Chinese New Year: Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

I never want to make any sweeping, declarative statements on the internet that I might, one day, live to regret. But wonton soup is the best thing you could ever eat in the middle of a long winter and if you don’t agree with me you are a total numbskull and we aren’t even friends…. 

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Chinese New Year: Crispy Orange Beef

Crispy Orange Beef

Crispy orange-flavored beef (or chicken) is another staple dish from the world of picture-based Chinese takeout menus. Like General Tso’s, if the dish actually exists in China, it probably bears little resemblance to the aluminum tray filled with syrupy-sweet fried beef bits that we have grown accustomed to here in the States. It can be… 

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Chinese New Year: Vegetable Lo Mein


There isn’t much I like eating more than a big bowl of glistening, slippery noodles. Greasy lo mein is one of my favorite takeout choices. Yes, chicken and broccoli will always be my number one, but veggie lo mein is definitely in the canon of American-style Chinese dishes. It’s no secret that mall Chinese food,… 

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Chinese New Year: Chinese Spare Ribs

Chinese Style Spare Ribs

It’s been nearly two years since we performed our survey of the Chinese takeout landscape in Maine, and sadly, the picture hasn’t improved. With a few exceptions (we’re hearing good things about Zen Chinese Bistro, for example), each bag of Chinese takeout seems to be more depressing than the last. For every new “authentic taqueria”… 

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Chinese New Year: General Tso’s Chicken

How to Make General Tso's Chicken

It’s difficult to imagine that anyone in China has ever eaten anything even remotely resembling General Tso’s Chicken. Even the origins of the dish are a little murky. Ostensibly a delicacy with origins in the Hunan province (though Hunan cuisine doesn’t typically feature very much sweetness, opting instead for sour flavors), and named after General… 

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Chinese New Year: Scallion Pancakes

How to Make Scallion Pancakes

Scallion pancakes were never part of our takeout repertoire when I was a kid. My little sister got steak-on-a-stick, my mom and I shared spare ribs, spring rolls and wonton soup, and my dad was most often banished to the garage to enjoy his lobster egg foo young in private, where it could not offend our… 

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Chinese New Year: Fried Wontons

How to Make Fried Wontons

Chinese takeout-style fried wontons are perhaps one of the most perfect examples of a bastardized Cantonese classic, served by the foil bagful at two in the morning to college students for whom spending $3 on a late night snack is a rare luxury. A type of soup dumpling, served not in a broth, but instead… 

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Chinese New Year: Chicken and Broccoli

Chicken and Broccoli

Here’s what I love about chicken and broccoli: everything. I love that it’s glossy and viscous. I love eating it on the couch, straight from the takeout container, while watching movies on TV that you own on DVD. I love eating it at the mall off a plastic tray in the middle of an acoustically… 

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