Guò nián hǎo! This weekend, Asian cultures rang in the Lunar New Year with celebrations of longevity and good fortune. In Covington, festivities took place at one of my favorite restaurants: KungFood Chu's Amerasia.

Known for serving Chinese favorites with a fresh, homemade twist, owner Johnny Chu recreated an atmosphere of dining in the 1990s in New York City Chinatown. With modern decor, bright red walls, oriental-style lighting, and kung-fu movies playing on a big screen television, Amerasia is far from your average take-out joint.

Owner Johnny Chu serving up green tea ice cream.

With roots stemming from Thailand, Johnny's father, Chef Chu, created an intense spice level for his restaurant. Compared to normal Asian fare, the peppers are more powerful. For example, if you usually order spicy level 4, you may want to go with spicy level 2 at Amerasia. While their scale ranges from 1-10, ghost peppers are added to the sauces starting at level 5. Order a #10 and the server brings out your plate wearing a gas mask.

Also signature to Amerasia is their vast selection of craft beers. With over 100 bottles, the knowledgeable bartenders will help you find a beer that will pair perfectly with your meal.

This detailed binder of beers is organized from light to dark ales.

Now that I've got your appetite going, let's discuss what to order. I've eaten both vegan and meaty dishes from across the menu and everything has been outstanding. Any dish can be made vegetarian, which I've discovered are just as scrumptious as the meals for omnivores. Here are some of my favorites:

Seaweed Salad (appetizer)
Dragon's Breath Wontons (appetizer)
This was a half-order with sauce on the side.
Big Bertha Vegetarian Eggroll (appetizer)
Teriyaki Fried Tofu with Broccoli
Eg Fu Yung
Teriyaki Stirfry
Chinese Pork Chop
Tofu Ginger Stirfry
Spicy Mapo Tofu
Vegetarian Chinese Pork Chop

Johnny's Chinese Donuts (dessert)

Cooking up dozens of gigantic, delicious dishes combined with personable, attentive service, Amerasia has redefined Chinese food for Cincinnati. Stop by for lunch or dinner six days a week, closed Sundays.