Sunday, February 25, 2018

Food hot from the pot


tasty: The fried rice at Lee Chee has a nice smoky flavour. —Photos: Wayne Bowman

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savoUry: Sweet and sour chicken.

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well-prepared: The vegetables are always crisp and never overcooked.

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tempting: Lee Chee-styled chicken.

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APPRECIATIVE: These customers are enjoying lunch at Lee Chee Chinese Restaurant.

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working the woks: Stephen Chee Young and Ann Marie Doyle working the woks.

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Piping-hot food right off the stove is always the best, but for most that’s only served at home on the weekend. Most times when one is purchasing food one settles for something warm that had been cooked before and is sitting in warmers waiting to be ordered and served, maybe after a couple minutes in a microwave.

The folks at Lee Chee Chinese Restaurant, located at the Shoppes of Arima, Cocorite Road, Arima, do things differently. They do not have food in warmers and will also not rush orders just to keep things moving. The food is cooked when the order is made and delivered to you steaming hot and with a smile.

Yes you may have to wait a bit for your order to come through and the place is usually packed, especially at lunch time and on Fridays and Saturdays, but from the first mouthful one appreciates the time taken by Anthony Chee Young and his team to make sure that your meal is well prepared and delicious.

The restaurant, which offers dine-in and take-away, opened its doors at Shoppes about a year and a half ago, but has been in existence for many years. Chee Young first opened roughly 18 years ago when Lee Chee Restaurant was located on Sorzano Street, Arima. Even before that, however, Chee Young’s father, who migrated here from China, had a restaurant on Queen Street, Arima, which was also quite popular.

Now the food in Arima has always had its own flavour and Arimians believe that nothing tastes better than food found in the borough. From the doubles either down by the market or up by the Dial and the geera pork, gizzard and curry-stew from Bless on Queen Street to the quite unique hungry-man burgers on Queen Street, you can always find interesting things to eat in Arima. The Chinese food back in the 1970s into the 1980s was also different in taste and referred to by some people as creole Chinese food.

With the more recent Chinese food outlets run by recent Chinese immigrants there are very few places where you will find the old-style Chinese cuisine. Lee Chee still cooks food in the old style where you taste that slight smokiness in the rice as if it were roasted a bit. The meats, too, have a certain sweetness and are always properly cleaned and well seasoned and the vegetables crisp and never overcooked.

Chee Young’s wife, Ann Marie Doyle, who is also one of the chefs alongside her husband and his brother, Stephen Chee Young, said they have ensured that they maintain that style of cooking through the years. She said customers don’t mind waiting a while for their food because they appreciate how fresh everything always is.

The dine-in experience is always a pleasant experience as there is a bar with a wide selection of soft drinks, juices and alcoholic beverages and hostess Rose Marie Kangalee is always ready to serve you with a beaming smile.