The best dining experiences I’ve ever had took place at Ginger Asian Cuisines in Medford, New Jersey. This unassuming establishment is tucked away in a strip mall at the corner of Route 541 and Wilkins Station Road. The menu even describes it as “Medford’s Best Kept Secret” and understandably so. It’s an easy place to overlook if you don’t know it’s there. Once you become familiar with it, you won’t need to save the address on your GPS: your car will automatically pull towards the parking lot every time you’re near the Medford area.
I’m not a huge fan of Chinese food, so I felt a little skeptical that I would enjoy it at first. I encountered the most pleasant surprise I’ve ever had at a restaurant. The variety of dishes this place served defied imagination. It wasn’t limited to the banal dishes one finds in Oriental “fast food” establishments. For diners who have any interest at all in Asian food, there’s no doubt they’ll find something to suit his/her palette. I’m the adventurous type myself. On one of my visits I decided to leave my comfort zone and try something I’d never had before. I ordered the Peking Duck. (FULL DISCLOSURE: In the warmer months a family of ducks camps out near my car the morning. I ordered this meal partly out of a desire for revenge.) Several varieties of it appeared on the menu. I sampled the crispy skin duck served with pancakes. I’d describe it as a burrito: Asian style. For those readers who think that “everything tastes like chicken” I’ll tell you something: duck doesn’t taste anything like chicken, turkey, or any other type of fowl that I’ve ever eaten; and I’ve had my share. I’d label the flavor as both dry and, at the same time, a little greasy. While some readers may describe this taste as “acquired”, I really enjoyed this meal and, with the previous caveat, would recommend to others.
I had so much fun on my first visit to “Medford’s Best Kept Secret” that I returned the following week. On this visit I decided to surprise my taste buds once again. I went to the Japanese Cuisine section of the menu and ordered the Seafood Tempora. I love seafood. I eat it every chance I get. I have to honestly write that this meal’s quality should concern the pricier establishments that specialize in food from the deep. I’ve never feasted upon anything like this. My friends in Louisiana would’ve loved it. Everything on the plate was fried; that included the shrimp, squid, fish, carrots, noodles and broccoli. I’ve had fried broccoli appetizers at some Italian places, but they couldn’t compare to what the Ginger Asian Cuisines served as a vegetable. Their broccoli tasted very fresh like someone just picked it. I savored this meal. A couple weeks later I went back for lunch one day to have it again.
My readers know that I belong to several dining groups and I eat out pretty regularly. I’ve never feasted at a restaurant that offered such portions at reasonable prices. Plus, the entrees included Miso soup and green salad. The (rather large) Dinner Boxes came with salad, wonton, a veggie roll, Miso Soup, and the diner’s choice of white, brown or fried rice. It’s hard to expect more in a single meal for one’s money.
As fantastic as I found the food, the true highlight of my trips to Ginger Asian Cuisines came with the exceptional service I received. The courteous staff presented themselves politely and professionally. I never had to go look for a server. They dropped by my table regularly to see if everyone was satisfied. As they did so, they always smiled. One evening I dined there was the day before Mother’s Day. The staff gave out flowers to all the moms in my group. I thought that a superlative display of customer service.
The secret is out. Ginger Asian Cuisines is taking fine dining to a whole new level. The quality of the meals, the service, and value for dollar can’t be beat. Fellow diners have told me that the other dishes they serve are either as good as or better than the food I tried there. As the meals I ate were so delicious, I find that difficult to believe, but I look forward to being proven wrong.