Durham >Food & Dining > Eastern Lights Hot Pot & Grill
4215 University Dr Ste 2, Durham, NC | Directions 2770735.962781 -78.958711
T-F 11-3, S,Su 11:30-2:30, T-Th 4:30-9:30, F 4:30-10, S 2:30-10, Su 2:30-9:30
I and 3 plus coworkers have loved it for 5 years – The owner is almost always there to greet us, remembers us, and contributes well to the community as well as our palates! We have worked in the area for 5-7 years, and always choose Eastern Lights for one of our weekly dining experiences. Their service is superb, friendly, efficient, and memorable in the best way possible. I love most of their lunch specials (all for approx $5-6!!), as well as some of their seafood and beef entrees at supper. Their hot and sour soup has large quantities of scallions, mushrooms, and tofu, the mongolian beef is always moist, all the "light fried" chicken lunch meals are delicious, and their fried rice is the best I've had, up and down the east coast, Triangle, let alone in Durham. The single time I was let down in 5 years, realizing they don't devein their shrimp at the last moment, the owner replaced my meal immediately with my choice, at no charge. We are always pleased and happy to be there, and they are always eager to please and serve!
Very Disappointed!!!!!!! – Went to eat on lunch break with friends. I ordered sweet and sour chicken, chicken was overcooked. Didn't complain and ate what I could because didn't have time to return and wait for more to be cooked. Explained chicken was overcooked to the server and cashier when I went to check out and I still ended up paying for the total price. I was only able to eat half of it due to the hardness of the chicken. I would have been willing to pay for half, my drink and egg roll. I will never go eat here again.
Excellent example of both authentic & American Chinese. My favorite Asian in the Triangle. – They have a large menu with all of your Americanized favorites. Most of them are prepared on par with the area's good mainstream Chinese restaurants (eg Neo-China, PF Chang's) if not better. They also have a lunch menu with a few of these basic dishes that's an amazing deal: entree, choice of rice, soup, AND eggroll for $4.35-$5.50.
But all the real winners are on the first two pages: namely, the chef's specialty entrees and the hand-cut noodles. When I go, I'm usually the only white guy there (high praise indeed!), and needless to say the Asian folks around me aren't ordering Lemon Chicken. Noodle dishes, giant seafood soups, and tofu are ubiquitous. I'm a cautious eater by nature but coming to Eastern Lights often has encouraged me to branch out. I've never been disappointed; in many cases I acquired new favorites. Nowadays, the adventurous/authentic dishes are the reason I keep coming back.
The hot p0t* & barbeque deserves its own mention. You have to order in advance, but it's totally worth it as a special occasion for 3-8 people. For $16/person you get a Korean barbeque (bul go gi steak, marinated ribs, etc), then about a dozen Chinese pickled veggies, then a giant Chinese hot p0t / soup. I don't know of anyplace in the Triange that offers something similar.
The service is unbelievably good. I measure restaurants on how many times my water glass is filled per half hour. Eastern Lights is the only one to score a 5 or better, and they do it every time. Being a regular who tips well helps, I suppose, but I wouldn't be a regular if they hadn't done this from the start.
*idiot software says "p0t" is a naughty word
Authentic Chinese in Durham. – In Short
On the outside Eastern Lights is not much more than a tinted-window, strip-mall presence--but if ever there were an authentic Chinese restaurant in the Triangle, this is it. The menu boasts a slew of entrees, with a focus on seafood (and plenty of tofu options). They also offer a large selection of delicious handmade noodles, cut fresh daily. Also of note: this is one of the few area restaurants that offer Chinese Hot Pot.
Best Northern Chinese food in RTP – Their hot sour soup is the best in triangle. Everyone on the Chef's specialty menu is good. Their Chowma mien (hot red seafood soup noodle) is also the best in this area. We go there almost every weekend. Their duck and vegitable dishes are good too. excellent price.
Great Chinese Food!! – This place was very good. Excellant friendly service. The food was very good. Very clean restaurant.
Worst chinese food in durham – I had heard good things about the restaurant, but was disappointed with every dish. Potstickers were uncooked, meat was still pink on the inside and the fried rice tasted like paper. It seemed as if they froze their rice and used old oil to heat it back up. My boyfriend and I got the worst heartburn ever! we could taste the oil for days after. EAT SOMEWHERE ELSE!
Attentive friendly authentic – People who know tell me this is the real deal. For me, the veggies are fresh, the staff friendly and attentive, the take out or eat in is great! Best Chinese in Durham
Best fried rice!! – As a native chinese food eater, the fried rice is the best in this area. The grains of rice are complete and shining in the plate with the genuine smell of Chinese food. To my surprise, you can even get the fried rice included in the lunch special; it is the best value I got in Triangle area!
Lights not so bright – I have eaten here twice and have tasted 4 different things on the menu and can say that I have been disappointed both times. The worst idea was to order the shrimp... one key to life: never order shrimp from a Chinese place unless you whole hearted trust it. They were fishy, not deveined and basically not good. Chow mein and lo mein noodles both over cooked and overall flavor very simple. In short, the food is simply not that good, I moved here form the west coast where Asian population is much higher so I know my standards are high. Low standards need only apply at Eastern Lights.
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