If you’ve ever wondered what food from a Chinese canteen would taste like or wanted to live out your fantasies of being a Taiwanese school girl, Class 302 is worth a visit. The decor of this little restaurant with its student desks, large blackboard, and uniforms pinned on walls are all reminiscent of Chinese classrooms. Even the disposable chopsticks and napkins are kept in school bags attached to each table.
In matching with the setting, ordering any of the rice combos off the menu results in your dish coming out in a generic, stainless steel bento box much like the ones I used to bring lunch in during elementary school.
I ordered a pork-chop and Taiwanese sausage bento box which comes with a battered and fried pork chop, some slices of sausage, some Chinese pickled cabbage, and a vegetable selection of stir fried bamboo shoots and ground meat and snow cabbage and edamame.
Class 302 replicates Chinese cafeteria food perfectly, at least from my limited experiences of eating cafeteria food from my dad’s old office in China. The pork chop was a thin but fatty, grisly piece that was only lukewarm. The batter had no hint of crispness at all, which led me to believe that it had been cooked a while ago and only poorly reheated. The pork itself had an off, gamey taste. The sausage was too sweet and tasted like generic, store-bought sweet sausage. The vegetables and pickles were forgettable.
Will ordered one of the few vegetarian meals on the menu, a stir fried noodle dish. Like my rice bento, the dish was lackluster — salty but having no flavor. The shiitake mushroom slices tasted like someone took some dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked them, sliced them, but forgot to cook them.
We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries, which were odd to say the least. The fries were battered and fried, but quickly lost their crisp. They were seasoned to be both overly salty and strangely sweet, and I’m not just talking about the natural sweetness of sweet potato. The menu mentioned a plum dipping sauce, but the waiter said they ran out. Even so, I doubt the dipping sauce would have improved these strange, fried sticks of starch.
The only good thing we ordered was the fried stinky tofu. It was decently stinky, and had a mildly sour taste. Still nothing close to the real thing, but a valiant effort for a place whose previous dishes were only so-so. The pickled cabbage was nothing to write home about, but also had nothing glaringly wrong about it.
Considering the long drive from our place to Class 302, you could say I was let down. Even though I was starving when I got there, the food just didn’t taste that good. Maybe we grossly ordered the wrong thing because some of the tables next to us ordered just shaved ice and those looked pretty damn good.
The place is worth checking out just for the decor, but I suggest eating a meal somewhere else, like any of the restaurants in the same plaza, and then going to Class 302 for a shaved ice dessert.
1015 S. Nogales St., #125
Rowland Heights, CA 91748