When you subscribe to Insider Frank, you get a full “menu”, dare I say buffet, of topics. And one of my favorite things to discuss and write about is food. Like our founder Ted, restaurants and food is at the core of our being and make life all the better. (ring the bell for the Athenian!)
Today’s special is CHINESE FOOD! If you don’t like Chinese food, lose my number and stop reading right now.
In recent weeks the Merrimack Valley’s premiere sodium-induced, MSG having joint, the famed Jade East, just across the Lowell border in palatial Tewksbury was closed for “renovations”. I am not an investigative reporter and I refuse to ask questions to why they shuttered those 50-year old doors. I don’t want to know. That said, they reopened in recent days and I could not be happier (but also didn’t notice any renovations. Alas). And so, today’s blog is a breakdown of why Chinese food is awesome – a top 10 if you will – and you should go to the Jade right now. Wave when you see me.
Bottom line: Chinese Food is awesome. Just ask Ashton Kutcher…
The variety. The spice. The convenience. All of these things and more are what make dining Chinese-style simply awesome. Traditionally, when we think about Chinese we think “take out”, but dining in at your favorite Americanized-Western version of the Orient makes the whole cookie that much more fortunate.
As I frequented one of my favorite spots of all time this past week I got to thinking about all of the great little details of what make Chinese chow down so great in my book.
- Remember to tip your waitresses!
Yes, many of the larger Chinese restaurants work double duty as comedy clubs for local up-and-coming laugh makers. I mean, after all, who among us does not want a boat load of belly laughs after inhaling the all you can eat buffet? It makes perfect sense. Ingest 2-3 pounds of heavily fried, generously spiced, and sodium-fueled deliciousness (couple with several ‘what the hell is in this thing?’ cocktails) and prepare your innards to burst with some good old fashioned knock-knock jokes.
- Where Are We?
Oh, did I forget to mention, Chinese Restaurants almost never, ever have windows. How pioneer is that move? We’re talking Daniel (-San) Boone type pioneer spirit. If you ever walk into a Chinese restaurant with a lot of natural sunlight, run for your life. It is clearly a trap. Otherwise, soak in the darkness. Like a bizarro-Rodney Dangerfield-Dylan Thomas , “Rage against the dying of the light.”
- We’ll have the Pu Pu
As long as I am being gross, let’s get all 6-year-old while I am at it. Where on earth, except for a Chinese restaurant, would we ever read an entry on a menu that had the phrase ‘Pu Pu’ right in its title would even consider eating it? Answer: nowhere. Guess what, they are perfect. All the favorites in one great order. Call it the Raging Crap Platter or Dookie for Two. Don’t care. It’s a never miss.
- Yes, may I have beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, rice, pasta and the kitchen sink please?
Nowhere else can you economically order just about every acceptable form of animal on earth and have it delivered right to your plate. Not only affordable, they have discovered the formula to having them all blend in to one ridiculously tasty combination. Maybe that’s the third Mai Tai talking?
No not Madison Square Garden. I do not have the foggiest idea what “MSG” is or even what the letters stand for; but if it has anything to do with the tastiness of my #16 special then I don’t want to interfere. MSG is always a point of note when Chinese food is discussed, but for some reason no one really asks or wants to know; especially me. Even if I were to learn that MSG actually stood for “Massively Severe Gonorrhea” or “Minced Squirrel Guts” I would politely nod my head and affirm my interest in the meal. In fact, you can double up on mine.
- Tastes Great, Less Filling
Like the classic Miller Lite slogan Chinese food ‘tastes great and is less filling”. No matter how much food you pile on that plate, the number of trips you make back to the buffet, you can never get completely full when consuming this Asian magic. It’s a physical impossibility. Why? Don’t know. Don’t care. No clue. Ask Confucius.
- “Excuse me, Suffering Bastard over here”
The alcoholic drink options at Chinese restaurants are nothing short of epic. Outside of some sadistic college fraternity party where else can you order drinks called ‘Zombies’, ‘Headhunters’ and ‘Suffering Bastards’. Where else can you order a cocktail by the BOWL? Not just any bowl, a SCORPION BOWL. And guess what, you and your friends can share them or feel free to be a total and complete degenerate and suck down that lethal juiciness all by your lonesome. Rule #1 at the Chinese joint is there is no judging at the Chinese joint.
- Do I have something on Mai Tai?
If we are gonna talk Chinese cocktails, I cannot forget my very favorite; the beautiful, delicious, sense-deadening, worry-relieving, habit-forming Mai Tai. An ingenious concoction combining…combining…truthfully, the greatest Mai Tai recipes are secret. Taboo you might say. Who am I to question ancient law? Maybe I’ll try that other great Chinese potion…what’s it called? Oh yeah, SAME TING!
- That’s a wrap
Regardless of how much or how little you order when dining at a Chinese restaurant, there will always be leftovers for you to take home. Always. It’s like the Law of Gravity. Death, taxes, Chinese leftovers. You heard it here. To boot, unlike most leftover meals, Chinese seems to be like a fine wine…better with age (READ: 48 -hour rule in effect). The marriage of Chinese leftovers and the microwave would lead you to believe they were meant to be together. Maybe that’s the Mai Tai hangover talking?
- Have a great day!
Where else do you leave the dinner table with the promise of something good in your future? A little positive reinforcement? Some lucky numbers to count on? Of course, I speak of the always present fortune cookie that concludes all Chinese dining experiences.
“Pain is inevitable…Suffering (bastard) is optional.”