Wang Gang is an Edwardsville’s restaurant that is easily accessible by way of Interstate 270 and Hwy 157.
It holds true to the saying “don’t blink or you’ll miss it!” Situated within a small strip of stores, it truly is rather hard to spot. In fact, if I hadn’t been invited to dine at this location, I might never have known it was there, but I’m glad I tried it out.
From the outside, this location looks like most other buildings you would find in a typical shopping plaza with a tan exterior and the location advertised at the top. Being that it is in very close proximity to SIUE (within 5 miles), I expected parking to be a bit of a hassle, but luckily for me I was able to find a spot right near the front. I got there around 1pm and I took full advantage of the first wave of diners departing the restaurant freeing up a spot for me. As I expected the departing patrons looked to match my marketing research, millennial, foodies, and seniors.
Even though the outside is nothing if not unassuming, the inside is wonderfully decorated. The temperature was a very nice break from the scorching temperatures outside, and the waiting area was decorated nicely with ferns and dark colors. It didn’t take long at all to be seated and I noticed that while the restaurant was doing quite well in terms of patrons, no two tables were seated next to one another, which I found to be quite nice. On the way to the table I enjoyed the earth themed decorations and fireplace. Given the low lighting and decorations it almost felt cooler in the restaurant than I’m sure it actually was, but I was definitely not complaining.
Shortly after the hostess left, we were greeted by our server who was a very nice young lady by the name of Marcayla R. My partner immediately asked Marcayla about a Wi-Fi connection and she provided him with the password to login. Having a Wi-Fi connection is a must with him, he shares his dining experience with his vast network of friends and followers. Once we worked out the Wi-Fi we placed our drink orders as well as an appetizer order for Edamame Hummus Dip. The appetizer menu stated that the dip itself was a “refreshingly unique blend of lime, cilantro and lemon with hints of onion and garlic “. This dish came with pita chips that we requested to be cooked and fresh carrot slices. The dish was brought not long after the order, and for this reviewer, it was a first when it came to trying hummus and I was very happy that I did so. It was chilled and paired well with the toasted pita chips. My companion who was very familiar with hummus dip found himself remarking that it was the first time he had tried hummus with that particular blend of various ingredients, but he also was very delighted with the taste and presentation.
We selected this restaurant for its variety of seafood dishes and we were very eager to try it out. After a bit of back and forth due to the menu having so many good choices, I finally settled on the “Bangkok Boom”. It was in a separate section of the menu and claimed to be a signature dish. I chose to have shrimp instead of chicken, and the shrimp was hand breaded in tempura with a dark sauce that was both spicy and sweet simultaneously. The shrimp was brought atop a bed of brown rice with chili pods and white and green onions. My partner is a runner and he had predetermined that he was having a Salmon dish. He decided on the Salmon Chow tacos with red cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes and Chinese mayo, all with a side of Dynamite Salad. I was a tad worried after placing the order as I was wary of the spices and onions, but the menu had an area for “spice ” choices, which allowed all patrons to request a dish to be made either less spicy than advertised or as spicy as one could handle. I also noticed the option to have dishes made with less oil to help those with heart health in mind.
When my dish was brought, I found it to be quite a bit larger than I expected, but as for the taste, it was wonderful. The spicy and sweet sauce along with the tempura added quite a bit of flavor and made for an interesting paring with the chili pods and onions, all while not being too spicy which I did appreciate. My partner’s lunch was presented nicely with large portions of Salmon cooked to his liking. He’s a serious healthy eater and during the running season he eats Salmon two and three times a week. So he’s always looking for a new Salmon dish to try, promote, and pass on to his other running mates. He grades and ranks Salmon dishes by how well the chef prepares and cooks the Salmon. His belief is that Salmon is well cooked if when touch with a fork, its flakes off in chunks. Rests assure that was the first thing he tested once served his dish of Salmon tacos. And yes the Salmon flaked in chunks and was very much to his liking. Altogether, the meals were wonderful and our drinks never wanted for refills.
Shortly after our meal was finished, a box was brought along with the check and a smile. The friendliness of our waitress was not lost on me, as I believe the demeanor of the wait staff within an establishment has the ability to “make or break” a dining experience. I was very lucky as Marcayla’s helpfulness and attitude definitely helped to “make” our lunch a very nice experience and I look forward to the next visit because who wouldn’t benefit from a friendly smile from time to time?
Author: Jessica Kirk-Gregory