Monday, February 15, 2010

Eating In - Coa

Outside Coa

It's been quite a week with Carnival, Chinese New Year's and Valentine's Day all within a few weeks. We went out for a Carnival party but were stuck for ideas on how to combine Valentine's with Chinese New Year. We decided on having an indoor picnic with Chinese food. There was only one fault with my plan. Chinese food is really hard to find in Germany. It's normally too formal for take-out (which doesn't mean it's good) or is just a buffet (which also does not mean it is good). Enter Coa, the Asian "Feel Good Food". There are shops in Berlin, Frankfurt and in Mannheim. We went to the one in Mannheim for takeout.

I know it is unfair to judge a place based on takeout. The texture, temperature and consistency are bound to be off (unless we are talking about delivery pizza - then these are legitimate criteria). Bearing that in mind, I will judge only flavour & spices. With Coa, I was a little disappointed. We ordered: vegetarian dim sum, shui mai, chicken satay skewers, gyoza, pho bo & udon noodles with duck. The vegetarian dim sum was a dumpling with a chopped vegetable filling. The shui mai, pork & shrimp filled pockets, were very small. I was hard pressed to tell the difference between these two appetizers and the ones in the freezer section of my Asian supermarket. The chicken satay skewers came with a nice peanut sauce but the spice mix of the skewers themselves was lacking. The gyoza was good, but nearly anything deep-fried is good (it was not pan-fried as I was expecting).

I found the pho bo to be a placid beef soup with beef chunks, not slices, that were lacking the wakening spices that I love so much about pho. What surprised me is that this is from their take-out menu. When I used to beg for take-out pho from my local place at home (they didn't really do take-out), they would give me a container of rice noodles, a container of soup & a plastic bag full of sprouts & extras. Here, it all came in one container, leaving the noodles to steep until they are ready to fall apart. The udon was spicy & the duck was nice. But it's Valentine's day - it's not about the food, and I'm happy to report that the picnic was a fun success.

I think the appeal of Coa must lie in it's sleek interior. Dark wood, white walls, green accents and a few orchids; it's a nice place to come in for a quick bite. But don't expect too much flavour in that bite.

Coa - inside


Mary said...

It can be very hard for folks who know how a food should taste to settle for less. I'm so glad the company you were with made up for the food's short comings. I hope you'll have a wonderful day today. Blessings...Mary

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Lucilla said...

We decided as a family to try COA since a dear friend of mine gave us a gift certificate for Christmas from there. However, we just returned from there and I do have to say I, too, am a bit disappointed. Their food is a bit to be desired and not too tasty. To top this off upon presenting our gift certificate and receiving the final bill our English speaking Asian server could not explain to me how she came up with the total she came up with. I brought the receipt home and still cannot make heads or tails of it. She said the total of my bill was 96,60 euros minus 30 euros... No matter how I add or subtract I cannot come up with the final total she came up with. I will not be returned there ever again! Disappointed in Mannheim

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