A foodie’s paradise

We did it, guys: We published our first-ever Local Eats issue of Minnesota Parent

We’re so delighted to bring you this fun little romp through the Twin Cities food scene. 

Of course, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available in our local culinary mecca, which has been basking in James Beard awards and national-media accolades in recent years. 

If you have kids, you know they can be terrible diners. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to eat out — especially now in summer when the roads are dry and the weather is patio-friendly. 

Can’t afford a family vacation? Tour the world locally with cuisines from Scandinavia to Somalia. But keep in mind, you don’t have to go to all of the “it” restaurants. 

As our toddler columnist, Shannon Keough, says this month: One of the coolest things about dining out as a family is finding a place that feels like home

Hers is a local pub. Mine is Shuang Cheng in Minneapolis. It’s a Dinkytown gem offering, I’d argue, the best Chinese food in the city (sorry, Lucky Cricket).

It’s where I’ve bonded with my longtime boyfriend’s two kids, who love the place so dearly. It’s where we almost always go, especially if I have my son with me, too, and we want to try being a blended family of five in public (a delicate art, to be sure).

The staff know my boyfriend by name and the rest of us by sight, even grandma, who’s 80 and loves it, too. We drink gallons of the incredible, bottomless, free, house tea and we always order the same few dishes — orange-peel chicken, stir-fried green beans, cream cheese wontons and a dish we refer to as “crunchy bean noodle.” It goes by some other name, but the staff always knows what we mean. 

And even when we don’t have the requisite 10 people, they let us sit at a huge table with a lazy Susan in the middle, perfect for sharing plates piled high with insanely huge portions that come quickly and at delightfully low prices. 

Shuang Cheng is where my boyfriend’s daughter (pictured) was asked to prom with a fortune cookie, lovingly altered to pose the question. It’s where my son, who isn’t an adventurous eater, was convinced to try lo mein, instead of just eating white rice. It’s where we land after U of M sporting events and where we pilgrimage in winter, when we can’t stand to stay cooped up any longer.

Yes, the carpet could use a refresh and the wine selection is so-so. But we’d take it any day over anywhere else.

Where’s your family’s special place? Write me at editor@mnparent.com.

Now: Order up!