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Minneapolis -- are there any crab rangoons in this town?

jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 02:59 AM

There seems to be an invisible line (maybe the Mississippi?) that separates crab rangoon country from fried wonton country.

Crab rangoons are not about the crab -- they're about the deliciously crispy wrapper and felicitous cream cheese-to-crunchy ratio. Fried wontons are competently fried cream cheese at best, but are typically just soggy bags of crap. (No offense intended to the many excellent Vietnamese and Thai places in Minneapolis -- this is a very specific complaint.)

Can anyone tell me where to get classic crab rangoons around here?

Or, for that matter, decent Chinese food?

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  1. d
    Danny RE: jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 03:05 AM

    Actually, Fried Wantons are filled with meat, generally pork.

    What you're referring to are cream cheese wontons.

    There are plenty of great Chinese restaurants out there, do a search, and you'll find plenty of discussion on them. (Most recently, the Dim Sum Chowdown at Jun Bo.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Danny
      AliceS RE: Danny Oct 5, 2006 02:18 PM

      God bless you Danny, for making that distinction! Fried wontons (a "wanton" is a woman of ill-repute :)) are indeed filled with pork. Until I came to MN, I had never heard of cheese in any kind of Chinese food. And although even the best Chinese restaurants in MN have these cream cheese wontons, they are hardly the mark of great (or "decent") Chinese food.
      But to answe jmortons questions in brief:

      Tea House (order from authentic menu for great Chinese food, the regular menu for the cream cheese wontons)
      88 Nathan Lane, Plymouth 763-544-3422

      Mandarin Kitchen (esp. for seafood) 8766 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington 952-884-5356

      Hong Kong Noodle (not great in my opinion, but very good) 901 Washington Ave SE, Mpls, 612-379-9472

      And the aforementioned Jun Bo, 7717 Nicollet Ave, Richfield, 612-866-6888.

      And FishMpls: all the ducks could be gray unless specified, that is why Goose makes more sense.

    2. f
      FishMPLS RE: jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 12:52 PM

      Yes, here they are called Cream Cheee Puffs, or Wontons. Also note that mint chocolate chip is here called peppermint bon bon. And it's duck duck gray duck, which makes much more sense than duck duck goose. I love these beautiful regional linguistic differences.

      1. d
        dahlsk RE: jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 04:58 PM

        There is a difference between Crab Rangoon and Cream Cheese Wontons, though both are made with cream cheese. The only place in the cities where I have had crab rangoon is at David Fong's in Bloomington. It's totally a retro (though authentically, not ironically) Chinese place, but good for a stiff drink, some fried apps, chow mein, etc. I can't compare their crab to any other place, but I've had them there often. dahlsk

        1. AliceS RE: jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 05:43 PM

          does Red Dragon in Uptown have crab rangoon?
          I found this article from the Macalester Weekly that mentions New Asia as having crab rangoon. What is crab rangoon anyway?

          1. d
            Dragon RE: jrnorton23 Oct 5, 2006 06:18 PM

            Alice,

            This is what Wikipedia has to say (and extra points for putting in "super-delicious"):Crab rangoon are super delicious deep-fried dumplings served in American Chinese restaurants, stuffed with a combination of cream cheese and imitation crab meat. They are made from Chinese wontons and deep fried.

            Although served in typical Chinese restaurants, crab rangoon isn't considered authentic Chinese cuisine. Although the history of crab rangoon is misty, cream cheese was barely used in China. Crab rangoon is similar to another American Chinese dish, the Fortune cookie, that is falsely associated with authentic Chinese dishes.

            Crab rangoon is rumored to have been introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Since then, it has become a major hit in most Asian cuisine restaurants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dragon
              l
              Loren3 RE: Dragon Oct 5, 2006 09:46 PM

              Some seafood-specific Chinese places on the east coast use real crab. That's what makes them really yummy. And I've seen them only in the traditional "ruby-jade-pagoda-dragon-palace" style restos, not the nouvelle Chinese.

            2. jrnorton23 RE: jrnorton23 Oct 6, 2006 04:38 AM

              I should have been more specific -- there is a dramatic difference between crab rangoons and both fried wontons (with pork) and cream cheese wontons (sans pork.) It's usually a matter of crisp vs. soggy, but even a good crisp cream cheese wonton tends to have a lot more cream cheese per bite of crisp fried exterior. I grew up in Madison, and every restaurant in town had rangoons (ditto Boston, where I lived for 5 years.) And I'd barely encountered mock duck until coming to Minneapolis, and it's everywhere. Which, I think, is a great thing.

              1. k
                k_d RE: jrnorton23 Oct 10, 2006 05:49 PM

                Wow. Crab rangoon are so far from "authentic" Chinese ... in case you hadn't noticed, Chinese do not generally use dairy in their old-school cooking. Now, when you start talking Hong Kong Cantonese cooking, you start to get British influences, and that includes the use of dairy. But that's cooking that is right at 100 years old, and not the thousands-of-years traditional. Crab rangoon invented in 1904?? That's a new one on me. I always assumed it was a Trader Vic invention - that quasi-Polynesian, odd Oriental vibe, circa 1970. The only wonton my family made were filled with pork. In any case, don't believe anyone who tells you crab rangoon are "authentic" Chinese. They're produced by clever Chinese restaurateurs who know how to deliver what their customers want.

                1. f
                  FishMPLS RE: jrnorton23 Oct 10, 2006 08:13 PM

                  Is it really important whether or not it's traditional? Clearly it's not, but it is good. And why can't we just consider it fusion? It's interesting that in general Americans don't consider things fusion unless they are "fusing" cuisines from other parts of the world, while if it's a mixture of "traditional" American (whatever that means), it's normally considered dumbed down or vulgar. Admittedly, no one here has called anything vulgar, but it's a general observation.

                  1. s
                    schmailly RE: jrnorton23 Nov 17, 2006 05:07 PM

                    jeez louise, these answers weren't really very helpful. there's a little place in calhoun village called 1st wok (coming from st louis pk heading northeast on hwy 7, it's on the left just before 7 turns into lake st). this place has excellent crab rangoons, with just the right blend of crab and cream cheese, crunchy wrappers, and a red dipping sauce (i'm not sure what flavor it is, but it's a nice complement to the rangoons). they also have good lunch specials and their chow mein is a treat (not meat with brown gunk, but a light, garlicky sauce instead). hope you try them -- i don't think you'll be disappointed.

                    1. AliceS RE: jrnorton23 Nov 17, 2006 07:22 PM

                      I see that Jun Bo has them, but cannot say if they are good or not.

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