Chinese restaurant has great food and is close to BC campus

AK Pachla, Reporter


Full disclosure; I’m not much of a foodie.  I don’t know my shittake from my sirloin, so I may not be the most discerning restaurant reviewer.  Honestly, my favorite place to eat around campus is the Panorama Grill (chicken strips, woot!)

I’ve noticed, though, that there really isn’t anywhere else to eat right around Bakersfield College.  There’s the deli at the Renegade’s Pride convenience store across Mt. Vernon, the Fastrip on the corner of University, and a couple of carryout pizza places.

For anything with a full dining room, the closest option is fast food at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Columbus.  I wanted a place for sit down lunches and dinners within walking distance of the BC Panorama campus, and, logically, I didn’t have to walk far to find it.

Lam’s Chinese Restaurant is an unassuming little place on University, just east of Mt. Vernon.  When I originally mentioned the place, most of the people around me said, “There’s a restaurant there?”  Indeed there is.

Lam’s menu is fairly typical of local Chinese restaurants, featuring favorites like Kung Pao chicken, shrimp fried rice, roast duck, and mushroom pork.  Lam’s also runs daily specials, offering mixed plate hot pots, soups, and combination meals.

The aesthetic of the dining room is efficient to the point of being sparse.  The placement of the décor and the interior lighting rather give away that the owners are prepared for far more carryout business than sit down dining.  I visited on a Tuesday evening, and while business was steady, the dining room was nearly empty.  Only five of twenty tables had diners at them.

I ordered the sweet and sour chicken dinner for one ($7.25).  The meal included a cup of the soup of the day, lo mein, fried rice, and an eggroll.  I also ordered a 20 oz. soft drink ($2.50).  My server was friendly and polite, and I would be surprised if I waited even two full minutes for my order.  The food was plated attractively and looked appetizing.

This fast service, while generally desirable, can sometimes trip over itself, as it did with my dinner.  My entrée couldn’t have been more than ten seconds behind my soup.  This presented me with the problem of having to choose which part of the meal I would rather eat cold.  Forgiveable, but something to keep in mind when placing an order.

The food itself was very good.  The soup of the day comes with the entrée, and on Tuesday, it was Tam’s egg flower soup.  The soup is thick and loaded with diced watercress, making it more flavorful than salty.

The entrée is generous with meat, and in my sweet and sour chicken, the chicken covered fully half the plate.  The fried rice was fluffy, and while I am not a fan of lo mein in general, even that was good enough for me.

While it’s true that Lam’s menu is pricier than local fast food, it’s still competitive with the Panorama Grill in terms of price to quantity.  When the same seven dollars that buys one order of chicken strips and one order of french fries could get you a quart of shrimp fried rice with six or seven oxymoronically large shrimp in it, maybe the occasional walk across the street is worth it.

The restaurant is located on the corner of University Avenue and Dana Street.