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Raleigh - ISO Chinese Chicken Salad

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My sigoth has a craving for a good Chinese chicken salad. For some reason, this dish was incredibly common in our old locale of the San Francisco peninsula, but we haven't found more than one or two offerings around the Triangle, and they have been disappointing. We're looking for a version with shredded chicken pieces in a tangy vinegar-based dressing with a light, cool crispness.

Any ex-Bay Area folks know what I'm talking about? Anybody else have a suggestion?

Thanks, boardies!

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  1. I wish! I 've never seen it on a menu in this part of the world. Fortunately, it's not difficult to make, although frying the bean threads does threaten a major mess. We use a recipe from The Chinese Village Cookbook. Made some last weekend. Yum.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dschoonmaker

      Thanks, Dschoon. I just ordered myself a copy of that cookbook. I'll give it a shot!

    2. It's been months for you, but I'm in the same boat, so your post came up in my search. I'm a Bay Area transplant (to Seattle), desperately missing that Tao Tao/Mings light and mustardy crunch with chopsticks straight out of the container. I'm working on a recipe. If you have anything to share, please post!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chezstacey

        I moved away from San Jose in 1997 and have been craving it ever since I left. Tao Tao is the first stop after I leave SJC or SFO!! It's a lot of work to make but it's the closest I have to their salad. Enjoy!!!

        "Tao Tao" Chicken Salad

        Ingredients:
        1 (2 1/2 pound) chicken, cut up
        2 eggs, beaten
        Cornstarch
        1 tbsp sesame oil
        Vegetable oil
        1 (6 3/4 oz) package rice sticks
        1 tbsp Chinese mustard powder
        1 tbsp sesame oil
        1 tbsp soy sauce
        1 tbsp water
        Salt, pepper
        1/2 cup torn cilantro leaves
        1 bunch green onions, shredded
        2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
        3 tbsp chopped roasted almonds and pecans
        1 small head lettuce, finely shredded

        Dip chicken pieces in eggs, then cornstarch. Heat sesame oil and 2 tbsp vegetable oil in heavy skillet. Fry chicken pieces until tender. Drain on paper towels and cool. Bone and shred.

        Heat oil for deep frying to 365. Fry rice sticks, small batch at a time, 1 to 2 seconds, or until puffed. Drain on paper towels.

        In a large bowl, mix mustard with water to make paste and add and soy sauce and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to chicken and toss.

        Add cilantro, green onions, sesame seeds, rice sticks, almonds and lettuce to chicken mixture. Toss thoroughly. Serve immediately.