30 November, 2022, 23:47

Zing Zing’s: Authentic Chinese Cuisine off Sixth Street with a Stand-out Lunch Combo

Go for the lunch combo braised pork belly and eggplant with green peppers.

If it wasn’t for an initial tip, we wouldn’t have known Zing Zing’s existed.

The facade features a glass garage door covered with photos of food, while the name Zing Zing’s is hidden in the center. The interior features a sleek modern minimalist design with about 25 seats and what appears to be exclusively Chinese students occupying tables.

Walk up to the counter to order. Staff is friendly but English skills vary.

The menu features a long list with exclusive regional dishes such as Xiangxi Stir-Fried Beef ($14.99) and Soup Noodles with Saozi ($9.99). They’re good, but they’re not the star.

What to order

Get the Fast Food Combo with one meat and one vegetable ($7.99) and choose from the Panda Express-like heat lamp trays.

Instead of super-sugary Orange Chicken and generic vegetables however, Zing Zing’s offers options such as braised pork belly and stir-fried eggplant and peppers.

Combo A with eggplant and pork at Zing Zing's (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Combo A with eggplant and pork at Zing Zing’s (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Even though the dishes are under a heat lamp, they still tasted fresh. The eggplant was soft, sweet, and packed with soy umami. The braised pork belly had those same qualities, but also had a slight chew along with the fragrance of star anise and clove.

Each table has a bowl of hot chili oil, a soy sauce dispenser, and a black vinegar dispenser. The sauce isn’t really needed since most dishes are well-seasoned, but the noodle dishes benefit from a boost of acidity from the vinegar. And everything can benefit from the lip-tingling chili oil.

Outstanding lunch combo

The lunch combo on the menu is outstanding considering the price and speed. The menu has been updated recently and now features Hunan options as well.

Soup Noodles with Saozi at Zing Zing's (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Soup Noodles with Saozi at Zing Zing’s (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Same owner, different restaurant, same commitment to authentic food

After the initial success of Zing Zing’s, owner Nan “Shaun” Xu was encouraged to expand. Xu took over ownership of East Tucson Chinese restaurant China Bamboo with the hopes of bringing an “authentic Chinese food culture to more people in the world”. Both establishments have contributed to our growing niche of restaurants offering authentic Chinese cuisine in Tucson.

Zing Zing’s is located at 1122 E. Sixth St. and open daily from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit beyondmenu.com or call (520) 867-8898.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.