The Secret to Good Shit

China Delights is located in the far back corner of an old shopping center. Its view is obscured from the main road by a grassy hill and from the rest of the center by a sprawling Safeway. But despite the closed-off location, this business has thrived for longer than I’ve been alive. People come back. There are regulars that come at least once a week, my family included. What is their secret?

Before revealing my thoughts on China Delights, I’d like to discuss the current state of the food and drink business. Poke, acai bowls, boba shops, and ice cream squished between different deserts dominate the current food scene for youth. New restaurants targeting college students see Instagramability as a requirement. Before social media, something “Instagramable” was called a gimmick. These new businesses center around a single thing that makes them different from the droves of others opening up on a trend.

Today’s food landscape values visual appeals highly. But just like any fad, they will die. At best, they appeal to a certain niche culture; at worst, they have a different container. A minority continue to appeal to food fundamentals of quality of taste and ingredients. Kudos to those who have that quality and still win social media. They are the ones that are changing the future of food.

So why does China Delights thrive in the food business marathon? People go for the food. Their food is superb and the price is unbeatable. People go for the service. Mei is one of the best servers I’ve every seen. She remembers most people who enter the door and converses politely without being overbearing. People go to China Delights because their fundamentals are sound. They defeat their competition by being better, not by being different.

Finding a gimmick is the easy short-cut to winning the food game for a while. Real quality endures. That’s the secret to good shit. Be good and keep getting better.