Orange Chicken – A Local Favorite
This Chinese Restaurant Has Been on San Antonio’s Food Map for Over 30 Years
and is Still Considered “The Best” Among Locals
**Full Disclosure: My husband and I received lunch in exchange for my review. All opinions are mine.
Ding How is a family rich in history, steeped in tradition and passionate about creating excellent food continuously over the past 30 years.
The Huey family have been residents of San Antonio since K. A. Huey first set foot here in 1916. K. A. was a master chef who learned his cooking techniques in China. In 1938 he opened his own business, Hung Fong, Ding How’s sister restaurant, which still remains in their original location on Broadway today. K. A. Huey taught his son K. J. Huey how to cook his treasured recipes. (K. J. was later given the name Maury Maverick after his father’s friend & attorney who helped K. J. immigrate to the United States from China and obtain his citizenship). He, in turn, taught his cooking skills to his children, K. A. Huey’s grandsons, Maury Maverick Huey, Jr., & Maurice Huey, who took over the helm of Hung Fong and Ding How respectively. Hung Fong has been open for business for over 70 years and Ding How for over 30 years which says they are obviously doing something right. Maurice’s son William and daughter-in-law Lisa, the fourth generation of the Huey family, are both currently running Ding How.
Ding How is loved by the locals. In fact, many of them come here to eat almost on a weekly basis and always order one or two of their favorite dishes when dining here. These dishes have become comfort food for them as many have been coming here since they were children. These loyal customer are like family to the Hueys now. This also speaks highly of the restaurant!
Another impressive fact is that many of the employees on staff today have been with the restaurant since its inception. They have come to know the returning customers so well they seat them at a favorite table and bring their favorite foods without being asked. These loyal patrons love this special attention to detail and being treated like family.
Ding How takes pride in preparing traditional Chinese cuisine using authentic cooking utensils and methods learned in China and handed down through four generations of the Huey family. Although they no longer have to grow their own bean sprouts as they once did when Hung Fong opened, they still make sure they find the freshest, most authentic ingredients needed for each dish to pass inspection. Their recipes have been passed down from K. A. Huey’s original masterpieces and everything is still painstakingly chopped, marinated and prepared as it was done years ago.
It is this tradition that enables patrons to taste the quality and freshness in every meal Ding How brings to the table. And it is this tradition that keep bringing people back to this restaurant after so many years.
A side note: On the day I visited Ding How, Diana Huey, Maury Sr.’s wife was making Dim Sum in the kitchen because they had family visiting from out-of-town and it is a tradition to make these dumplings when they have family visit. Unfortunately, you won’t find these dumplings on the menu.
But tradition isn’t just in the food. You will also find tradition in the architectural details of the restaurant. The Chinese people believe certain colors or placement of furniture or other objects (Feng Shui) will bring good fortune and good luck. When you look around the restaurant, you will notice many Chinese objects which are meant to bring the restaurant luck and wealth. You will also see the colors green and red repeated throughout the restaurant as well as on the outside of the building. The color green symbolizes wealth and health, while the color red symbolizes good luck. (Judging from the many people that keep returning to Ding How and the fact that the restaurant is still popular after 30+ years, this all seems to be working for them.)
Many of the items in the restaurant were made just for the restaurant and imported. Be sure to notice the Teak-wood panels on the walls which were custom made.
Yes, Ding How is steeped in tradition.
Today we got to try some of the long time customer favorites, all of which we enjoyed immensely.
Starting with an appetizer assortment called the Pu Pu platter, which included shrimp toast, barbecued ribs, teriyaki beef, egg roll, crab rangoon and fried dumplings, I knew I was going to fall in love with Ding How. Everything on that platter, I mean everything, was wonderful. Had that been it for the meal, I would have gone home happy and full. Everything on the platter was delicious, but if you want to try a real treat, try the Shrimp Toast. Those alone will bring you back to this restaurant!
However, there are so many other wonderful treasures on the menu here, you have to keep going. The soups are all worth trying, and I can tell you both the Egg Drop and Hot & Sour will be remembered. Both are rich in fresh ingredients and delightful. They have several other soups that sound equally appealing which I will try next time I am dining here.
Some of the all-time customer favorite entrees are the Lemon Chicken, Orange Chicken, Beef with Broccoli Stir Fry, Combination Lo Mein, and the Shrimp Fried Rice all of which were presented to us to enjoy.
The Combination Lo Mein, with its noodles, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shrimp, pork, chicken and other savory vegetables all in a delicious brown sauce, was probably my favorite. It has been a long time since I have had this dish and I have probably never had it cooked this tasty. It was a childhood favorite of mine so I guess you could call it a comfort food for me.
My second favorite dish was probably the Orange Chicken. The nice, clean burst of oranges combined with the spicy kick of the peppers was such a beautiful combination. The more than ample amount of chicken breast-meat was battered and stir-fried before having the slightly sweet, tangy sauce added to it. If you love citrus, this would be your dish.
The Beef with Broccoli was the traditional tender marinated beef with broccoli stir fried just enough to coax the flavor from the broccoli while leaving it crisp. The brown sauce was perfect in every way. If you are a beef lover, this is a healthy way to eat beef.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Lemon Chicken. I loved that it was lightly breaded chicken breast that was prepared in a healthier way with the very light lemon sauce served on the side so you could add as much or as little as you want. The chicken came sliced and was fork tender.This is a great choice for the health conscious diner.
Even though all the dishes we tried came with rice, we were also served a plate of shrimp fried rice. With the scallions, bean sprouts and shrimp, this could also be used as an entree. The rice was soft, firm and not the least bit greasy. Great dish!
Mark my words, I will be back to dine at Ding How, and I will be sending all my friends here as well.
While we were dining at the restaurant, we were honored to meet and talk with many members of the Huey family. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent food and the warm hospitality of the Huey family and their employees. But it is the stories of the family’s history and traditions that will linger with us for years to come.
They have lunch specials Monday – Friday Served 11:00 am – 2:30 pm. Their lunch specials are very popular, so they can be quite busy during lunch hours.
Ding How also has a full bar, private rooms for parties and they offer take out.
Ding How is easy to find – just look for the Chinese building on stilts at 410 and Callaghan Rd. It was built on stilts to allow for more parking for this very popular restaurant. From the beginning, Maurice knew he wouldn’t have trouble filling this restaurant with returning patrons.
4531 Northwest Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78229
Mon. – Thurs. 11am – 9:00pm
Fri. – Sat. 11am – 10:00pm
Sun. 12pm – 9:00pm