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Ordering from my local Chinese Food restaurant is always a favorite choice for me when I don’t want to cook dinner, or nothing I could make sounds good at the moment. I’ve been a patron of that restaurant since 1999. That was when I had my first plate of Chinese Food. You see, my family was not big on ordering takeout from anywhere except their favorite pizza place. So, I didn’t get to try a lot of things. Also, my dad is pretty set in his ways as far as the menu is concerned. I could still recite the menu to you from my childhood. That menu only had the usual suspects on it. Super limited.
Needless to say, my palate was bored. I grew up, just like any other kid, not necessarily liking a lot of things. Because of this, it didn’t bother me until my late teens, early twenties that we kept having the same foods over and over. My mom was a great cook and baker, besides. It’s not for lack of know-how. In fact, I challenge her to make me a different birthday cake every year. I’ll peruse recipes and see what I can get her to make from my short list. Each time, that woman has risen to the occasion. She’d give a professional a big run for their money.
The main issue was always my dad. He had a typical white male American palate. He liked his steak and potatoes. This is how I also found out that beef causes my system a lot of inflammation. Having it on the regular, I had a lot of intestinal issues, but could not figure out what was bothering me until I was responsible for cooking for myself. Steak being expensive was almost always out of my range. Therefore, I was able to find out that I felt better when I didn’t eat beef. Today, I avoid eating red meat, unless it is bison (which does not bother my system at all). If I want a burger, I have cherry juice on hand to reduce the inflammation.
I’m lucky that so far, I have not had an allergic reaction, but I assume the beef issue is mild allergy. Because of that, I do keep it showing up in my diet from time to time, so that the allergy does not become more severe. After a tick bite that rendered my niece highly allergic to meat from all animals with hooves, you find out how difficult it is to avoid beef entirely. The biproducts will show up in many recipes and processed foods.
When I order from the local Chinese restaurant, I don’t bother with the beef items. I started out with the ubiquitous General Tso’s, moved to Sesame Chicken, and then Orange Chicken. These three are sisters. They’re the same dish tweaked just enough. If heartburn has been an issue, I’ll go for the sesame to avoid the heat. If I want something a little different, it was the orange. General, however, remains a top favorite. It’s like a security blanket for times that are rough.
My first taste of Chinese food, however, wasn’t in the late 1990s when I started patronizing that establishment. My aunt and grandmother took me to their place at about the age of twelve. I ordered Cashew Chicken (of which I now make a rendition at home). I tried egg rolls and wasn’t a fan, now they’re a must. Of course, I loved the rice! Fortune cookies are always a treat I partake in since that event.
I’ve tried Chinese food at a number of places during my time, including a great restaurant on Elizabeth Street in New York City. They have since changed their name and probably undergone a change in ownership to go with it. This was where I first had Duck. Oh my gaaahd! That will never not be my favorite. Now and again, I treat myself to some, as it is quite expensive to order.
In recent years, maybe because of the pandemic, I have branched out my menu choice more and more. I dated a guy back in the aughts who took me to a nice place up the street from where I now live. There, I tried the Kung Pao Chicken. That was amazing! Very spicy. Hit all the spots for me.
I’ve tried crab rangoon, cream cheese rangoon, fried wontons, wonton soup, egg rolls, mushu pork, moo goo gai pan, chicken lo mein, chicken chow mein, chicken and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, bourbon chicken, both pork and chicken fried rice, and some others I know I have forgotten.
If I placed an order tonight, I’d be most likely to get a large container of pork fried rice, a couple egg rolls, and possibly the friend wontons. This has been my go to comfort food order of late. The place I go makes the best pork fried rice and I am absolutely forever into it. They also redeemed egg rolls for me back in the day. If I didn’t order that, it would be chicken something. Maybe Kung Pao, since it has been a long time since the last order.
Asian food is something I love exploring, right alongside learning about the cultures. My next exploration is going to have to be Korean Barbecue. I’ve been wanting some for quite a long time now, and still haven’t found a place near me that does it like I’ve seen on the travel/food shows. Probably, I never will, and I need to give them some grace. We’re in the United States not in Korea, so the food is going to be vastly different anyway.
Great, now I need to have some Chinese food. This has given me a mad craving! Let’s hop through the other author’s responses to this question by clicking on their links below. To get this hop delivered to your inbox weekly, drop your email address in the space at the top of this page. See you back here next week!