Our Duluth Trip Ended With Kung Pao Beef & Cream Cheese Wontons

Our visit to Chinese Dragon was completely unplanned. We had spent the evening at Vikre (again!) and Hoops Brewing where Jake met his nemesis.

Jake’s one of those people to whom strangers spontaneously share their life stories. I don’t know if it’s his energy or open face. On the other hand, strangers never unload their life’s stories on me I’m kind of OK with that. As a woman, I’ve had enough creepy encounters just trying to go about my day-to-day business. Therefore, I try to employ an effective “fork off face” running errands or walking through the skyways (expressed in the style of Eleanor Shellstrop).

At Hoops Brewing, we learned that once Jake gets a few drinks in him, he becomes extremely passionate about the sport of ice dancing. Jake waxed and waned about his thoughts on the sport and theories about how the judges were dishing out scores as we watched the Olympics on the televisions above the bar.

The man sitting next to him didn’t find it as fascinating (or, maybe he simply didn’t like him). When the man’s friends arrived at the bar, Jake offered to switch seats with the man so they could all sit together. His offer was met with such a disdainful, snarky response, that he was stunned. Finally, he was finally out of words. About ice dancing, at least. . . for the next 10 minutes.

We were preparing to grab dinner anyway, so it seemed like a good segue to leave.

Sure, we could have eaten at another local hot spot or classic Duluth restaurant in Canal Park like Fitgers. In the end, we decided that Chinese food just sounded really, really good.

Jake led the way to a Chinese restaurant he pulled up on his phone. We hustled across i-35 in sub-zero temperatures to a nondescript restaurant on Superior Street called Chinese Dragon.

First, ignore the Yelp reviews. We all know Yelp reviews are mostly bullshirt, anyway.

Arriving an hour before closing, we were some of the only diners. We listened as the phone rang and rang and watched the hostess/server and delivery driver complete a flurry of last-minute delivery orders.

We ordered kung pao beef (extra spicy) and cream cheese wontons to share. Soon, plump wontons arrived hot from the fryer with a big bowl of sweet and sour sauce. And then came a steaming platter of beef stir-fried with peanuts, vegetables, and a savory brown sauce with a decent kick. Everything tasted delicious. We dug in with gusto.

Olympic ice dancing played on a small television near the register. Jake and the woman operating the front-of-the-house engaged in a lively conversation about the sport.

And when all was said and done, she wished us well and said she hoped we’d come back again on our next trip to Duluth.

Jake shared his thoughts on  ice dancing with our Lyft driver whose reaction ranged somewhere between that guy at the brewery and the woman at Chinese Dragon.

Sometimes you have to follow your stomachs and determine where your next good place is going to be.

The Places:

Chinese Dragon
108 E Superior St
Duluth, MN 55802
Facebook page

Hoops Brewing
325 S Lake Ave
Duluth, MN 55802

More Duluth Adventures:


  1. Katy F

    Haha! I would have willingly listened to Jake’s opinions on ice dancing ! It sounds quite entertaining!!

    • Jeni

      He’ll be thrilled he has a kindred spirit

  2. Beth Ann Chiles

    I never would have pegged Jake for an ice dancing afficianado. I am sure he was most entertaining. But honestly—what’s not to like, right? The food you found sounds amazing and even though I would have to dial down the heat a little bit I know I would have loved it as much as you. Thanks for another wonderful suggestion of a great place to eat.

    • Jeni

      I never guessed he was either. Must be that Duluth beer

  3. Josh

    cream cheese won tons… You had me at cream cheese. Big surprise the dude at the bar was a first class pot licker. Minnesota nice, I found while living there only exists in the minds of the PPL who live in Minnesota. I didn’t find anything “nice” about Minnesotans at all… In fact it’s the least friendly place I ever lived…

    • Jeni

      lol! that is funny to know. I think the rest of the world is about crab ragoons.

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