If you’re looking for a fool proof concept; a fast-food style Asian diner with a funky, fresh and unpretentious approach to food brought to you by the masters of the contemporary Chinese bistro, P.F. Chang’s, would be about as fool proof as you can get.
Located in Food World in Avenues Phase II, Pei Wei brings a touch of class to the typical food court fare found in this part of the mall. It’s fast food, but don’t even think about comparing it with junk fast food. This is real food, cooked for all to see in the flash of a sizzling 600-degree wok by real people.
That’s the beauty of the concept. A lot of Asian food is fast by default. Flash frying, proteins and veggies and adding one of a multitude of sauces takes no time at all. The reduced cooking times even ensures the veggies retain all the goodness in the form of vitamins and minerals that can diminish with overcooking. It also keeps them crunchy which adds so much texture to the dishes.
Pei Wei is owned by P.F Chang’s China Bistro and they already boast 175 locations worldwide. They offer wok-seared dishes from five countries – China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand. All the dishes are made fresh-to-order and if you hang around at the counter you can see the dishes being prepared – the chefs working at individual stations, amidst the hiss and flames as they bang out top-notch cuisine in mere minutes.
The process itself is simple. As you arrive you’ll be greeted by a friendly member of the Pei Wei team who’ll hand you a menu on your way to the counter. The menu is also displayed on flatscreens at the counter so you can take a little time perusing. It is a good length so you won’t be bamboozled with too much choice but don’t feel cheated by a limited menu either. Behind the counter you’ll see the chefs hard at work over those 600-degree woks, and the sizzle of the food cooking will only increase your appetite.
First you’ll encounter the Small Plates – Hot & Sour or Wonton Soup, Eggs or Spring Rolls and, my favorite, the Minced Chicken with Cool Lettuce Wraps (these are great for those looking for low-carb options). And who can resist Edamame? Most of these dishes serve as appetizers but could even work as a grab-and-go snack if you’re in a hurry to get back to the sales.
They also offer a couple of salads; the Asian Chopped Chicken Salad and the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken Salad and noodle and rice bowls too, such as Lo Mein, Pad Thai and Spice Market Noodles.
The idea behind Pei Wei is that customers can ‘dine in five languages’ in a contemporary, dynamic setting. So what does dining in five languages mean? This is where the Pei Wei signature dishes come in. Think of Pei Wei as a place where you can enjoy a kind of flavor-tourism with a different destination each time you visit. The great thing about Pei Wei is its versatility. With the majority of the signature dishes you get to choose your protein—choosing from beef, chicken and shrimp (the menu also offers vegetarian options). Then you choose your destination. Will it be Mandarin Kung Pao, Thai Dynamite, Spicy Korean or even Mongolian? The menu informs you which of the dishes are spicy and which ones will be vegetarian when ordered with vegetables and tofu through a simple key system.
After placing your order and paying, the cashier will hand you a red disc with a number on it. He’ll ask you to place the disc in the holder on your table, a mixture of booths or free standing with chairs, and wait. You won’t be waiting long! The soup was out almost as soon as we sat down and the other items followed at a steady pace, just enough time to eat them and not too much that we felt like we were waiting. The dishes were tasty, and the freshness of the ingredients came through in every bite.
The space at Pei Wei is a funky and fresh environment where you can take a break from all the stresses of a busy day shopping at The Avenues and chill out a little.
Pei Wei Kuwait is the first branch to open in the Middle East. Vice President of Operations for Pei Wei International, Heather McIntosh states, “With Pei Wei’s first entrance into the Middle East, customers in Kuwait can now eat in five languages, with food made to order using only fresh ingredients and authentic spices from the Asian region.”
So give the credit cards, and your feet, a rest the next time you’re indulging in a little retail therapy at The Avenues and drop by Pei Wei. You won’t be disappointed.
Pei Wei is located in Phase II of The Avenues. For more information, visit peiweikuwait.com or call 2221 4757.