We've all had the experience of walking into a Chinese restaurant and being handed a menu that looks exactly like the menu in every other Chinese restaurant we've been to: egg rolls, wonton soup, kung pao chicken, moo shu pork, sweet and sour shrimp, you know the drill.
Mandarin Restaurant in Fountain Valley has all that, but also some intriguing authentic dishes that will titillate the tongues of adventurous diners. These dishes are classics in China but less well known here except among the Asian community.
We're talking about loofah in crab sauce, intestine in hot pot and sea cucumber with shrimp egg. There is, in fact, a whole category of sea cucumber and abalone dishes. Bean skin roll, jellyfish, filet of eel and sliced tripe in sour cabbage soup are also found here.
We were not brave enough to order any of these, but we did have some dishes that were not familiar to us that we quite enjoyed.