What is "chow mein" in your 'hood?

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BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 08/24/05 10:37 PM
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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.

Rick F.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 1:33 AM
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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!

Rick F.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 1:43 AM
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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.

tacchino
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 2:31 AM
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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?

Jimeats
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 9:38 AM
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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.

larrygeller
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 9:44 AM
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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".

Scorereader
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 10:00 AM
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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)






BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 12:59 PM
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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.

Lucky Bishop
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 1:11 PM
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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.

zataar
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 5:33 PM
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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.

Bill B.
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/25/05 5:47 PM
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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.

Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 08/26/05 5:44 PM
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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."

1bbqboy
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 08/26/05 5:51 PM
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hey, gary soup! welcome aboard. Don't be so modest about yourself.
http://www.eatingchinese.org

MilwFoodlovers
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 08/26/05 6:01 PM
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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!

BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 08/26/05 6:11 PM
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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

Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 1:09 AM
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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.


BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 1:22 AM
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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.

Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 1:59 AM
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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"


mr chips
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 2:12 AM
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Welcome to the board Gary and thank you for a well-written informative post.

1bbqboy
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 2:53 AM
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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.

Gary Soup
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 08/27/05 3:21 AM
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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.

michellemc
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 09/29/05 7:19 PM
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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.

roossy90
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Mon, 10/17/05 6:03 PM
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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

Scorereader
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Mon, 10/17/05 6:37 PM
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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.

roossy90
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 10/19/05 5:45 PM
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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....

xannie_01
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 10/19/05 6:04 PM
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here in albuquerque, chop suey is chow mein without the noodles.

membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 01/25/06 5:43 AM
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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!

ScreenBear
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 01/25/06 7:53 AM
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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

BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 01/25/06 12:29 PM
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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".

membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 01/25/06 8:29 PM
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Does anyone have a recipe for "B"? I just need a recipe for the celery "sauce".

BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 01/25/06 10:20 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by membrane

Does anyone have a recipe for "B"? I just need a recipe for the celery "sauce".


The "sauce" in this stuff is usually not much more than a little broth (vegetable or chicken) and corn starch I don't believe. The vegetables themselves lean heavily on onions, celery and bean sprouts.

membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 01/26/06 2:37 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by BT

quote:
Originally posted by membrane

Does anyone have a recipe for "B"? I just need a recipe for the celery "sauce".


The "sauce" in this stuff is usually not much more than a little broth (vegetable or chicken) and corn starch I don't believe. The vegetables themselves lean heavily on onions, celery and bean sprouts.


Right, what I remember being in the sauce was celery, but no onions or sprouts. The sauce never tasted "meaty" but it did have a distinct flavor.

Ashphalt
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 02/1/06 12:32 PM
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This thread got me remembering that when I was growing up in R.I., the Chinese restaurants always had the best Italian bread (which was kind of tough since restaurant choices were Italian, Italian Italian or Chinese). The popular story was they all had the same supplier and it was one of their biggest draws. I was shocked later in life to discover that Chinese restaurants don't always have bread.

So tripping carefully down memory lane I ran across the following recipe that sound alot like the version of (B) I grew up with http://www.pagesintime.com/ri/native.html (scroll to the bottom of the page). I recall seeing Oyster Sauce as the primary sauce ingredient in recipes when it was still popular, and my Dad always called it corn starch gravy, so this looks like it's on track (but the measurements are wacky).

I usually got chop suey (as most restaurants served little bowls of the fried nooodles, duck and mustard sauces, along with the bread, butter and tea when you were seated) but if I recall the chow mein was frequently a little darker colored (soy sauce?) and, yes, served on the noodles.

In the early 70s we became quite sophisticated, foregoing chop suey for Moo Goo Guy Pan and anything on the Polynesian side of the menu with Lychees.

membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Tue, 02/21/06 6:25 AM
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I'm still looking for the right "celery sauce" for chow mein. It looks like a big pile of brownish-green goop with celery (nothing else really in it).

EdSails
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Tue, 02/21/06 12:01 PM
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At a more traditional Chinese restaurant here in Los Angeles, I usually see lo mein on the menu seperately. In the Chinatown and San Gabriel areas, I don't even see lo mein some of the time. At the "China wok Express" and most other of the fast food Chinese takeout places, they do call the lo mein "chow mein".

membrane
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 02/23/06 3:21 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by EdSails

At a more traditional Chinese restaurant here in Los Angeles, I usually see lo mein on the menu seperately. In the Chinatown and San Gabriel areas, I don't even see lo mein some of the time. At the "China wok Express" and most other of the fast food Chinese takeout places, they do call the lo mein "chow mein".


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.

HollyDolly
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 03/1/06 3:33 PM
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Letter A is considered LO MEIN,since it is mainly veggies and meat mixed with noodles and sauce.Letter B ,well there is a chinese dish which is noodles that have been cooked,drained,and then stir fried till crispy to which meat and veggies in a sauce are poured over the top.This is chow mein.
Different regions of China each may have their own versions of chow mein.And yes,I have had the B version in various places. I have a chinese cookbook written by Lucy Ho in the 1950s for westerners living in China,reprinted by Dover Publications,so will look up what she calls Chow Mein and check a few older books.Chop Suey means bits and pieces. Two versions are told of how it came about.One is that a chinese cook invented the dish to use up odds and ends to feed hungry miners and such.Another version,in the Lucy Ho cookbook says that it was the cook of the Chinese Ambassador who unable to find the proper chinese ingredients,used what he could obtain to make a meal.
In San Antonio you get Letter B. At the majority of Chinese places here on their menus LetterA is plainly called Lo Mein.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 03/1/06 4:11 PM
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I've lived in LA, SF, and NY. In LA, chow mein always meant to me noodles with vegetables and meat. When I got to San Francisco, chow mein became mushy bean sprouts replacing noodles with vegetables over white rice. In NY, same thing. The chow mein noodle dish that I grew up with in LA is "lo mein" in both San Francisco and New York, especially in NY. I am quite certain about this distinction because the horror I felt when "chow mein" came to my table in SF. I thought this was an aberration and ordered it again at a different place with the same result.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 03/1/06 8:13 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by cornfed

When I got to San Francisco, chow mein became mushy bean sprouts replacing noodles with vegetables over white rice. In NY, same thing. The chow mein noodle dish that I grew up with in LA is "lo mein" in both San Francisco and New York, especially in NY. I am quite certain about this distinction because the horror I felt when "chow mein" came to my table in SF.


I can't imagine where you ate. Having eaten "chow mein" in literally hundreds of San Francisco restaurants over the last 30 years, I've NEVER encountered anything called "chow mein" except the stir-fried noodles with veggies and/or meat dish you say you were used to in LA. The bean sprout thing is available in a few places as "chop suey" and I sometimes seek it out for nostalgia reasons (it's what I grew up eating on the East Coast). I can't recall if SF Chinese places even offer anything called "lo mein". I never order it or noticed if they do.

What do you say stevecarry?

cornfed
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 03/1/06 8:44 PM
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You know what, I left SF quite a while ago. You are right. The change happened in NY. I remember wanting noodles, ordering chow mein because that's what i was used to noodles being on the West Coast, and getting the mushy bean sprouts with awful "vegetables" that seem like it was anything that's cheap and adds volume like celery. But chow mein is definitely not noodles in NY. Is this bean sprout version chow mein or chop suey at that old place in SF with the dumb waiter (I can't recall the name)? Oh, Sam Wo.

BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 03/1/06 10:17 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by cornfed

Is this bean sprout version chow mein or chop suey at that old place in SF with the dumb waiter (I can't recall the name)? Oh, Sam Wo.


I honestly don't know. I think I ate there once in the early 80's. But it's the kind of place that caters to out-of-towners and might--I can only say MIGHT--give 'em what they expect (the bean sprout mushy stuff).

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 03/2/06 7:39 AM
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We have a place in Salem Ma. at a very old ammusement park called the Salem Willows. They serve a chop sewy sandwich for about $2 bucks it's great. It's served on a cheap hamburger bun wrapped in wax paper and there is always a line at the place. I think they have a chow mein sandwich as well. Kind of messey to eat but damn deceint. Chow Jim

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 03/2/06 11:23 AM
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I ate at Kim Thanh Restaurant (Geary St.) in San Francisco. It wasn't any different than the stuff we get here in DC.

BT
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 03/2/06 1:09 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

I ate at Kim Thanh Restaurant (Geary St.) in San Francisco. It wasn't any different than the stuff we get here in DC.



You'd have to elaborate because I don't know what you get in DC these days. I'm willing to bet it was nothing like what I would have gotten in the DC suburbs when I was growing up in the 50's and early 60's. But DC has gotten a lot more sophisticated and cosmopolitan since then (then it was a small southern city).

As for Kim Thanh, I had to look it up but having done so, I'm not surprised if it wasn't especially good, just based on location. It's at Geary and Jones. That's in an area of a number of large and small hotels and up the street from SF's smallish theater district. In other words, there's no significant Chinese population in the area but lots of tourists and theater goers.

If you ever come back to our town, you'll probably find the best Chinese food in the Richmond District (that's outer Geary--20 or 30 blocks west of Kim Thanh--and, even more, Clement St. which parallels Geary a block north) or in Chinatown (on Stockton and the cross streets and even the back alleys, not on Grant). The Richmond is kind of where Chinese families often move when they become prosperous enough to get out of Chinatown. But even then, it may not be much different from DC because, as I said, DC has grown up from what it was when I was a kid there.

Scorereader
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 03/2/06 1:32 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by BT

[quote (then it was a small southern city).



obviously, that was before the riots

you left in the nick of time.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 03/2/06 1:39 PM
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Around New Bedford, Mass., the "chow mein sandwich" is pretty popular, usually available with or without beef. The good ones are good because they use very crisp Hoo-Me noodles, which have been made here since the 1930s. What the purpose of the bun is, or why this became known as a sandwich, I have no idea!


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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 03/4/06 1:59 AM
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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.

Noodles are important.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/04/international/asia/04china.html?ex=1299128400&en=117d69b3c7f9c315&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 03/4/06 3:18 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by stevencarry

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.

Noodles are important.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/04/international/asia/04china.html?ex=1299128400&en=117d69b3c7f9c315&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss


Did you notice the sidebar on that page: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/03/03/travel/escapes/03hour.html?incamp=article_popular ?

Now I am truly homesick.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Tue, 03/28/06 11:59 PM
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Nathan's, when they were on Broadway, served a chow mein sandwich on a bun.
The Bear

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 06/9/06 11:34 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill B.

Neat photos of downtown!

I had my first encounter with horseradish mustard at the House of Toy. I must have been 5 or 6. Put the mustard on a hot dog from the kiddie menu. That horseradish really lit my fire.

Had my first encounter with real horseradish at a Blue Ridge Mall cafeteria a short time later. Can't remember the name of the cafeteria, but it sat near the southeast corner of the mall, back before the mall got enclosed. Maybe it was a Fred Harvey cafeteria? Anyway, my hot roast-beef sandwich came with a cup of ground horseradish. I thought it was an extra side of mashed potatoes. One big bite cured me of that notion.

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?


CDMIstler
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Fri, 06/9/06 11:40 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill B.

Neat photos of downtown!

This is the first time that I've posted, so my earlier attempt didn't have any text!

That Blue Ridge Mall cafeteria was probably Putsch's. They were famous for their spinach salad with a dollop of horseradish.

I miss House of Toy. They had the best wontons ever! If you want to make hot mustard, their old fashioned way, take mustard powder and add rice vinegar until it's the consistency that you want it. Your sinuses will be clear for a week!

I had my first encounter with horseradish mustard at the House of Toy. I must have been 5 or 6. Put the mustard on a hot dog from the kiddie menu. That horseradish really lit my fire.

Had my first encounter with real horseradish at a Blue Ridge Mall cafeteria a short time later. Can't remember the name of the cafeteria, but it sat near the southeast corner of the mall, back before the mall got enclosed. Maybe it was a Fred Harvey cafeteria? Anyway, my hot roast-beef sandwich came with a cup of ground horseradish. I thought it was an extra side of mashed potatoes. One big bite cured me of that notion.

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?


caratzas
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sat, 06/10/06 3:37 AM
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Here in the NY/CT area I've only seen it in its white/clear glop with meat and celery and sprouts incarnation, usually with a few token LaChoy-style fried noodles scattered on top or in a bag on the side for formality's sake. Never seen it offered as a real fried noodle dish, which as others have pointed out, the name "chow mein" suggests. I wonder what you'd get if you order off the "Chinese menu."

I'd guess the dish evolved from the style others have said they've seen on the West Coast to better reflect non-Asian East Coast and Midwest tastes in the early-to-middle 20th century. And now most folks don't know any better so that's what you expect and get in my nabe.

BTW, "Lo Mein" is what we call stir-fried spaghetti-like noodles with meat and vegetables here -- which sounds much like what you'd expect if you ordered chow (stir-fried) mein (noodles.) We also have Chow Fun (Stir-fried broad rice noodles) and Chow Mei Fun (Stir-fried rice sticks.) Higher-end/more regional places might offer a few more varieties of fried noodle dishes, but you can find those three offered at about 90% of the Chinese restaurants around here.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Sun, 08/13/06 5:25 PM
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Here in Canada, Chop Suey is usually bean sprouts, onion and celery and depending o nthe joint, slices of carrots and/or mushrooms, either plain or with whatever it comes with, usually chicken, beef. bbq pork or shrimp or a mix. Chow Mein, now that's a different story. In Toronto, it's the above described chop suey with some dry fried crispy noodles on top. In Montreal, what they call chow mein is what in Toronto is called Lo Mein or Cantonese Chow Mein: soft angel hair-like noodles with vegetables (no bean sprouts) and either chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or tofu. The vegetables are a mix of onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and bok choy.

Anyone visiting Toronto and who is a fan of North American Chinese food (as opposed to real chinese food) should check out the versions of Chow mein, Chop Suey and Lo Mein served at Hoo Wah Garden Tavern, located at 2898 Dufferin Street, 1/2 mile north of Eglinton Avenue West. There is plenty of parking and everything there is made from scratch to order and really delicious.

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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Mon, 08/14/06 5:06 PM
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quote:
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.


When I used to live in the Midwest, we always called the gloppy stuff chow mein. Here in California you always get the noodle/meat/veggie combo. I've also had the chop suey here and it does not even really compare to the gravy-ish "chow mein" I used to get back in the Midwest. Chop suey really isn't as gloppy. Not really sure I've ever seen the gloppy stuff out here even by a different name.

SassyGritsAL
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 08/16/06 4:00 PM
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aako - Love the word gloppy (I try to learn a new work every day, and this is mine for the day)

SassyGritsAL
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Wed, 08/16/06 4:01 PM
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woops I men word

V960
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/17/06 10:57 AM
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Chow mein is a dish created for Americans. It is not Chinese. The recipe will be whatever the chef thinks works for the locals.

Shara
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/17/06 11:17 AM
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It's slop imo. Onions, celery. cornstarch, msg and chicken or whatever meat you order it with. At least that's what I remember from the times I'd order it as a kid at our local Chinese restaurant in Trenton, NJ. Mercifully, my taste buds have since matured.

buttrdish
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RE: What is "chow mein" in your 'hood? - Thu, 08/17/06 11:56 AM
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BT,

A) Here in the Pacific Northwest. I have never ever received B while ordering chow mein, that would be a total disapointment. I grew up and still live on the West Coast.

I actually ordered some chow mein yesterday and I received more of a yakisoba style, stir fried - soft noodle (flour, flat, Japanese type) with chicken, onion, zucchini, carrot. Definitely not my idea of traditional chow mein.

While living in SF we learned of "Hong Kong" style chow mein, called Gee Mein (I am positive that is spelled incorrectly) It consists of a skinny-ier noodle panfried very brown & crunchy, very much like a noodle pancake, then they usually pour the daily offerings over the top. Very, very crunchy/yet soft - delicious. We love the Gee Mein at Great Wall out in the Avenue's. They also make wonderful Chow Fun, wide rice noodles, with beef, black bean, bean sprouts, panfried super dark and luscious. Do not miss their potstickers! Oh, man, they are a treat.

There is also that place on Broadway, rt side, going W, right before the tunnel (yet wah?) they make a great Steelhead Lo Mein.

Gosh, I miss eating in SF! Have you been to the Slanted Door? I read an article stating it was the best food in the country! They used to be out on Valencia and now they are high rent in the Ferry building. Too bad.

Do you ever go out for Won Tun Mein? That is the one dish that I absolutely miss the most. I can't remember the name of those particular restaurants but that was the most delicious dish. You are a lucky man to be living in that great city! My in laws live in Bernal Heights.




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