Chinese fuel

Ko Sing Diner chef and owner Hai Van Quan concocts a Chinese specialty.

Ko Sing Diner chef and owner Hai Van Quan concocts a Chinese specialty.

Photo By David Robert

Ko Sing Diner

6405 S. Virginia St. #5
Reno, NV 89511

(775) 852-2888

This place came to me as a recommendation by my buddy Mark, the big Greek—also known as Meat. I was hanging with Meat one day, and he said, “Try that Chinese place over by … you know, it’s right over there, galagalagala!” It took me awhile, but I found it in the Comp USA shopping center on the corner of Neil and Virginia. Meat said he’d never had anything bad there. My friend Paige and I went for dinner later that week. As we walked in, we met the owner’s daughter, Anna, who was working at the register. She said her dad, Hai Van Quan, was the chef/owner. Quan hails from China and used to cook at a Reno favorite, China Diner.

As we looked at the menu, Paige said, “Ooh, they have shrimp with honey walnuts!” She ordered that ($7.95), we shared the hot and sour—or as Meat says, “sowah!"—soup ($6.25), and I ordered the sesame beef ($6.95).

The food came out all at once, and we loved it. Meat and I have gone to some nice places together and agreed they weren’t that good, so we usually agree on good food, and it’s commonly found at little hole-in-the-wall spots like this.

Paige’s shrimp with honey walnuts was a beautiful dish. The shrimp was lightly breaded and wok fried, then delicately coated with a honey-walnut glaze and whole walnuts. The sesame beef was amazing. It wasn’t too heavy, and it tasted so good I was scraping the plate, savoring the last morsels. The beef was tender and perfectly caramelized in the wok. Both entrees came with steamed rice.

The hot and sour soup was equally delicious. I’m a tough critic on hot and sour soup. Many times at other restaurants, it has been a big gooey glob of corn starch and soy sauce. Not at this one. Chef Quan has got the hot and sour action dialed. It’s full of shredded bamboo, carrots and beef with a hearty balance of rich beef flavor and the sweet and sour taste that gives it its name. It’s perfect if you are feeling a little under the weather—it will clear you right up.

This place definitely qualifies as a nominee for the under-10-bucks-awesome-food-in-Reno award. Well, there is no award. I just made that up. But I would nominate it if there was one.

Ko Sing is a good place to go when you’re in a hurry. It’s fast and good. The restaurant’s atmosphere is very basic. It serves it’s purpose, to get in and get out, and the service is polite and friendly.

Ko Sing Diner is a perfect pit stop for the endurance shopper. It’s right between the Sierra Mall and Meadowood Mall, so you can fuel up on your way to and from shopping.