Cheap Bastard

Royal Wok: Ignorance is Bliss, Unless You Can Read Chinese

Each week, the Cheap Bastard goes looking for a new place to eat a meal for less than nine million dollars. This week, she rolls the dice at Royal Wok, 2560 Royal Lane, 972-488-8282, and doesn't crap out. At least not right away.

Massage parlors nearby count: 18 Waterfall mural count: 1

The news anchor on the Chinese World News program that plays on the big-screen television at Royal Wok reported what appeared to be some kind of nose surgery gone wrong as I perused the mostly written-in-Chinese menu. Mmm. Nothing makes me hungrier for some noodles than seeing a close-up action shot of gooey shit getting forcefully tweezed out of someone's messed-up nose.

"I'll have the combo lo mein." Royal Wok's "luncheon menu" includes about 40 different entrées, all priced less than six bucks. They don't mess around with descriptions of the entrees on this menu ... at least, not in English. If you want to know what kind of meats will be included in your combo lo mein, you're gonna have to ask your server. Or you can do what I did and stay blissfully unaware of whatever it is you're eating. I know that it looked and tasted like beef, shrimp and chicken, but I also know the lobsters in the tank across from me were shaking their heads at me the whole time I was eating it. (Lobster 1: "This dumb bitch has no. Fucking. Idea. What kind of hell she's about to unleash on her own bathroom after all of this is over. If I had middle fingers, I'd give her the double bird." Lobster 2: [claw bumps Lobster 1].

The combo lo mein was $5.50. If you're thinking, "Five-fortune-cookie-banging-fifty just for some noodles?!" Royal Wok agrees. Not only do you get a giant (nay, bigmuhfukkinass) portion of noodles, you also get a bowl of soup ("Egg drop or hot and sour, ma'am?" "I dunno, does your egg drop soup look like a yeast infection?" "Yes." "Oooh. Then, egg drop soup, please"), plus an egg roll, a fortune cookie and some weirdly-round-not-a-wonton-sweetish-yet-super-hard-biscuit-breadie-thing. Later, I read the to-go menu and realized that they also offer "daily luncheon specials," and if you go on Friday, you can get that combo lo mein for a measly $4.85. Hell yeah, I just saved you less than a dollar. You're welcome.

The beef and chicken were tender. The shrimp was delicious. My plate took a while to come to the table, and it was steaming hot when it was served, which all led me to believe that it wasn't just scooped from a buffet in the kitchen and slopped on my plate (whether it actually was or not, points for making me at least feel like it was made to order).

Note: The back of the menu states that, "Upon request, Chef Tsui would present a demonstration of noodle making, which is an art in itself." I didn't request a noodle show (wasn't wearing my sweatpants), but please promise me that you will.

Follow City of Ate on Twitter. Follow me at @thecheapbastard.

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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