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Apr 22, 2008 09:31 AM

Spicy Tangy (or Szechuan) Wontons - Baltimore

These show up as an appetizer on Chinese restaurant menus as "spicy tangy wontons," or "wontons in hot oil," or "szechuan wontons," or (occasionally) as "long chao shou," and they are pretty much exactly what they say: wontons, usually pork, served in a thin hot sauce with lots of red peppers.

I have no idea what is traditional with them and what isn't, I just know that it's a favorite appetizer of mine and I'm having trouble finding it in Baltimore. Has anyone noticed it at their neighborhood Chinese takeout? (I don't need an authentic version, or even a restaurant where the rest of the food is good -- all I'm looking for is to sample area renditions of this.)

What I've found so far:

Jumbo Seafood in Pikesville - "Wontons in hot oil"
Stuffed with shrimp, which is unusual, and served over cabbage, these are terrific, hot and sweet and vinegary in roughly equal measure. But they're triangular, not the usual tight bundle, and the wrapper is slightly thicker than in the versions I'm used to. A great dish on its own merits, but it doesn't scratch this particular itch for me.

Jesse Wong's Hong Kong in Columbia
These are pretty much what I'm looking for (and what I consider to be traditional), but Columbia's a bit of a haul for a weekday night. Hoping to find something a bit closer to the city.

David Chu's China Bistro in Pikesville
Not pork, obviously (as the restaurant is kosher), these were neither spicy nor tangy. The sauce, like most at David Chu's, is tailored for the blandest of palettes, very sweet and heavily thickened with cornstarch. Not what I had in mind.

Kosher Bite in Pikesville
Also not pork, and also not particularly good. The filling -- chicken, I'm guessing -- is dry, and the sauce lacks punch. Still preferable to David Chu's, though, if you need kosher wontons.

No. 1 Chinese Restaurant in Hampden
Not really sure WHAT these are. They seem to be soup wontons (with an overly thick skin) in some sort of a peanut sauce, maybe? Not really to my tastes, which is a pity because they're the closest thing to my home.

Anyone know of any others?

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  1. Do they look anything like this?

    If so, you might want to try checking Sichuan places for "Chengdu Dumplings". I don't know what the Chinese name is.

    Chengdu Dumplings, at least as I know them, aren't usually in a plain old chile oil, though... the sauce is usually made with chinkiang vinegar and sugar (and probably some other things too).

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dmnkly

      More often they're closer to this -- -- but your description of the sauce sounds about right to me. Wonton in hot oil is a translation some places use, but even in those places it's not actually how they're served.

      1. re: matt8313

        Hmm... well, in any case, I don't know of any places that serve them offhand, but add Chengdu Dumplings to your search -- even if they're not the same (though I suspect they are), I bet they're very similar.

        1. re: Dmnkly

          Almost certainly -- I hope I didn't sound dismissive or anything. I suspect that there are probably a few different sorts of things that get labeled similarly on Americanized menus even though they're completely different dishes.

          1. re: matt8313

            Oh, no, not at all :-)

            Just thought that might help you find them if you have another name to chase.

        2. re: matt8313

          That picture looks exactly like what I'm looking for! Where is the picture taken?

      2. You guys are funny with your pictures. You are making me sooo hungry!

        1. Also in Columbia, but I've seen them at Noodles Corner off of Dobbin Road.

          1. I don't know where you live, but China King in the Cranbrook Shopping center in Cockeysville has a appetizer that seems to be what you are looking for. My husband LOVES it and we are unable to find anything even close to it. We go there for special dinners. We now live in Pikesville- we have only eaten at one of the places you listed above, Jumbo Seafood. Did not have that item, but the food we did get was so-so and quite expensive.

            Jumbo Seafood
            48 E Sudbrook Ln, Pikesville, MD 21208

            1. Excellent! I'm not sure what they're supposed to taste like, but these are small wontons floating in a soy sauce based liquid which is spicy. ( I wish I could drink the leftover sauce when the wontons are gone! )

              Hunan Manor
              7091 Deepage Dr, Columbia, MD 21045