Ding How is a Mandarin-style Chinese restaurant nestled in the Save-Mart shopping center in the middle of Davis, California. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. In fact, you could easily miss it. Yet Ding How has existed in Davis for more than thirty years and has out-lived every other restaurant in its shopping center, including the Save-Mart for which it’s named (it used to be an Albertsons).
When my family first moved to Davis in 1992, Ding How quickly became a favorite. I was so young at the time, I can’t even remember what first brought us there. We had moved from Texas, where good Chinese food is non-existent, so it likely had something to do with that.
You’ll first notice the kitschy decorations. An intricate ivory folding screen separates the main restaurant from a waiting area at the front. A multitude of ornate Chinese chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The table decor comes complete with a Chinese zodiac place mat and a rotating condiment caddy. The decorated China plates and cups have not changed since my first visit twenty-three years ago. In fact, none of the decor has changed. Aside from the faces of the waiters and waitresses, there is little way of knowing that time has passed in this cozy eatery.
Every meal comes with a free pot of tea. Be sure to let it steep for a few moments before you pour it out. The menu is substantial, with a huge variety of traditional Chinese fare. They also have an impressive vegetarian menu, which is almost as large as the menu itself.
After twenty-three years of visiting this restaurant, you can imagine I’ve got a few favorites. My favorite dish on their menu? The Wonton Soup. Both the regular and Wor Wonton are excellent. Perhaps it’s because I grew up on it, but I’ve yet to find a better Wonton soup in the United States. The wontons are delicious, perfectly balanced by tasty veggies and succulent pork slices.
What else is good? Pot Stickers, Shiu Mai, Spring Rolls, and Crab Cheese Wonton are all superb appetizer choices. The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns are fantastic and are actually shipped in directly from Chinatown in San Francisco. For a great combination of flavors, I recommend the Dim Sum Platter, which offers a combination of the Pot Stickers, Shiu Mai, Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, and Crispy Wontons.
As for main dishes, the Sweet and Sour in any variety (Pork, Chicken, or Shrimp) is a favorite of mine. I also highly recommend the Cashew Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, and any variety of Chow Mein. And I’d be remiss not to mention the Hot and Sour and Egg Flower Soups, which are also a good choice if you’re looking for something a little less hearty than Wonton.
All in all, an excellent choice for quality Chinese food in the Central Valley. Be sure to give Ding How a try next time you’re in town!
Quick facts about Ding How:
Hours: 11:30am to 9:30pm Monday through Saturday. 12pm to 9:30pm Sunday.
Lunch specials offered 11:30am to 3pm Monday through Saturday.
Address: 640 West Covell Boulevard, Davis, CA
Price: $ (under $10)
Accepts credit cards.
Take-out available. No delivery.
Beer & wine served.
Indoor seating only.
Casual. Good for groups & kids.