Modesto Chinese Restaurants Review

The Chinese Restaurants in Modesto that I have visited, an unofficial guide

Fried Chicken Fillets With Mashed Garlic

Written by Calvin Lee (Modesto General Surgeon), with opinions from Tammy Wu (Modesto Plastic Surgeon)

I am Chinese, but that doesn't make me an expert on Chinese food.

 I'm frequently asked about this topic:  What's your favorite Chinese restaurant.  I figured I'm asked this question because it is a popular food.  I was born in New York City and haven't even been to China, although I've been to Taiwan several times.  My tastes won't be only for authentic or "Americanized" Chinese food, as I grew up in America, but had Chinese parents with Chinese relatives.  Thus, my reviews are for what I like.  I'm adding comments from Tammy Wu (Modesto Plastic Surgeon), who is also Chinese, but she grew up in Taiwan, where she grew up eating Chinese Food from the best Chinese Restaurants.  When I started writing this review, I've been in Modesto trying out the Chinese Food scene for about 4 years.  Does this make me qualified?  Well, it at least gave me opinions.

We need more Modesto Chinese food options

First, I wish there were more Chinese Restaurants in Modesto.  There doesn't seem to be enough variety for me.  My problem is that I don't cook (at least not well), and I eat out most of the time.  But believe it or not, the Chinese food in Modesto varies tremendously from restaurant to restaurant.  However, I haven't purposely visited every Chinese Restaurant in Modesto.  I've just been to several and been to them repeatedly - enough to be able to write reviews and have opinions.  Please send me your recommendations if you like:  calvinleemd [at]

Chinese Restaurant Listings with Addresses (not complete)

Modesto Chinese Restuarant listing in Yahoo yellow pages

The Chinese Restaurant ratings explained

Beijing Restaurant

This was one of the first restaurants I've ever been to in Modesto.  This was the restaurant that the McHenry Medical Group brought me to, when they interviewed me for a position with their medical group as a General Surgeon.  We have since parted ways.  They are located at the northern end of McHenry in the New WalMart parking lot.  See additional info on this Chinese restaurant below in the grey box (email from S.S.)

China Gate

Dynasty Restaurant

Brand new restaurant the opened in place of Blue Peacock.  Article in the Modesto Bee about this restaurant by Lisa Millegan.  Robert Wu used to co-own Imperial Garden, but has now started a separate restaurant near the Village One side of town.  Dynasty is the first restaurant to offer Dim Sum in Modesto.  Dim Sum in Cantonese means "a little bit of everything."  There is also a separate Chinese menu with different items from the "English" menu.  You have to ask for it if you can read Chinese.

Hunan Garden

Imperial Garden Restaurant

Located by Sisk and Briggsmore, this restaurant has been in Modesto for a while.  It's famous for it's green sign and white plantation shutters.  This is a hangout of many medical doctors in town.  Dr. Wu and myself included.  There is a separate Chinese menu, written completely in Chinese, which has more traditional fares which is cooked in a different style than the rest of the menu written in English.  This menu is available, you just have to ask for it.  But don't count of me to translate it.  They also have some delivery options.

Lee's Chinese Kitchen

Minnie's Restaurant

New Hong Kong Restaurant

This is the restaurant located next to what used to be Kenny's Bar on McHenry.  They recently re-renovated the area.

Panda Express

I included this fast food chain on here, because I've been here enough times and it is Chinese food.  This is counter served food where you pick 2 items or three items and get your drink at the end.  Gets very croweded at lunch times.  I have only been to the two locations:  Pelendale and  the one on the Southern end of Pelandale


Keep in mind, things change with time.  There's a chance things will deteriorate or improve.  And the opinions above are just that - opinions.  I hope you enjoyed my reviews of Chinese Restaurants in Modesto - the one's I have frequented over the last 4 years.  Note, I eat out almost every day.


Email from readers adding to this page:

From J.D. (Posted with permission):

I just found your blog on the web. Being a former Modesto resident (I lived there for thirty-eight years), I often search for anything related to my hometown. Even though I live elsewhere, I still have a great fondness for the town of my youth.

One thing that I noticed on your list of Chinese restaurants was how very limited it is. You have only scratched the surface on this genre of eateries in Modesto. There are so many more that you should check out. Some of them you may not have considered because they often are considered to be other things than Chinese restaurants. Chinese cuisine is probably my favorite and I have eaten in probably every one that does or has existed in Modesto. I live in the land of non-traditional Chinese fare (buffets or single plate only choices, no Cantonese food and no traditional take-out). Whenever I get a chance to go back to Modesto one of my first stops is Lee’s Chinese Kitchen, which was on your list. It is by far my favorite, especially for their chow mein and beef on a stick. When my brother came home from Iraq in 1992, at the end of Gulf War I, the first thing he asked for when we picked him up from the airport was to stop at Lee’s on our way back home from San Francisco. Go back there often and try many of their dishes and I think that, even though they may not have the best décor or atmosphere, their food never fails to please. (My wife and I got married on Valentine’s Day. It was a very romantic day to have a wedding, but it is a horrible day to try and celebrate an anniversary. You cannot get in anywhere. After a few years we finally gave up. We made Lee’s our regular destination and then would go out for the big night out the following weekend. The staff always got a kick out of the fact that we chose them for our celebrations.)

One other good choice that many people miss because they dismiss it as a party hangout, and on the weekends it is little more than that, is Minnie’s. Try it on a mid-week night and you will have a much better experience. There are also a few restaurants around town called China Gate. They are all owned by different members of the same extended family. Each has their own spin on several dishes, but one remains constant. If you love garlic, try their garlic chicken. It is their grandfather’s recipe and they don’t change it at any of the shops. Their used to be a little Chinese grocery and deli on Prescott in the same shopping center as Big Lots. It is not really a restaurant, but they do cook to order, not scoop out of steamer trays like the grocery store delis do. I cannot remember its name but I used to shop there often for food items and would often go their for lunch when I worked in the area.

I could go on and on, but I won’t . I am glad to see that you are giving some tips to those who are just venturing in to this most rewarding cuisine. Keep up the good work and keep adding more locations. I will check back often and see if there are some new ones that I should try the next time I am in Modesto, that is of course after I have gone to Lee’s first.


From S.S. about Beijing 11-4-08:

I have never ever brought anyone there (Beijing Restaurant) who was not amazed at the food and how NOT Greasy and how wonderful the beautiful white meat chicken is sliced and not bits and parts and deep fried in old grease. Oh and btw just this last Saturday The Modesto Bee put out its annual Modestos Favorite Section and once again for many many years running Bejing was listed as Modesto's Favorite Chinese ;)



Plastic Surgeon Modesto, CA counter

10/17/2009 last updated

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(This webpage is hosted on her computer server, and she offered her reviews)

(c) Calvin Lee, MD Modesto General Surgeon and Tammy Wu, MD Modesto Plastic Surgeon 2006-7.  All rights reserved.   Surgical Artistry has no affiliation with Chinese Restaurants in Modesto.  We just like eating Chinese Food and we are blogging about it here on this webpage.  Modesto Plastic Surgery.  We don't just write about food in Modesto.  Check out my "how to perform a analgesic block on a finger" webpage (warning: instructions for medical professionals only such as medical student and residents and ER docs) and a Hernia frequently asked questions webpage.  And another web page that has the highlights of all our clinical pages: AskDrWu