Jeng Chi opened in 1990, a few doors down from where it stands today as one of DFW's most well-known Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants. Then, it only had four tables, and owners Yuan and Mei Teng served only dough-based items — dumplings, noodles and gua boa (buns). They did not serve rice dishes because those were the focus of so many other Asian restaurants. They wanted to be something different.
Almost 30 years later, the dumplings, noodles, and gua boa remain highlights. The juicy dumplings ($9.25), with soup broth and meat inside, are one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Yuan Teng still works in the kitchen every day, making dumplings and noodles. Around the restaurant, he’s known as “lao ban,” or “boss.”
Yuan Teng was born in mainland China and met his wife, Mei, in Taiwan before emigrating to Brazil. They eventually made their way to the United States and opened Jeng Chi. Francisco Teng, their son, rejoined the family business in the early 2000s to help his parents run it. Francisco’s wife, Janelle, is now the store manager.
The current space, opened in 2014, is an impressive 8,300 square feet. Completely rebuilt from the roof to the floor, the new dining room seats 170. A space that large allows Jeng Chi to easily provide service on the fly to a single person or a party of 10 or more.
“Our clientele is a mixture of corporate and family, small groups and big groups. We’re an easy answer for such a wide group of needs,” Janelle says. “What we’ve changed over the last five years is that we’ve tried to make this an inviting place for multiple cultures."
The restaurant is big on social media, online ordering for delivery and pickup, and online reservations. The owners want it to be easy for people to find. Since the new space opened Jeng Chi’s commitment to the authenticity of the food has stayed true. Today, there are more than 250 items on the menu. Four wok chefs from China prepare the stir-fried dishes.
In addition to the dough-based items that have been on the menu forever, the fresh, whole fish is notable. Either branzini or white bass (depending on what’s freshest at the market that day) is served bone-in and can be ordered three ways: steamed with ginger and soy, steamed with chili or braised with garlic.
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The sautéed snow pea leaves with garlic ($14.75) are another standout. The dish looks like spinach but has a much sweeter flavor and is the most popular vegetable item. The restaurant also has a full-service bar and bakery. All of the baked items are prepared from scratch daily.
“One of my favorite things is to turn a steak and potato person into someone who can appreciate Chinese food with the rest of their friends and family,” Janelle says.
Through its authentic menu; large, open dining room; and online presence, Jeng Chi stays relevant and accessible.
Jeng Chi, 400 N. Greenville Ave., Richardson