Thursday, September 22, 2016

Visiting Golden Wok's Long-standing Happy Hour

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge golden.jpg

With lunch specials, a bustling to-go counter, and a good standing with young families and the geriatric crowd, Golden Wok makes no claims at breaking culinary boundaries. The restaurant was started in 1972 by Connie Andrews, who, as you could possibly infer, is not Chinese. As a result, there are a few claims to authenticity and the food is largely anglicized, but for most patrons, that's fine. The eatery has found success through its welcoming vibe, affordable plates of fragrant food, and convenient location near the Medical Center.

For their happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, diners have their choice between $2.50 margaritas and $2.50 domestics. Unfortunately, for every drink you get you have to order two appetizers. 
As I knew it would’ve been impossible (inadvisable) for me to eat more than four of their happy hour offerings alone, I restricted myself to just two of the discounted drinks. 

When the first of my two margaritas arrived, I was somewhat nonplussed. The drink was neither frozen nor in a chilled goblet, but served in a tall glass rimmed with iodized salt and filled with a liquid nearly indistinguishable from the glass of water it sat next to. I drained it quickly and had the second brought as the food was delivered.

In Golden Wok’s defense, the low prices of their happy hour food do not inspire confidence in its quality; except for the spiced ribs ($3.99), everything on the menu was $2.99. I chose the pork sui mai (four pieces), shrimp toast (four pieces), ginger chicken pot stickers (four pieces), and spiced ribs (three pieces).

click to enlarge Clockwise from top left: Shrimp Toast, Shrimp Sui Mai, Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers, Spiced Ribs
  • Clockwise from top left: Shrimp Toast, Shrimp Sui Mai, Ginger Chicken Pot Stickers, Spiced Ribs
The food isn't for hardcore eaters looking to be wowed. For starters, the shrimp toast was the least appetizing of the four; though I ordered pork sui mai, I was served shrimp sui mai with shrimp bits cooked beyond oblivion inside gummy dough; the spiced ribs were a welcome improvement from the shrimp offerings, though still wanting. Finally, the pot stickers were easily the best. Though the chicken lacked punch, the crunch of the fried dough and sting of green onion were clean, well executed flavors. 

Though far from memorable, the convenient prices, prime location, and friendly staff have made the Golden Wok happy hour a San Antonio fixture. If you're looking for cheap eats or $2.50 margaritas, it's one of the best in town.

Multiple locations,

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