Cheap Eats: Wild Ginger a global fusion of cuisines
Co-owner Michael Zou said it takes customers a little extra time to get through the menu at Wild Ginger in Springettsbury Township.
The restaurant serves neo-Asian Japanese cuisine - a fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Thai, with nuances from all over the globe.
It didn't take long for me to order once I saw the section of Chinese lunch specials, most within the $6 to $7 range. Had I not been on a mission to find Cheap Eats, I probably would've tried some of the more exotic menu choices, which cost just a little more. The restaurant also offers sushi lunch specials. Both deals run 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
I ordered hot green tea and mixed vegetables with chicken, which came with choice of soup - wonton - and white rice. A server brought the soup and tea within a minute or two, and the main dish shortly after.
The golden broth was hot and not too salty, and the wontons were flavorful. The chicken and vegetables - a mix of broccoli, snap peas, carrots, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and celery - were cooked in a brown sauce. I appreciated the reasonable lunch portion, which was just enough.
The newly renovated, mid-sized eatery has a modern vibe, with teal tiles, black ceiling panels, and amber-and-gold swirled table tops. Oriental décor lines the walls.
I had seen advertisements for Wild Ginger after it opened in October, but I didn't know the menu incorporated so many cuisines. Zou said many customers assume the restaurant serves either Chinese or Japanese food.
Zou, who worked in neo-Asian restaurants for more than 10 years in New York City and upstate New York, said the fusion trend is popular in bigger cities. He and his business partner, Eric Wang, thought York County would be a good place to start such a business.
He said Asian businesses in the area tend to focus on one type of cuisine rather than bringing them all together.
"They will not make the same cuisine as us," Zou said.
Hints of other cultures can be found throughout the menu, such as tuna tortillas with a spicy guacamole sauce and warm mushroom salads with truffle essence.
Zou said his chefs also focus heavily on presentation and get special training to learn how to fuse all of the foods. He worked with three of his six employees in similar restaurants in New York.
He said many customers are surprised after they've eaten the food and experienced the many flavors. He tries to offer meals with high-quality taste at affordable prices.
"I try to serve (the food) as an upscale restaurant here," Zou said.
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants with meals for less than $10. Suggestions are welcome. Reach Leigh Zaleski at 771-2101, email@example.com.
If you go
LOCATION: Wild Ginger, 2444 Eastern Blvd. in Springettsbury Township
CUISINE: Neo-Asian Japanese
LEIGH'S PICK: Mixed vegetables with chicken, white rice and wonton soup ($6.25), green tea ($2
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
PRICE RANGE: $1.50 to $20
ACCEPTS: Cash, Visa and Mastercard
KID'S MENU: No
DETAILS: Visit www.wildgingeryork.com or call 757-1818