By Jessica Mozo
“We are one of the best restaurants in the area, and the hard work of all our employees has contributed to our success since 1987,” says Chan San, owner of Hunan Restaurant.
Hunan isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant. Its menu is made up of artfully prepared entrees from various regions of China – hot and spicy Hunan and Szechwan food, hearty and filling Peking fare, sweet delicacies from Shanghai and lighter options from Canton.
“One of our most popular dishes is our Honey Walnut Shrimp, which is prepared Cantonese-style,” says San, a native of Laos. “Our Hot Pepper Triple Combination from Hunan is also very popular. It is a combination of beef, shrimp and chicken stir-fried with green onions and spicy jalapeno peppers.”
For a taste of Szechwan, try the Chicken in Black Bean Sauce – strips of chicken stir-fried with jalapenos in a delicious spicy black bean sauce. Then there’s the sweeter Golden Sesame Chicken from Mandarin, which is deep-fried until golden, stir-fried with vegetables, tossed in sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Entrees at Hunan range from $11 to $20, and the enchanting Asian decor is always a topic of conversation.
“We have customers come in from big cities, and they say they can’t believe Carbondale has a restaurant like Hunan,” San says.
Another secret to Hunan’s success is being involved with the community. San serves on the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and traveled to China and Taiwan in 2009 with the Southern Illinois University chancellor to help recruit students.
“It’s always good to give back to the community – we try to keep up with the news and what is going on,” San says. “The best part of my job is talking to people. We have lots of return customers since we have been open 25 years. And they are more than customers – they have become our friends.”
Where to Find
Hunan Restaurant is located at 710 E. Main St. in Carbondale. For hours of operation, visit www.hunaninc.com or call (618) 529-1108.