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Sacramento Oracle

New Rice Bowl’s New Owner Continues Traditions

Jun 11, 2024 11:47AM ● By Mitch Barber, photos by Mitch Barber
Owner Kate Tang takes an order over the phone at New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Joseph Bartlow said you can’t get chow fun, the thick rice-noodle dish, in Tennessee.

That’s why he visits New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express in Carmichael. The house combination chow fun — with chicken, beef and shrimp, along with white and green onions and a generous amount of sliced green bell pepper — is a heaping mound of food at $16.95.

 House combination chow fun is prepared in the kitchen. The noodles are being stir-fried, with the meat and vegetables on the right in a strainer, awaiting introduction into the wok.

 The house combination chow fun is ready for consumption inside the restaurant. It comes with chopsticks, if you’d like, soy sauce, a fortune cookie, a fork and napkins.

Bartlow recently moved to the area from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee and he visits the Carmichael restaurant about three times a month, he said. On a recent occasion, he dined in with his wife and two children.

Kate Tang, owner of New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express who has been at the helm for just three months, has a family, as well: three young children and husband, Hua Zhang, who helps with delivery and in the kitchen when needed.

Tang is a cheerful, young presence at the register, patiently describing items on the menu.

Her background includes growing up in Guangdong, China, and being a waitress at a sushi restaurant starting in 2013. She visited her homeland last February, and she currently resides in Elk Grove.

 The mural on the inside wall of New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express depicts blossoming cherry trees.

She was quick to recommend that the Carmichael Times talk to “Chuck,” whose full name is Charles Wagaman, who has delivered and done maintenance for the restaurant the last approximately 10 years. He indicated that the restaurant has a 24-year history.

“There is a huge amount of Chinese and Asian customers,” Wagaman said.

The menu has changed little in its 24 years, according to Wagaman; customers don’t like change.

 New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express is at 7416 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael.

“It’s basically the same because it’s all based on the original owner’s menu,” Wagaman said. “He still comes in if they need some help with shelves and stuff. He (Wayne Mok) still owns the building.”

Tang said she scaled back the Japanese offerings on the menu, no longer serving sushi but stuck with Japanese staples teriyaki chicken, edamame and miso soup. The reasoning behind it is that other area restaurants do Japanese food, such as sushi, professionally and it no longer made sense to compete.

Angel Murillo, who works “just down the street,” stopped by the restaurant for the first time specifically to sample the Japanese cuisine.

“My co-worker and I like teriyaki chicken (served over steamed rice for $12.95),” Murillo said.

Wagaman said his favorite item on the menu is the honey walnut shrimp ($17.95), a Chinese delicacy.

He also said he liked “anything ‘salt and pepper’ — salt and pepper shrimp ($16.95), salt and pepper fish, salt and pepper chicken. Those are all good. Salt and pepper spareribs.”

When asked about Tang, Wagaman said, “She’s very nice and good with customers. Very friendly.”

The most difficult dish to make? Tang said that is the egg foo young, because it is steamed, pan-fried and then deep-fried. It comes in six varieties: chicken ($13.95), barbecue pork, vegetable, beef, shrimp and house combination.

She also sells party trays with items such as fried chicken wings, broccoli beef, chicken chow mein and general chicken. They range from $44.95 to $99.95.

But don’t forget the beverage options; “Boba Milk Tea Express” is part of the restaurant’s name, after all.

The menu lists 23 different types of milk tea, including the caffeine-free taro milk tea. You can add boba (tapioca balls) to a tea for just 50 cents. This writer ordered and drank a taro milk tea with boba ($5.45); the straw was wide to facilitate easy transit from the cup to one’s mouth.

The restaurant additionally offers smoothies and milkshakes.

New Rice Bowl Boba Milk Tea Express is at 7416 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays.