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What's Your Favorite Chinese Take Out Order

Judging from the boards, a lot of us do Chinese food over the holidays for either Christmas or New Year's Eve. I remember that my godfather's (a bachelor) contribution to our Christmas Eve party every year was four huge steaming cartons of Subgum Har Kew. We ate a lot of seafood that night, and I always looked forward to his arrival.

These days, even the tiniest takeout joints seem to be getting more adventurous with their takeout menu offerings. For example, my favorite local takeout place in my hometown gives a nod to our huge Hispanic community and also offers fried plaintains on their menu, as well as asapao on chef's special occasionally (I grab this when they have it). So there's a little diversity going on.

What's your favorite Chinese takeout item? I love dumplings of any sort.

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  1. I love cold crab rangoons. I'll order them to put in the fridge to snack on the next day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      I have inhaled cold fried rice and cold noodles by the cartonful but never rangoons...which I love. I'll have to try that. Info, I know you're familiar with New England--where's your favorite takeout spot? I tend to go to Fu Hing on the Methuen/Lawrence line. There's one in Bradford, Mass too I think?

      1. re: thegolferbitch

        Tea Garden in Groveland, MA is close to my house, so that my usual stop. In Bradford I like Han Garden. I'll have to check out Fu Hing soon.

      1. General Tso Chicken tho its so Americanized.

        15 Replies
        1. re: onlytwomuses

          That's because it's an American dish, not a Chinese one.

          1. re: RetiredChef

            The roots of Gen. Tso's chicken are actually in Taiwan, after the Chinese civil war...
            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

            1. re: Gio

              As with most dishes things are no so black and white. There are competing claims from two different NY restaurants that claim to have invented it.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_...

              Whomever you choose to believe, the General Tso chicken served in America would not find favor in Hunan, where it is unheard of, because it contains quite a bit of sugar and that is highly unusual in Hunan style cooking. In fact when it was introduced in Hunan in the 1990's the locals didn't like the dish and you cannot find it there anymore.

              http://www.amazon.com/The-Fortune-Coo....

            2. re: RetiredChef

              More specifically an east coast American dish. Growing up in California I never heard of it.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Right. East Coast-specific, along with "moo goo gai pan" and "lo mein." Those dishes are now found on the West Coast, but not until fairly recently.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  How terribly interesting. I would love to have even decent Americanized Chinese food. I have terrible-mediocre and mostly buffet at my disposal.

                  1. re: melpy

                    I think my love of Americanized Chinese food is from probably what you're describing as terrible-mediocre buffet as the food there is quite similar to the food I crave from my local takeout place only a smidgen fresher at the local place. This isn't elevated food by any stretch of the imagination.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      It doesn't need to be elevated. I would take mediocre MD Chinese takeout over good Central PA. We almost never eat it here because it it so bad. If anyone has a good recommendation near Harrisburg, PA I'm all ears.

                      Would love to try Grace Garden with some friends of ours in MD sometime.

                      1. re: melpy

                        I've only eaten at Golden Chopsticks once, but it was excellent. They also serve Thai and Japanese, but the Chinese is so good I doubt if I'd even try them.

                        http://goldenchopsticksusa.com/

                        1. re: melpy

                          Golden Wok in Latrobe, PA (which is about 2 hours from Harrisburg) is pretty good. I mean, I live very close to Pittsburgh, so the one in Latrobe is the closest to Harrisburg I can do.. unless you want to drive 4 hours from Harrisburg to New Castle, PA in my city.. lol.

                          1. re: melpy

                            In Northumberland, PA, about 45 mins away— there's a little hole in the wall Thai place that cooks the best rice, and everything else. I've had many if their dishes and though we have other option in the area, my hubby and I always choose this place. It's called Star Garden and they're just about opening another restaurant in my town, Sunbury. So there ya have it; they're so good, that I would drive even in inclement weather before going anywhere else, even though we have a Chinese restaurant about six blocks away, as well as a buffet about the same distance as Star Garden in the opposite direction. Give it a shot... (570) 473-7887 http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Star+Ga...

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Old reply but moo goo gai pan and lo mein have been on the Third Coast for at least forty years.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          I have never heard the expression "the Third Coast."
                          Could this mean the south, facing the Gulf of Mexico?

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              In Florida, the west coast means Tampa. I guess California would be our "third" coast.

                2. Mei Fun Noodles with Pork & Shrimp.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: Foodboy

                    Foodboy what are meifun noodles? I always wondered. Like lomein?

                    1. re: onlytwomuses

                      Mei fun noodles are those very thin rice noodles -- they're white and resemble "angel hair" pasta. Most good Chinese take out places stir-fry these noodles with your choice of meat, like pork, chicken, beef, etc., or shrimp - and various vegetables like, sprouts, ribbons of pepper, water chestnut...and egg too. The dish is terrific if all the ingredients balance out. A favorite place calls it Ha Moon Mei Fun. I'm not sure what "Ha Moon" means. I'm not a fan of curry, but the Singapore version of this includes a lot of it.

                      1. re: Foodboy

                        "Ha Moon" is Amoy pronounced with Cantonese. It's a coastal city in Fujian province.
                        "Mei Fun" is rice noodle.

                    2. re: Foodboy

                      I'd take that a step further (because of the addition of chicken and curry) and suggest Singapore Rice Noodle. A notch above pork and shrimp Mei Fun.
                      Same noodle [rice sticks]. Image: http://maymaycooking.tripod.com/siteb...

                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                        Is mei fun rice stick noodles that are not fried till they are crispy? I think Singapore noodles are rice stick noodles fried crispy? Is that right. I used to get a shrimp, greens, and soft rice stick noodles dish that was wonderful, but have not seen it since that restaurant closed. Was that dish mei fun? I'd like to know what to ask for if I could call an ask a Chinese restaurant to make it up for me special - which they are good about doing. I just never knew what to call this dish. I do not like noodles when they are fried crisp. I thought lo mein meant chow mein noodles cooked soft but when they arrived they were crispy. How would I ask for that particular dish - chow mein noodles sort of steamed or boiled soft and then mixed with meat and veg. so it is not as greasy as chow mein.
                        So, I guess I am asking what to call these 2 dishes.
                        Thanks!

                        1. re: niki rothman

                          Niki, what you're looking for is what we on the East coast have sometime seen considered ' vegetarian specials '. The noodles are usually steamed only, and not finished off in the oil (fried). Be aware that techniques vary from place to place. Also understand that lo mein is egg noodles, and mei fun are rice noodles. Different flours are utilized in making each noodle, thus achieving completely different results. I would ask them if they could make the dish you want w/o frying in their wok w/ oil and sauces. I think they would oblige. One caveat: it might be a bit bland.

                          Singapore rice noodle, if done right, can be very satisfying. It's made with rice noodle that is *briefly* rehydrated (in warm water, not boiling water usually) and then finished off in the wok later. Lo mein utilizes the same technique, except the noodles are boiled first, and finished off in the wok later. I tend to prefer rice noodles because they are less filling. BTW, if your noodles are arriving 'crisp', they must be way overcooked. Ask if they could leave the noodles softer for you. (Put them in the wok for less time than the usual). Hey, it's an option where you would not be sacrificing taste. For me, it just isn't Chinese food unless it's finished off in the wok. ; )

                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                            The dish that I would get that I really loved was shrimp chow mee fun - rice stick noodles that I think must have started off in boiling water then been drained and fried very briefly with shrimp and baby bok choy - so delicious.
                            This restaurant (Hong Kong on Church st. for SF hounds) closed down a couple of years ago and I haven't seen this dish offered elsewhere.

                            I find the vast majority of chow mein I see here in SF is horrible greasy, rubbery, tough noodles with dried out meats and skimpy veg. How they get away with it in a town with so many Chinese mystifies me.

                            Then there is what I am pretty sure is the Singapore noodles - wheat chow mein or even thinner stick noodles - but wheat - fried to a hotrrible card board greasy pancake with the meat and veg plopped on top. I've seen Asian diners seemingly enjoying this. It tastes terrible to me.

                            I am from NY and I can remember being served lo mein that was different than the chow mein we get here in SF, it was soft boiled wheat noodles almost like spaghetti but more tender - maybe an egg noodle - probably briefly finished in the wok - but not the tough fried greasy chow mein we get here by any means - it was softer, more delicate.

                            If anybody in SF knows a restaurant that serves these - please let me know.

                            1. re: niki rothman

                              My goodness. I thought for sure SF would have some *great* Chinese eats. Their dishes sound like they've been "Westernized" even further, to compensate for the distance between NY and CA, I guess. LOL. Anyhow, it sounds like you still have some searching to do to find your NY Chinese food equivalents. Have fun sampling.

                              1. re: niki rothman

                                Yes, lo mein are egg noodles, fresh ones. They are best if they are dry fried first so they have a slight smokiness, and are still a bit chewy. Good lo mein is wonderful but so hard to find...not the same as chow mein.

                                1. re: niki rothman

                                  Singapore Noodles is made with rice noodles, not wheat noodles. It's a favorite of mine, but a Singapore Chinese friend of mine refuses to order it saying: "It's just stir fried mei fun with curry powder."

                                  In cantonese "FUN" indicates white rice noodle
                                  mei fun - the thin rice noodle, it comes dry, and needs to be rehydrated before being used in soup or stir fried
                                  haw fun - flat rice noodle, it comes fresh, usually blanched or steam before used to get rid of some of the oil before used in soup or stir fried

                                  Admittedly, I have a preference for rice noodles, for whatever reason, I never liked mein (wheat or egg noodles) and avoided them. So if I order wonton mein, I have never encountered issues with substituting for haw fun, even though it's not on the menu.

                                  As for chow mein, I never actually encountered the noodles used until moving to North America. In Hong Kong, mein was always the thin egg/wheat noodle...not the thick stuff yellow stuff...I am not sure what is in that stuff. But the chow means "stir fried".

                                  Any chinese restaurant with a large chinese clientele would serve the tender egg noodle, but it would unlikely be called "chow mein" on the menu...it might just be referred to as noodles on the menu.

                                  1. re: niki rothman

                                    Where do you go for Chinese food in SF? There are many, many threads here about great places.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Eat wherever there are other Chinese people eating. I don't even remember names or location. The turnover with the chef/owners happen so quickly at Chinese restaurants, there's no point anyways.
                                      Having said that, I don't eat out Cantonese/Chinese American food that often now a days (my family is Cantonese, and my mom is a great cook, so I am spoiled) except for dim sum.
                                      For noodles type fare, I like Ying Kee in Oakland chinatown. My parents likes it too, very old school...Hong Kong circa 1970, and the hygiene standards to match.

                                      1. re: gnomatic

                                        Actually I was replying to niki rothman.

                            2. re: Foodboy

                              Add another vote for mei fun noodles, sometimes pork, sometimes the house special. I developed a taste for mei fun about 30 or more years ago in Flushing, Queens, before it was China town. Tai Tung had it as a choice of their three course special for $5. Even then, it was a steal.

                            3. House Special Soup and Fried Chicken Wings with mambo sauce.