick. The lettuce wraps are wonderful. Finally, Bamboo Terrace’s specials and the no-longer-secret Chinese menu give executive chef John Jiang free rein to serve stir-fried duck with tofu and a steak and beef lung dish, served cold, that blew me away and won over even a squeamish Mrs. SMEs. Something for everybody here.

But the dish I kept coming back for again and again last year, a dish that offers the highest ceiling and general appeal, is the Malaysian Curry Chicken in Hot Pot. Tender cubes of chicken thigh and chunks of potato are simmered in a spicy, basil-scented coconut curry broth. I haven’t been to Malaysia, so for me it’s southern Thailand in a bowl – a very large, very hot clay bowl with a lid. Everything cooked just right, balanced and composed, order after order. It even works as takeout, though I recommend you eat in – the attentive staff and charming matriarch of the operation being part of the fun. Plus, they (finally) have a liquor license, so you can beat back the heat in anything you order with a couple of Tsing Taos (they’re also more than happy to dial down the heat – just ask).

Bamboo Terrace
3101 W Broadway, Suite 101
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 886-5555

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7 Responses to “Dish of the Year”

  1. Another Michael Says:

    “Finally, Bamboo Terrace’s specials and the no-longer-secret Chinese menu give executive chef John Jiang free rein to serve stir-fried duck with tofu and a steak and beef lung dish, served cold, that blew me away and won over even a squeamish Mrs. SMEs.”

    Scott, this menu you speak of with the more authentic dishes…is it a separate menu or is the stuff on the main menu? I looked up the place on Yelp and it led me to their website. I looked at the menu and I see nothing about the steak and beef lung dish. It sounds awesome. Thanks.

  2. Another Michael Says:

    Never mind. I found it. It’s under the “Specials Menu” on their site. Looks great!

  3. Scott Says:

    In the restaurant it’s a separate menu, printed on white paper. But they have it readily accessible now…it was kind of hidden away for awhile. Good luck!

  4. claygirlsings Says:

    I tried one of the hot pots after you last spoke so highly of them. It was wonderful! Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Eugene Says:

    Heartily agree with your choice. There aren’t that many “must eat” dishes in Columbia, but this is definitely one of them.

  6. Another Michael Says:

    Scott does not lie with this article. This place has some really great food! My wife and I went there last night to try it out and we left rather satisfied.

    Upon his recommendation, I had the Malaysian Style Curry Chicken in Hot Pot and my wife had the Roast Salmon with Red Curry Sauce. My dish was superb and my wife loved hers. We did order and share the steak with beef lung dish and we both loved it! Granted, I had to persuade my wife to try it, but once she did she was hooked. For appetizers we had the vegetable rolls and the curry seafood rangoons.

    All in all, it was an awesome meal. As a side note, we spoke with the (manager?) lady who worked up front for a bit. She told us that when she saw the order for the steak and lung dish, she was curious as to who was ordering it, since it’s mainly ordered by the Chinese…either way, she thought it was cool we were trying stuff off the special menu. Also, I told her we were trying this spot based on this blog and she mentioned you by name and said they had a bit of a spike with the orders of the hot pot dish.

    Hey, advertising works!

  7. Scott Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. And yes, through the frequency of our visits we’ve become friendly with the front of the house staff and they are aware that I’m the author of this blog. For what it’s worth, though, I get no special treatment there (aside from a small, complimentary sample of the beef lung dish that one time) and comments like yours indicate I am not alone in singing their praises. Always happy to steer people to the good stuff!

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