12 September, 2019, 23:21

Handmade dumplings & whole grilled fish star at “Fish Wok”

Eccentric items include Spicy Crawfish Rice, Kimchi Bacon Cheese Fried Rice, and Shanxi Style Rougamo

While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I noticed a sponsored post for the special spicy grilled fish at Yu Zi Wei. It had over 1,000 likes, so they probably spent considerable money on the advertisement.

From a restaurant that had absolutely no web presence on my first visit, I was surprised to find they invested in social media advertising. I was surprised they even had an Instagram profile at all. They also referred to the restaurant as Yu Zi Wei (Fish Wok), so I assumed Fish Wok was the English translation.

Intrigued, I scrolled down to find what else was new. I noticed new items such as house-made Spicy Dumplings in chili oil.

You don’t have to say dumplings in chili oil twice to get me somewhere.

Facade at Fish Wok

Facade at Fish Wok (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The restaurant at 2601 E. Speedway Blvd. previously held Szechuan Omei, which closed after four decades in business. The Yu Zi Wei sign was still up, and I thought the restaurant was still Yu Zi Wei. The interior was nearly identical; white walls with food photos and lamps over the tables. The only addition I noticed was a Wilbur the Wildcat vertical banner sign in the middle of the dining room.

I was also surprised to have non-Chinese server fluent in English; on my previous visit didn’t speak any English to me aside from “thank you.” I asked her questions about the Instagram and updated menu, and it turns out Yu Zi Wei actually closed a few months ago the restaurant is now under new ownership as Fish Wok.

With a folded menu now in front of me, I studied the details in more depth; the whole fish premise of Yu Zi Wei remained, but the menu expanded. While I didn’t care for the introduction of Americanized dishes such as sweet and sour chicken, I was excited for the eccentric additions: Spicy Crawfish Rice, Kimchi Bacon Cheese Fried Rice, and Shanxi Style Rougamo.

The new menu also includes a selection of boba tea, milk tea, fruit tea, smoothies, and slushies.

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Special spicy grilled whole fish

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While the lunch special menu (available 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) featured $6.95 American classics such as sesame chicken and the like, I was excited to see their $8.95 special. The combo included their House Spicy Beef Noodle SoupFried Spring Roll, and House-made Potato Salad.

I ordered the Fried Spring Rolls ($2), Spicy Garlic Cucumber Salad ($4.95), Rougamo ($5.95), and small Spicy Dumplings bowl ($6.75).

The spring rolls were standard, light and crispy with a vegetable filling. The cucumbers weren’t actually spicy, but packed bold raw garlic flavor; a bit heavy on sesame, so add a little of the tableside black vinegar to balance it out.

Shanxi Style Rougamo at Fish Wok

Shanxi Style Rougamo at Fish Wok (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Rougamo would tickle your fancy if you like cabeza tacos; the filling here is chopped fatty meat with minced jalapeño. The bread tastes like a hybrid of pita bread and an English muffin. Be aware that it’s under the snack section of the menu and portioned as such.

Last came the dumplings in chili oil. The dumplings were about 30% larger than expected, and the filling was rich with ginger scallion flavor. It was a tad on the salty side, but as a salt lover, it was perfect for my personal preference.

Small Spicy Dumpling Bowl at Fish Wok

Small Spicy Dumpling Bowl at Fish Wok (Credit: Jackie Tran)

If I had to be nitpicky, I’d complain that a couple of the dumplings were already torn at the bottom. However, with a glass half-full mentality, this allowed more sauce to soak in before the first bite.

I’ll definitely return to try noodle lunch special, pan-fried dumplings, crawfish rice, and kimchi bacon cheese fried rice.

Fish Wok is located at 2601 E. Speedway Blvd. Keep up with Fish Wok on Instagram.

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.

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