In Philadelphia’s vast landscape of takeout Asian cuisine there exists a garden. A garden of tasty broccoli, onions, water chestnuts and a stellar Hunan Delight. It is known as Temple Garden.
What Temple Garden lacks in plants and creatures, it more than makes up in an extensive selection of tobacco products, including cigars, cigarillos and cigarettes. Beyond this refinement Temple Garden also contains a wide variety of exotic beverages: Canada Dry White Cream Soda, Canada Dry Red Cream Soda, a variety of Nantucket Nectars and favorite stand-bys like Mountain Dew, Slice and Coca-Cola.
Possibly one of the best dishes on the menu, the Hunan Delight, $9.95, is a masterpiece.
It is a culinary cacophony of beef, chicken, shrimp and what appeared to be green peppers and onions, all served with a pint of rice.
The dish, slathered in a ubiquitous brown sauce, was well-prepared and very spicy, but the menu said cooks will “alter hot and spice according to your taste.”
The restaurant offers a myriad of cheaper selections, including any of the special platters, such as fried pork chops, chicken nuggets and fried chicken, all $5. Temple Garden also offers specials depending on the order’s price. Oddly enough these are the same specials offered at Temple Star: Spend $10 or more and receive a free homemade tea. Spend $20 or more and receive a free pint of chicken or pork fried rice. Spend more than $30 and receive a free quart of General Tso’s chicken.
The interior design of the restaurant is a mix of elements. From the faux marble to the front counter’s maze of bulletproof glass, it is almost impossible to escape the wall to wall beauty of such an amazing eatery.
The chairs have seen their day come and go, as all but one is repaired with duct, masking or packing tape. Temple Garden doesn’t have tables – this restaurant focuses on takeout rather than eat-in.
The restaurant’s exterior is just as charming. A wide stairway exudes royalty, and the 25-cent telephone on the outside screams refinement. However, its functionality is questionable judging from the man who attempted to tough talk it into making a call.
Temple Garden chef’s suggestions are humorous because they appear to have been lost in translation. For example, it may seem odd to order a Happy Family, a dish of beef, chicken and shrimp. The pork or Lover Chicken is possibly the most sensual of all the special order dishes.
All things considered, Temple Garden is great for takeout and they offer free delivery on orders over $10. They’re open 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-midnight on Sunday. 1524 N. Broad St. (Next to Zavelle’s). (215) 769-9858.
Tom Hinkle can be reached at email@example.com.