Hunan Chinese food takes an American turn

    Rarely does a restaurant accomplish blending the exquisite taste of multiple cultures as well as Fatima Seafood Restaurant does.

    Originally from Taiwan, the owners of this ten year old Chinese restaurant mimic the dish style and tang of the Sink Iang Muslim province of China. Muslim Chinese have merged the tastes of various Asian countries into their infamous Hunan food for hundreds of years. Fatima owners only felt it appropriate to share that popular savor with America.

    Conveniently located right off Highway 85, Fatima provides ample parking space for those willing to venture off to its Cupertino location. As you enter you’re greeted by two stone lion pillars as well as a mini-pond in the middle of the restaurant. The ruckus from within restaurant is a strenuous, but minor, set back to the restaurant’s exquisiteness. In spite of the clatter, the room still carries the décor of a neat, cozy family eat-out.

    After a five-minute wait, a courteous waiter will guide you to your seat and jump-starts your evening with a cup of refreshing Chinese tea. He then takes your order, and provides you with almost instant service, naming your ordered dishes as he delivers them.

    The restaurant carries a lack of alternatives in its beverage choice, carrying only soft drinks and water as choices. The water is free, but the soft drinks price $1.00.

    The appetizers offered are typical of a Chinese restaurant: Egg rolls (4 for $3.25), Fried Wontons (10 for $2.95), Shrimp Rolls (4 for $4.95), and the usual selection of soup ($5.25-6.25). A notable selection is the Hot and Sour Soup, which is served with shredded chicken and veggies mixed in. Its name speaks pretty much for itself, being served warm and slightly sour.

    There are 33 selections of beef to choose from, ranging in prices from $7.95-$8.95. All of the choices are unique in their own aspects, being cooked and chopped differently. The Mongolian beef tops the category however, with peanuts and chicken bits mixed together along with a unique red sauce.

    The Mushu dishes ($6.75-9.95) are dry and bland. Though each plate provides a different assortment of meat, the only thing noticeable in the taste is a jumble of chopped vegetables. On the other hand each Mushu dishes is served with four pancakes for you to create a kind of "Mushu Burrito", bringing a sort of pizzazz to the meal.

    The seafood is one of the many strong points of the restaurant. Ranging in prices from $8.95-$12.95, the various dishes are compilations of either vegetables with sauce, or fish with side appetizers. The fish are served fresh and spicy, and if one wills, served in their entirety- skin, eyeballs, and all.

    The Chow Mein ($5.50-$5.75) is reasonable. Though it’s a bit stringy and not that fresh, its taste is acceptable. It’s offered with beef, lamb, or chicken.

    The usual fried rice is offered in its characteristic variations: Chicken, Lamb, Egg, etc. Prices range from $5.50-5.75, but you can always get the simple 50-cent Steamed rice.

    Fatima Restaurant is characterized for its exceptional Dim Sum ($2.25-5.50). Of the top choices, the Sesame Bread with Green Onions ($5.50) ranks supreme. The large unleavened pancake flecked with onion is a kind of Chinese pizza/ French roll. Despite taking fifteen minutes to cook, it’s served fresh, hot, and crunchy.

    Though the Chinese Hunan style is still just immerging, and its deliciousness is still a mystery to some, Fatima Seafood Restaurant provides a wide variety of dishes and hospitable service to leave customers yearning for more.