Cheap Bastard

Rice Bowl's Menu Writes Checks Its Food Can't Cash

Rice Bowl Express, 11419 Garland Road, is fast and cheap. How could Cheap Bastard not love it? By eating there, unfortunately.

Times I was like, "Is that a hooker? Yes. Is that also a hooker? Yes.": 12 Trucks in the Fiesta Mart parking lot next door count: 21

I've driven past Rice Bowl Express a million times on my way to the Dallas Ourlawnwillneverlooklikethisbo​retum. This time, I saw their signage boasting orange chicken for $3.99 and I thought, "Why the dong not?"

The guy on the intercom at Rice Bowl Express expected me to know what I was going to order as soon as I rolled up, so I knee-jerk ordered the orange chicken and an egg roll. My total was five bucks. (Yes, they take credit cards.)

After you order, the drive-through takes you around the back of the building for a scenic tour of the trash and towels stacked outside the kitchen. Mmmm. The smell of dead General Tso plus fonky egg drop soup. Make one last left turn and that's where you'll find the pick-up window, with someone already ready with your food. That was quick. A little too quick, actually.

In my experience, the general rule with mom 'n' pop drive-throughs versus chain restaurant drive-throughs is that at the mom 'n' pops, if they're making the food fresh to order, it takes a little longer to get your food.

When I opened the big plastic bag with my food in it, I saw a Rice Bowl Express take-out menu. Its headline: "We serve the best and freshest Chinese food in town." That's a bold combo statement, y'all. I really hoped it was true.

It wasn't. The egg roll was crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside and there was a strange aftertaste about it that said, "I think I'm fried in super-old grease. Yeah. Yeah, I

am." And maybe with less sauce, the orange chicken wouldn't have been so soggy? I was upset by the mediocrity of this box of Styrofoam-ed food, especially since the dang menu hyped me up and said it was the best in town. It was like that time I believed the preview for Haywire. Yeah, I know it immediately looked shitty to everyone else, but I still had to try it out. And as soon as Gina Carano spoke, I was like, "DAMMIT, ME!!"

On the Chinese food scale I'd put it at better than Panda Nutspress, but worse than Jumbo Super Buffet (mostly because of its bad-ass name).

My fortune cookie said, "Those who seek will find." I'll keep seeking.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade

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