When you consider the number of restaurants that have come and gone in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel the past 15 years, it’s pretty impressive that Fushia Asian Bistro, located in the Shoppes at Amberly plaza in Tampa Palms, is celebrating its 15th anniversary in that same location.
Owners Sharon and Charlie Wang actually have been in the plaza for 20 years, as they previously also owned Joy-O-Wok, which was much more of a takeout Chinese place, rather than the affordable fine dining restaurant that Fushia is today.
The restaurant is so named not so much because of the color fuchsia, but because it offers a fusion of different Asian cuisines, especially some unique Korean fare.
Sharon always has kept up with the latest trends in her business, and in recent years has added all-you-can-eat, cook-it-yourself options like Korean-style barbecue and a hot pot buffet (more on these below). She also recently expanded Fushia’s dim sum (appetizer and dessert) options. She even offers multiple private karaoke suites with thousands of song titles available, another popular Asian trend.
But, despite all of these other options, I still say that Fushia has the best (and most authentic) Chinese cuisine in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel — and one of the best things I can say about it is that even though I have my always reliable (and yummy) favorites, I keep finding new ones. But, I would really like to give you just a little taste (pun intended) of why I love this place so much.
The dim sum appetizers craze in New York started shortly before I moved to Florida in 1993. Even so, I’m still more of a traditional egg roll, barbecued spare ribs and pan-fried dumplings guy for starters because it’s the Chinese main dishes that I crave most.
Therefore, it’s not too disappointing to me that many of the items on Fushia’s extensive dim sum menu have shrimp in them, which (as you loyal readers hear ad nauseum) I’m too allergic to for me to risk trying any of them. However, if you love crispy shrimp balls or steamed shrimp dumplings, the folks around me on my most recent visit who ordered the shrimp balls said they’re the best in town.
Although Fushia’s pan-fried pork dumplings are as good as they get, I did recently sample and enjoy the pork soup dumplings, which a lot of people were eating when Jannah and I visited an excellent Chinese restaurant in New York. The soup dumplings have a different texture than the pork wontons in most wonton soup, and they’re excellent. I also love the flavor of Fushia’s spare ribs dim sum, which are cut-up sections of pork ribs cooked in your choice of two different sauces — I love ‘em both, but probably prefer the garlic and black pepper sauce to the black bean sauce.
And, although dim sum is only served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. every day for lunch, many of the items are desserts — like the egg tart dim sum (think sweet mini-quiches) and the sesame dessert balls (lower center photo on next page), which are filled with sweet red bean paste — to name just two.
“We make everything fresh, cooked-to-order here with the best ingredients,” Sharon says proudly. “Many of our regular customers tell me they can’t eat Chinese food anywhere else.”
Hot Pot Buffet
I’ve written about Fushia’s hot pot buffet before and even though it’s a great, different way to enjoy the restaurant, I’d still rather order dishes off the menu and have them served to me, rather than have to pick my own ingredients (including raw meats, veggies, broth to cook them in and sauce) and have to cook it myself in a boiling hot pot, but I will say that the few times I’ve had the hot pot buffet at Fushia, I’ve loved it. Several of the sauces are outstanding. It just will never be my first choice.
Even so, the all-you-can-eat hot pot buffet, which also includes soft drinks and a huge variety of desserts, is still a pretty good deal at the regular price of $25.99 per person. However, in celebration of Fushia’s 15th anniversary, you can try the hot pot buffet for only $19.99 per person (with the ad in the current issue), which truly is a bargain for everything you get. And, even though there’s raw shellfish available for the hot pot buffet, I’ve never gotten a reaction from it at Fushia.
Korean BBQ Buffet
One option I’ve yet to try — but that lead videographer Charmaine George says is amazing — is Fushia’s Korean BBQ buffet.
Charmaine loved grilling her steak, pork, shrimp and veggies on the Korean BBQ grill right at her table (top left photo on next page). “Everything was fresh and delicious,” she said afterwards. “I will definitely try that again!” Again, you choose your own ingredients, so those with allergies don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.
And, with the ad on pg. 42, the Korean BBQ Buffet (with soft drinks and desserts) is just $21.99 per person — a $5 savings!
The Main Event!
But, despite all of these other options, I still prefer Fushia’s authentic Szechuan (or Sichuan) cuisine. One of my favorite dishes is the Young Chow (mixed ingredient) fried rice.
Fushia always holds the shrimp for me and gives me extra chicken and pork. My new favorite Sichuan dish is the spicy chicken dry pot (top right), which comes with a variety of fresh veggies and features a stinging spicy sauce which is given a kick from jalapeño peppers. The chicken is the opposite of dry, but the sauce is definitely less runny than at most Chinese places. And, although I might order it next time without the thick potato slices it comes with, there’s also plenty of snow peas, carrots, broccoli and celery — and they will sub out any veggies you don’t want. Too good!
My other favorite dishes (all of which I order spicy) are the beef with Chinese broccoli, the already-spicy Yan Jian pork and the boneless Sichuan duck with mixed vegetables.
But, Fushia’s menu is so extensive, I know there are dozens of other dishes I’ve yet to try that could one day make my list of favorites. Sharon says, “There’s no other Chinese place with a bigger menu than Fushia. I know we have what you want, whether you’re American, Asian, an adult or a kid. We have something for everyone!”
And, the local community agrees — as many of Fushia’s reviews on Yelp tout the food as “the best” and “most authentic” in all of Tampa. High praise, indeed!
And of course, with all that spicy food, there’s nothing better than an ice cold Tsingtao (from China) or Sapporo (from Japan), although Fushia also offers a nice variety of reasonably priced wines.
So, please check it out and tell Sharon and her amazing staff that I sent you!
Fushia Asian Bistro (15317 Amberly Dr.) is open every day except Monday, 11 a.m.-midnight. For more info, call (813) 903-6705 or visit FushiaChinese.com.