San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinese-food favorite Don Wang gets face-lift

After a recent closure for remodeling, downtown San José restaurant Don Wang now has a squeakier, cleaner ambience and an expanded seating area to go with its extensive menu of more than 100 Chinese dishes.

And that doesn’t include the large dim sum menu, which offers various a la carte steamed or fried dumplings and other savory dishes at reasonable prices.

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Dong Wang: Large table with lazy Susan.

Alberto Font

A must-try appetizer is the fried wontons, filled with your choice of chicken, beef or shrimp. They come with an addictive sweet-and-sour sauce that’s finger-licking delicious. The miso and hot and sour soup also make good starters.

A unique, delectable dinner option is the mu shu: shrimp, chicken, pork or vegetables sautéed with bean sprouts and served with Chinese tortillas and yummy  plum sauce.

The seafood is fresh and includes a variety of choices, including seafood tempura, lobster curry and steamed corvina. Selections usually come with rice or noodles.

Also recommended are the chicken with cashew nuts and the sweet-and-sour pork, and the restaurant offers more than a dozen tasty tofu and vegetarian meals.

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Shrimp dumplings; mu shu shrimp.  

Alberto Font

Traditionally spicy items can be more random here. Costa Rican taste buds don’t generally favor spicy dishes, and the picante foods on the menu are generally mellowed down to fit local palates. Only a few menu items receive warnings for being hot. Those who are serious about spice may request that the kitchen turn up the heat.

The remodeled restaurant has a casual atmosphere. Nothing seems out of the ordinary or too fancy. Chinese writings decorate the walls. The menu claims that the staff can speak Spanish, English, Mandarin and Cantonese. The pleasant koi pond survived the remodel, and a couple of large tables with lazy Susans are sectioned off for private dinners.

Prices start at ₡2,800 ($5.60) for soups, ₡3,200 ($6.40) for appetizers, ₡3,900 ($7.80) for rice and noodle dishes, ₡4,900 ($9.90) for veggie dishes, ₡6,800 ($13.60) for seafood dishes, ₡7,500 ($15) for chicken dishes and ₡8,000 ($16) for beef and pork dishes. Dim sum plates range from ₡1,200 to ₡2,900 ($2.40 to $5.80).

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Steamed barbecue pork buns.

Alberto Font

Though Chinese food options continue to pop up throughout the capital, many are too generic and bland to stand out. Don Wang outdoes its competition with an original menu that can satisfy any cravings for Chinese.

Don Wang
Location: Downtown San José, on Calle 11, between Avenidas 6 and 8
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone: 2233-6484, 2223-5925

Contact Matt Levin at

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