Friday, January 16, 2009

4 Foods on Friday #63

I haven't been keeping up with this meme for a bit because of our poor internet connections, but I enjoy the questions - I get good ideas for recipes. Perhaps this week's questions will inspire me to experiment with an old cookbook I picked up this summer... it looks like I will have fun with it. It is a Time Life book, published in 1968, called "The Cooking of China" by Emily Hahn, that has recipes from many different provinces in China, as well as chapters on culture and history.

Here are this week’s four questions.
Let’s talk about Chinese food.

#1. Do you prefer to eat Chinese food in the restaurant or to have it delivered?

Both. But I'll vote for at the restaurant.

#2. Do you prefer wonton or egg drop soup?


#3. What flavor fried rice is your favorite?


#4. Describe your favorite item on the Chinese food menu.

We used to live within walking distance of the best Chinese restaurant in the world, Hunan Manor. Everything was good - and yes, authentic enough that you need to ask for no MSG if it bugs you - and picking a favorite is hard. I'll go for the Supreme Crispy Eggplant, listed under the Chef's Suggestions, simply because how often can eggplant be considered a favorite? They describe it as: "Sliced eggplant dipped in egg batter and deep-fried till crispy then stir-fired in sweet spicy sauce." It is hot. And it is sweet. We dined with friends at the restaurant this past summer, and I ordered this dish - it was dubbed "Eggplant candy".


corrin said...

I thought MSG was not illegal to add in US restaurants?

LiLu said...

Oh, thanks. Now I have to order chinese takeout. Immediately.


Connie said...

Hi corrin - no, it isn't illegal but some people are sensitive to it. There are debates about MSG in cooking. Check out this article. If I go some place and eat a LOT of things with a LOT of MSG, I get a pretty bad headache... I usually did not at Hunan Manor, but we ate a variety of entrees there, often enough, that headaches happened - but it was so yummy! - it's worth being aware of. All you have to do is ask for little or no MSG if you are sensitive (I usually took my chances!).

Lilu - I wish I could! One of the best things about Chinese takeout, is the great variety of tastes and textures you can have in one meal... and someone else has done all the work!

Lydia said...

Awww, we lived in the Oakland Mills "community". I drove by that place so often. We never went there! Although we were sidetracked by this Vietnamese place near there. There was another restaurant chain called Pho dat than (I'm totally butchering it) and it had the best beef soup. There was one in Herndon, Laurel, Columbia and some other places. Yum! I backed off from the memes for a while, I'm feeling a bit uninspired at the moment.

Sheri/Cookingmom said...

I wonder if Panda Express puts MSG in their food? It tastes so good, but I always feel a little nauseous for a while after eating it.

Connie said...

Lydia - if you get a chance to go back to the area, you should take the kids. Not only is the food good and surprisingly inexpensive, but they have HUGE, beautiful aquariums, a fountain, and fish (for eating) in tanks... our kids loved it.

Sheri - I wouldn't be surprised if many restaurants (not just Chinese) did not supplement with MSG or one of its clones in order to enhance cheaper bits of food. We should always want the best quality, but that is more expensive, so what do owners do in order to serve tasty food at lower costs? I've heard conspiracy "MSG will KILL you!" theories, but apparently, so will those nice charred lines you get on beef when you grill it. I think if a restaurant is honest about whether or not it uses MSG, then that's all they need to do. Leave it to the customer to say yes or no.

Karen said...

I knew there was a lot of talk about MSG for awhile but hadn't heard anything about it lately. I love Chinese food and I am prone to headaches. Hmmm. I'll have to watch it.