What is "chow mein" in your 'hood?

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BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/24 22:37:09 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Lucky Bishop



10. BT asked what dish he would get if he ordered chow mein at various places around the country.

11. I told him what he would get if he ordered chow mein at Quan's Kitchen in Allston, Massachusetts.

12. So now he knows


That's true. Otherwise, I'm just sitting here slack-jawed at the way some of these conversations can evolve.
#61
Rick F.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 01:33:23 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by MaxZook
I grew up eating Chinese in NYC but have lived in L.A. for over 25 years. IMHO, traditional "true" chow mein is what you describe as (B) -- i.e. the Chun King stuff you can buy in cans in the supermarket, next to the crispy "chow mein noodles".
Ditto. I still get it occasionally simply out of pure nostalgia. And when I was kid, it was the crunchy noodles that made it "Chow Mein." The same stuff with rice was "Chop Suey." And, dad gum it, authentic or not, it's one of my real comfort foods. So there!
#62
Rick F.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 01:43:10 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by BTSheesh! I asked what seemed a simple question and so far have been accused of everything from playing games with other roadfooders to racism. Just try to understand the simple question being asked and somewhere in whatever tangent you decide to pursue, try to answer it.
Aw, hell, BT, play with us! Not everybody looks for hidden meanings and agendas. Some of us just enjoy thinking about the questions.
#63
tacchino
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 02:31:05 (permalink)
To the fellow New Yorkers responding to this:
Have you really seen anything resembling chop suey (i.e., gloppy vegetables in a glutenous sauce over rice, with crunchy noodles) even being offered on a Chinese menu in the area recently? I have dined out in numerous Chinese restaurants over the past few years, in New Jersey, Connecticut, Manhattan, Westchester, etc., and I have never seen anyone eat anything resembling this, or having this offered on a menu. The chow meins and low meins that I have eaten/seen being eaten, are always noodle based, with vegetables, meats, etc.

BTW, BT, your description of the "Chinese spaghetti" that you make sounds pretty good. Any recipe you have to offer?
#64
Jimeats
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 09:38:09 (permalink)
Sorry what I ment to add is anyone Visiting Salem Ma. there is a great old ammusement park called Salem Willows [Google them],But there is a small chinese takie outie stand that sells chop sewey sandwiches for about 2 bucks their great for the price.
#65
larrygeller
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 09:44:32 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by tacchino

To the fellow New Yorkers responding to this:
Have you really seen anything resembling chop suey (i.e., gloppy vegetables in a glutenous sauce over rice, with crunchy noodles) even being offered on a Chinese menu in the area recently? I have dined out in numerous Chinese restaurants over the past few years, in New Jersey, Connecticut, Manhattan, Westchester, etc., and I have never seen anyone eat anything resembling this, or having this offered on a menu. The chow meins and low meins that I have eaten/seen being eaten, are always noodle based, with vegetables, meats, etc.

BTW, BT, your description of the "Chinese spaghetti" that you make sounds pretty good. Any recipe you have to offer?
Like I said, Chop Suey seems to have disappeared from NYC menus in around the mid '70s.
BTW, this morning, I noticed, in my fridge, a bag of those crunchy brown noodles. Printed on the bag is "Chow Mein Noodles".
#66
Scorereader
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 10:00:25 (permalink)
Lucky- I was in NO way refuting your local restaurant's menu or Gourmet's latest chow mein recipe.

Had you been following the thread, you would've noticed some comments made by some that were proclaiming "authenticity" in chow mein. I WAS refuting any claim that one chow mein dish was any more authentic than the next. And I TOO gave some examples of chow mein dishes in my 'hood (DC).

It appeared that you were chiming in to also claim that the noodle version you're familiar with is somehow authentic. If I took your post wrong, I apologize. I was simply reading your post in the context of the conversation as it was transpiring.

And, you're right, after 50 some posts, it would be hard for me to "know you," all I can go by is what I read now. And what I read was simply your posts. No venting here, just responses, just as you.

When in DC I recommend TONY CHENG'S on 600 Block H Street (NW) in Chinatown. Upstairs in very good Chinese, downstairs is a fantastic Mongolian BBQ.

and FULL KEE on the 500 block of H Street (NW)also in Chinatown. (I don't recall "Chow mein" on the menu)





#67
BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 12:59:14 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by tacchino


BTW, BT, your description of the "Chinese spaghetti" that you make sounds pretty good. Any recipe you have to offer?


Hunan Spaghetti

Cook:

1/2 lb fresh Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti

Drain, run pasta under cold water.
Add to cooked pasta:

1 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp sesame oil


Mix:

2 tbsp bean sauce
1 tbsp chile paste with garlic
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (or sherry)


Heat wok over high heat and add to wok (in order), stir frying:

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup scallion whites
1 tbsp chopped Fresno chiles (you can substitute other chiles)
1/3 lb lean ground pork


Before pork browns, add and stir until well-mixed:

1 tsp dark soy sauce

Add above sauce mix and cook until thoroughly mixed. Then add:

2/3 cup chicken broth

Add cooked noodles. Then add:

2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Finish by tossing with:

1/2 cup sliced scallion greens
1 tsp sesame oil


Serve

Sometimes I also add to the meat as I'm browning it 1/4 cup of unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts.
#68
Lucky Bishop
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 13:11:55 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

It appeared that you were chiming in to also claim that the noodle version you're familiar with is somehow authentic. If I took your post wrong, I apologize. I was simply reading your post in the context of the conversation as it was transpiring.


Duly noted. I apologize if it seemed I was coming down on you too hard, but you'll notice if you continue to hang out around here that as a general rule, "authenticity" is not a concept that's held in particularly high regard around here: people here are more interested in the version of a dish that tastes good than the version that's closest to some supposedly objective standard.

Should I ever be in DC, I'll keep your recommendations in mind.
#69
zataar
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 17:33:51 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

quote:
Originally posted by Bill B.

Neat photos of downtown!


There used to be a place on the north side of downtown K.C. -- just a lunch counter with a few extra tables -- that served incredible omelettes. Again, I can't remember the name of the place, but it was open into the late 1970s. Maybe Sanderson's Lunch? Stayed open every day until early morning. Does that ring a bell?


Sanderson's was my favorite place ever. It was open 24 hours, had the classic above the grill gas broiler, and served specials like ox tail stew every day of the year. I miss it.
Z, did EBT have a cafeteria too, or am I combining Kline's and EBT? Didn't the EBT Store have the Thomas Hart Benton Murals?


Sanderson's was so good before they moved to 38th and Main. Then is was plain scary. I worked until 12pm - 1am in the old River Quay so Sanderson's was an after shift destination. They did indeed have a salamander that the grill cooks would use to finish off omelets and eggs. My favorite was the St.Paul omelet.

If EBT didn't have the Thomas Hart Benton murals, Harzfeld's did. I think it was EBT. I only remember Kline's having a dining mezzanine. I do remember the stand - up counters on the lower level of EBT, but my mother wouldn't let me eat anywhere that you couldn't sit down and be served, unless it was the Forum Cafeteria.

Back to chow mein, My mother said she never took me to King Joy Lo, that's why I didn't remember it. I checked my most recent Bo Ling's menu and they don't even do chow mein. The closet would be Bo Ling's Special Noodles, which is a pan fried noodle cake with seafood, chicken and asian vegetables in a Hong Kong style brown sauce. It is very good.
#70
Bill B.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/25 17:47:10 (permalink)
That was it! The St. Paul omelet. Geeze, those were good.

We'd get off our shift at Sam Wilson's at about midnight on Saturday night and head over there, or to the Gates & Sons on Brooklyn, or to the Bamboo Hut in Independence, or to the Kross Lounge in Sugar Creek. All of those places served food late.
#71
Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/26 17:44:21 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Hoffman


You left out American Chow Mein, which is made with ground beef, stewed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and elbow macaroni.


At our house that was called "goulash."
#72
1bbqboy
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/26 17:51:41 (permalink)
hey, gary soup! welcome aboard. Don't be so modest about yourself.
http://www.eatingchinese.org
#73
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/26 18:01:24 (permalink)
A lot of informative stuff on this thread. I often order any dish with chow fun noodles, which in Milwaukee are fresh wide rice noodles. I've gone into Chinese grocery stores where these are found in the refrigerator case.
My wife calls them "steak fat" noodles as they do sort of take on that taste!
#74
BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/26 18:11:53 (permalink)
Concerning the earlier sidebar discussion of "authenticity" in Chinese-American food, Gary Soup's web site (as linked by Bill) led me to the following exhaustive discussion which is worth a read: http://home.earthlink.net/~mmlo74/chinesefood.htm
#75
Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 01:09:23 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

hey, gary soup! welcome aboard. Don't be so modest about yourself.
http://www.eatingchinese.org


I'm modest by nature. I'd just like to say it's wonderful to find a food discussion board that doesn't have boring lengthy posts about The French Laundry.

As you might guess from my website, if you've checked it out, I am interested in ALL aspects of Chinese food, and Chinese food in the "Diaspora" is a major component of my interest, and I'm hoping to get a steering wheel view of it from this board.

#76
BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 01:22:50 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Soup

quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

hey, gary soup! welcome aboard. Don't be so modest about yourself.
http://www.eatingchinese.org


I'm modest by nature. I'd just like to say it's wonderful to find a food discussion board that doesn't have boring lengthy posts about The French Laundry.

As you might guess from my website, if you've checked it out, I am interested in ALL aspects of Chinese food, and Chinese food in the "Diaspora" is a major component of my interest, and I'm hoping to get a steering wheel view of it from this board.




OK, but you gotta pay your dues. Just tell me where YOU eat Chinese in SF.
#77
Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 01:59:52 (permalink)
Chow mein, etc.:

Chow mein is definitely "authentic" (though I dislike the term) in that it's very familiar in China and has been for a long time. And it IS home-style "comfort food." What you'll get if you ask for "chow mein" (chao mian) in China is quite similar to what you'll get on the West Coast, or at least in California: a stir-fried concoction of soft noodles and other ingredients. The school cafeteria version of chow mein, thin deep-fried noodles with a sauce featuring little bits of chicken, celery, soggy bean sprouts and a lot of corn starch, is not something you'll find in China, but has an analog in Hong Kong-style chow mein, in which thin cooked noodles are wok-fried without stirring, so that they are soft on top but crunchy on the bottom, and has the non-noodle ingredients added as a "topping.

I have only a vague notion why "chao mian/chow mein" in Chinese/California terminology is called "lo mein" on the East Coast and parts in between. "Lo mein" is a phonetic variant on "la mian" which means hand-pulled (and therefore fresh) noodles. It's also the root of the Japanese "ramen" which, of course, is better known in the US as a dried instant product. I suppose that a soft noodle, while usually not hand-pulled, can be seen as something more freshly made than the tinned, deep-fried variety, and the OTHER chow mein hay have established itself as a default for the term (with a little help from La Choy).

Chop suey, in name and in basic concept, actually has an antecedent in China, according to a lot of scholarly research. The name is essentially Cantonese pronunciation for something that means "stir-fried miscellaneous ingredients" and a lot of reports have surfaced of Cantonese grandmothers making a dish of this name, although it usually involved stir-fried "variety meats" (especially chicken gizzards) rather than vegetables.

Chinese spaghetti? That's what I used to fondly call a dish popular in San Francisco Chinese-American restaurants 40 years ago, "Tomato Beef Chow Mein"

#78
mr chips
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 02:12:40 (permalink)
Welcome to the board Gary and thank you for a well-written informative post.
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1bbqboy
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 02:53:56 (permalink)
Gary, I would only say Roadfood threads veer and weave, last for months or years, are generally unedited, and at least in the good ones, cover a range of topics well beyond food.Lots are like old friends that folks come back to every so often.
It's a lively group that isnt bound by geographical board boundries, so you get input from all corners. Again, welcome.
#80
Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/08/27 03:21:42 (permalink)
quote:

OK, but you gotta pay your dues. Just tell me where YOU eat Chinese in SF.


Well, 99% of the time it's in the comfort of my own home, as I have a Shanghainese wife who is not particularly interested in learning to cook Western food and I am perfectly content not to press the issue. When we go out, it's usually:

Y. Ben House, Lichee Garden or Gold Mountain for dim sum.

Hing Lung, Five Happiness, Shanghai Dumpling Shop or Utopia Cafe for non-dimsum lunch.

For dinner, some of the above plus Great Eastern, Hunan Homes (you have to tap-dance around the menu there) and wherever.

You might have guessed that we live close to Chinatown, and I haven't owned a car in 30 years, but we WILL cross the bridge to go to Shanghai Restaurant in Oakland Chinatown at the slightest provocation, and have been known to indulgently agree to accompany my Sunset District inlaws to Koi Palace in Daly City.
#81
michellemc
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/09/29 19:19:17 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by PaulBPool

Well, if you order chow mein here in the Long Island region of New York, you'll get onions, celery, bean sprouts quickly fried (chowed), covered with a starchy coating, with chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp as the meat. It will be served with white rice, and crispy fried noodles. Most folks put the crispy noodles on the plate, top with the chow mein, then top the chow mein with the rice. Shake on some soy, and some good hot mustard, and there you go - enjoy!


That was my experience growing up in NJ. But in Seattle and Portland, where I have lived since 1997, Chow Mein is the soft noodles and veggies that we called Lo Mein back in NJ.
#82
roossy90
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/10/17 18:03:11 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Soup

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Hoffman


You left out American Chow Mein, which is made with ground beef, stewed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and elbow macaroni.


At our house that was called "goulash."

When I lived in Massachusetts, it was called American Chop Suey...
ANd boy the 2nd day, its sooooooo good.. Winter time comfort food.. But back to Chinese... How do you make the sauce for Moo Goo Gai pan at home?...
Thanks,
Tara
#83
Scorereader
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/10/17 18:37:59 (permalink)
Just visited friends in Massachusettes and had American Chop Suey, pretty much as Michael Hoffman described American Chow Mein. Not elbow macaroni, but same idea.

It was pretty good too.

When I was told what was for dinner, I instantly thought of this thread.
#84
roossy90
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/10/19 17:45:11 (permalink)
Actually, the recipe that I had for American Chop Suey had peppers and onions in it also, and elbow mac, but I would put farfalle or a different pasta in it just to be different sometimes..
It is pretty good....
#85
xannie_01
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2005/10/19 18:04:13 (permalink)
here in albuquerque, chop suey is chow mein without the noodles.
#86
membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2006/01/25 05:43:15 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by BT

I'm curious.

Is it (A) stir-fried (chow) spaghetti-like noodles (mein) with bits of meat and/or veggies; or is it (B) a gloppy mass of veggies and corn starch to be served with rice and little crispy packaged noodles?

I don't recall encountering anything but (B) on the east coast. Same in Arizona. But here in SF, you ask for "chow mein" you get (A). If/when (B) is available (that's rare), it is called "chop suey" which, I believe, may have been invented hereabouts as food for the imported Chinese working on the railroads. "Chop suey" was also available back east but was somehow distinguished from "chow mein". I was never sure of the difference.


I grew up in Minneapolis, and chow mein was "B". I now reside in Las Vegas where chow mein is served as "A". I would really like to find a place that serves "B" here in Vegas so if anyone knows of a place, please let me know!
#87
ScreenBear
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2006/01/25 07:53:03 (permalink)
To my chagrin, the chow mein hereabouts (East Coast) is much lighter in color and the onions are not as fried as in the chow mein of my childhood.

The last throwback, Can-Ton, Jersey City, N.J., which had the old-fashioned chow mein, dark fried rice and old time Chinese spare ribs, closed down last year with little fanfare. Jimmy Tsang's, Pittsburgh, serves a good chow mein somewhat reminiscent of the stuff of my childhood.
The Bear
#88
BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2006/01/25 12:29:02 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by membrane

I would really like to find a place that serves "B" here in Vegas so if anyone knows of a place, please let me know!


Back when I was growing up in the East with "B", I was never really sure of what distiguished "chop suey" from "chow mein". Now that I live in "A" country, when I crave type "B" chow mein (and I sometime do), I can occasionally find "chop suey" on a menu and that works to satisfy the craving. While I can't recommend anyplace in LV, I do suspect you'd be able to find someplace serving "chop suey".
#89
membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? 2006/01/25 20:29:42 (permalink)
Does anyone have a recipe for "B"? I just need a recipe for the celery "sauce".
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