Short Order: Cantonese home cooking at Moy's

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Barbecued pork and soy sauce braised chicken

Moy's is the definitionof a hole-in-the wall. Located in a narrow shop on High Street, it seems like this little Campus-area Chinese place has been here forever. The décor is, well, simple. But you don't come here for the ambiance; you come for honest Chinese food and perhaps a little mothering.

Moy's restaurant has been at 1994 N. High St. for 25 years. All that time Berlina Moy has been the host and server, tending to her customers with kindness and generosity.

On one recent visit we were treated to a tasty little bowl of chicken broth with mustard greens, slivers of ginger and a touch of motherly advice from Mrs. Moy: "Please eat. Ginger is good for the digestion." A visit on a chilly day brought a mild-but-flavorful, hot-and-sour soup thick with tofu, mushroom and bamboo shoots: "It will warm you up," she said.

Her husband Pak Moy is the chef. I don't know if he is as kind as his wife, but I like his food. Moy's does not stick to one style of Chinese cuisine, but offers Cantonese, Hunan and Szechuan and only a few of those Americanized Chinese dishes like wor sue gai. To my taste, what's best here is Cantonese home cooking, a specialty of the Moys' hometown of Hong Kong.

Good Cantonese food is (like most great cuisines) best when simplest. Chicken braised in soy sauce is a good example. Lightly flavored with soy sauce, anise and ginger, the dark-stained pieces of the bird (skin on) are juicy and pleasingly salty. This is a nice plate of food.

Likewise, barbecued pork is tasty and comforting; sweet around the edges, salty and not spicy, the mostly lean pork becomes fragrant in this simple treatment. Fatty, soft roast duck comes sliced like a loaf of bread, bones and all-it'sdelicious. Chicken, pork and roast duck come by themselves or in combination over rice with a small pile of cabbagey greens ($12.95).

This is not to criticize the other food-one day's Hunan eggplant with ground pork ($10.95) was more than credible, if a bit oily, and medium-spicy Ma Po Tofu ($7.95, $10.95 with ground pork) was fine.

Lively debates have been had around these parts about where to find "authentic" Chinese food. As I see it, Moy's deserves to be in the conversation.

Moy's Chinese Restaurant

(614) 297-7722