Healthy Asian food in a fast-casual setting
Now open in Pencil Factory Flats & Lofts
By Hope S. Philbrick
A clear thought while reading the menu: This place aspires to be the Asian Chipotle.
Let’s hope it succeeds.
At the new Chow Bing, meats are all-natural and humanely-raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. All of the seafood is sustainable. Vegetables are sourced from local suppliers whenever possible. Recipes and cooking techniques yield lighter-than-average Chinese food—without compromising flavor across the menu that’s streamlined and straightforward. And packaging is eco-friendly.
To explain why he cares so much about healthy dining and the environment, owner Gary Lin says, “I have four children.” A native of Fujian, China, Lin arrived in New York City at age 19 knowing no English. He began as a restaurant dishwasher and has never left the business.
Before opening Chow Bing, Lin—who also owns R. Rice in Sandy Springs and Papa Chow on Camp Creek Parkway—spent months researching and identifying suppliers who only offer responsibly-sourced products.
Chow Bing’s “responsible Chinese food” is lighter and tastes fresher than what is typically found on Chinese menus. There’s less oil, less corn starch and meats are more often roasted in an oven than stirred in a wok. Lin explains that the approach eliminates excess calories while using authentic Chinese spices ensures that flavor isn’t compromised.
The menu offers starters, sides, soups and salads (from $2.25 to $4.50) plus two entrée approaches: the “Bing Roll”—a burrito-like item that Lin says is common to Northern China—or “Bing Bowl” rice or noodle options. Choose a signature or build-your-own combination of premium proteins, vegetables and sauces—for just $7 or $8 per entrée. There’s also a daily Blue Plate special (available while supplies last) such as the baked half chicken served with rice, boiled tea egg, pickled radish and broccoli for $8.75.
General’s Chicken tenders ($7) are already a popular and personal favorite—try it as a noodle bowl. Grilled shrimp is served with scallions, purple slaw and cilantro lime sauce ($8). An order of veggie spring rolls arrives with two rolls plus sauce ($1).
“If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere,” says Lin. The space Chow Bing occupies presents a clear challenge: Two other restaurants have already failed in the location, which is in the up and coming Old Fourth Ward and thus on few foodies’ routine dining routes. But Chow Bing makes it worth the effort to visit—the food tastes good, is good for you and the environment, plus there’s free parking and prices so low it’s easy to think the menu must be a misprint.
349 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30312
-Photos © HSP Media LLC