ANDERSON — “I’ve been cooking since I was 13,” Xing Zhao said. “It’s just part of my day, I have to cook.”
The 28-year-old opened Anderson’s Lantern House Asian Bistro in 2018.
“We have a little bit different cuisine than what a lot of folks in Anderson are used to,” Zhao said. “It’s just better quality in terms of food.”
In a community with dozens of restaurants, food is prepared differently at Lantern House.
“We don’t pre-cook anything,” Zhao said. Everything is made to order. “Nothing’s frozen.”
Among the most popular are the bistro’s crab wonton, egg rolls, spicy chicken and pad thai noodles.
And while there is no frozen food in the bistro, patrons can find frozen items of a different kind next door at the recently opened Emm Boba Shop.
Offering a variety of milk teas and smoothies, Emm Boba Shop has something for everyone. For Zhao, it tastes like home.
“I like milk tea with boba because it’s something that I drank since I was 5 or 6. It’s like comfort food to me.”
Also comforting, according to Zhao, is the support from the Anderson community. It continues to back the restaurant through volatile times.
“It’s definitely a challenging time for any restaurant whether you're a small mom-and-pop or major corporation,” Zhao said. “It’s hard to find help, and food costs are going up.”
Regardless, Zhao remains focused: “That’s the plan for this place, we’re going to keep doing what we do best every day.”
Lantern House Asian Bistro and Emm Boba Shop are located at 4708 S. Scatterfield Road in Anderson.