Smile Politely

I-Wok in Savoy has great tasting Chinese food with generous portions

The exterior of I-Wok in Savoy, Illinois has lit up red signage on a weekday evening. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

Our family has been I-Wok fans since their opening. When I-Wok opened many years ago, we received a direct mail ad with some very generous coupons. Being a charter member of Central Illinois Cheapskates, I’m not one to turn down a coupon. We quickly became regulars because the food is good, and it is locally owned. In fact, it is very rare when the owner is not there, so we got to know them over the years.

On our most recent visit, my wife didn’t order her regular egg drop soup, and she was asked if she was sure she didn’t want any soup. I love that about being a regular of a local restaurant. By the way, the egg drop soup is excellent, and you can read about in my five C-U soups list. We have watched their children progress from doing homework at the restaurant to working the counter and taking orders.

Carl Busch

I-Wok in Savoy is a nice, cozy spot if you want to dine in. We chose to carry out for this review. If you are not pressed for time, I recommend going to the restaurant to order — even for carry out. I-Wok has complimentary hot tea and water.

Carl Busch

We really enjoyed our hot tea on a cold night while our order was being prepared. The tea was excellent and served in a beautifully designed cup. It was very relaxing and therapeutic. Oh yeah, I also love the price: free.

Carl Busch

For our appetizer, we ordered crab rangoons (8 pieces $7.50, 4 pieces for $4.25). These are so good that my wife tried the old let’s-eat-some-on-the-way-home move, but I reminded her I needed pictures for the review! Smelling the food on the drive home can be maddening, but I did manage to drive the speed limit.

To call these elephant ears is a bit hyperbolic, but the crab rangoons were generous in size. The corners were nicely crisp, and the soft middle was filled with a lot of goodness. Served with sweet and sour sauce, they were the perfect way to kick off a meal.

Carl Busch

To start, since the evening being a bit frigid, I was in the mood for some hot and sour soup ($3.75 small, $6.25 large). The soup had a wonderful, rich broth packed with various vegetables and tofu. The heat level was just how I like it; I get a little runny nose right at the finish. What stands out to me about this soup wasn’t only the number of vegetables, but how fresh and crisp they were. They added a lot of texture to the soup, along with the fried wontons included with every order.

Carl Busch

We had the special treat of our son joining us for dinner. He had General Tso’s chicken ($13.75) which included white rice. There was a ton of chicken in the order, and it was served with steamed broccoli. The sauce has great balance of hot and sweet. The pieces of chicken were large, meaty, and tender.

What is better than General Tso’s chicken you ask? How about General Tso’s chicken plus shrimp with Szechuan sauce, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, and green peppers for just a buck more? That is the wonderful combo you get with The Dragon Phoenix, or as I refer to it: The Joaquin River Phoenix ($14.75) which included white rice.

Carl Busch

The best part of this dish was that the shrimp were large and not breaded. This allowed the wonderful, sweet shrimp flavor come through, which was a great contrast to the General Tso’s chicken and Szechuan sauce. The portion size easily makes two nice meals. This is one of my favorite dishes in the area.

Carl Busch

Lastly, speaking of favorites, my wife ordered moo shu pork ($12.75), which included five pancakes and plum sauce. My wife and I love this dish. The pork had great flavor and texture. The cabbage, green onions, and regular onions offered a nice crunch. The pancakes were a perfect vehicle for the food as they were very light and thin allowing all the flavors to come through. The plum sauce absolutely made this a wonderful savory meal.

Carl Busch

We are plum sauce fiends. I somehow forgot to ask for extra plum sauce, which I typically do — even if it costs extra. I view plum sauce like I do feta cheese on a Greek salad: you can never have too much.

Carl Busch

The portion size was just as generous as the other dishes; there is still moo shu pork leftover in our fridge. I’m not sure how it has made it two days, but I plan to correct that very soon and snarf it down — unless my wife beats me to it.

One common theme you will find with I-Wok are their generous portions, which is awesome because I rank Chinese food leftovers up there with cold pizza. I-Wok’s containers are fantastic. They are substantially large plastic containers with clear plastic tops and could be re-used in the future to hold school or work lunches.

I-Wok is in the City Center Place development off Dunlap Avenue (Route 45) in Savoy. It can be hard to see from Route 45, so I recommend setting the GPS if you are not familiar with the area. It is a wonderful locally owned spot with flavorful, generous portions. Be sure to enjoy some hot tea, whether you are dining in or ordering to go.

I-Wok
113 Calvin St
Savoy
T-Sa 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Su 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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