I recently took a business trip to Detroit and when I checked into my downtown hotel the front desk guy told me that the hotel restaurant and room service were out of commission, but here have some menus for pizza delivery. So I donned my Mighty Mighty Bosstones hoodie and took to the streets for a dumpling hunt in downtown Detroit. In pretty short order I came across a liquor store and New China 1, the local ghetto Chinese take-out. The guys in the liquor store gave me some top tips on food at New China 1 and their recommendation for the Pork Lo Mein was spot on. New China 1 has also won some recent accolades, in 2010 it made the Top 100 list “In recognition of Excellence in Chinese Cuisine” in the Top Takeouts category.
New China 1 showed the remnants of the bad-old days, there was the remainder of a plexiglass partition that in the past would have divided customers from staff and there was a rotating air-lock like device that your food would have been passed through. At some point in the past the staff would have been completely sealed off from the customers. Today some of the plexiglass has been removed and you can hand your cash directly to the teller and the rotating air-lock is used to hold menus.
The Dumplings: I was skeptical about what I was getting myself into, but holy crap, the fried pork dumplings were great. They had clearly been cooked in the deep fryer, but the rather than the thick doughy wrappers your usually get at Chinese take-out joints, these were thin and delicate like gyoza wrappers. The filling was a mix of pork and scallions and was savory and flavorful, with pepper flavor that came through from the scallions.
The Dipping Sauce: New China 1 nailed this too. The sauce was a mix of soy, chili oil and lots of crushed red peppers. It was a serious chili dipping sauce with a ton of heat.
The Location: You can find New China 1 at 7414 Woodward Avenue, just north-east of Grand Blvd. It is half a block over from the police station and two doors down from the liquor store/convenience store. The guys in the liquor store are totally friendly and if asked will tell you all about local food in Detroit. If you are staying at the St. Regis Hotel go check out New China 1.