Question about Chinese food

I know about folding them out, but Minnesota chow mein wasn’t amenable to that. If you tried unfolding the carton, it would have collapsed in a glop when it was hot. Besides, it was meant to be spooned over rice and crunchy noodles. You really had to dig the stuff out of the carton.

After a night in the fridge, it was downright gelatinous. Maybe then you could have unfolded the carton.

I thought that was soft noodles, with variations of meat and vegetables.

IME most countries roll their own version of Chinese food. So I would guess that even what you had in London was likely not authentic.

Ah, British-style Chinese food. I miss it. You of course can’t get it here in China…

Depends on where you live.

Forget not the venerable St. Paul Sandwich, a “Chinese” staple food in St. Louis and other parts of eastern Missouri.

Named after either an early Christian or a city in MN, it has little connection to either. And is truly weird, even by the weird culinary standards of a weird US city:

“Chow mein” meaning crisp noodles and “lo mein” meaning soft noodles is, as far as I know, mainly an east coast/Midwest thing. Out here on the west coast (speaking as someone who grew up in San Diego and now lives in Olympia, WA), “chow mein” is used to refer to both, but the crispy noodle version is rare and only tends to pop up on the menu at older Chinese restaurants, of which there aren’t that many around here, as teriyaki, pho, Thai, and Korean BBQ are far more prevalent among local Asian restaurants.

This thread makes me want to run and hide. I washed dishes in an honest to god American Chinese restaurant in the late 1970’s run by some Toishan immigrants in California. Even they didn’t stoop to some of the abominations listed above. And the choice was goop on crispy noodles, goop on soft fried noodles or goop on rice. It was a special not on the menu order to get all three. :slight_smile:

And it was telling they never ate the menu items themselves.

Peace. The best Chinese food (or any cuisine for that matter) is what you like the way you like it.

PS. They taught me how to swear in Cantonese, and a few legit restaurant phrases. I went back 10 years later after I had learned Mandarin, only to discover the owner really was from the Toishan old country, and had really limited Mandarin.

this is how it is here in my corner of CA one restaurant calls it chow mein another calls it low mein, and the neighborhood grandma down the street called it “Chinese spaghetti”( she was a first-gen Latina immigrant who adopted most of the neighborhood as her family since she didn’t have any family around) which is funny as among the lower rent places actually use spaghetti noodles … the last place that had chun king style noodles as an option closed about 15 years ago

You can get “crispy noodles” but its a square deep fried noodle with meat and sauce on top of it

Certainly eat what you want, the way you want.

But that does not mean you get to call it what you want and pretend it is a particular dish.

In the 80’s I worked in a Mexican restaurant and a taco was an open-faced burrito. A burrito was a taco they rolled closed and a chimichanga was a deep fried burrito that only crisped up the tortilla.

Basically all the same shit on a tortilla and they called it something different only based on what you did with the tortilla.

We actually have a few cans in the cupboard (DH favors the beef variety). Edible when we’re both too tired to cook and feeling too cheap to get takeout.

I don’t know about British style Chinese food, but it seems like I heard once there there’s a chain of restaurants in China serving American style Chinese food, where it’s marketed as just “American food”.

i heard the same but it was supposed to be “asian american food”

This was Saturday lunch when I was growing up. My dad still eats cream of mushroom soup, just water added, as a quick lunch. At this point, if he would eat the chicken chow mein out of a can, it would be the same as me eating spaghetti-o’s.

And he won’t eat spaghetti-o’s. He considers them disgusting. I’m fairly certain if I opened a can of chicken chow mein my husband would not touch it at all, and I’m not sure I would eat it.

When I was growing up we would go with our neighbors (Chinese and Taiwanese) to Vancouver, BC to get dim sum. So we did know better.

Chow mein where I grew up in Chicago. Thin stretchy egg noodles pan fried and slightly blackened. Veggie/meat glop on top:

Typical chow mein where I live now in California: thick wheat noodles mixed with ingredients:


I heard the same thing, but haven’t actually seen it.
The idea is that there’s a chain similar to Panda Express.

I doubt very much they’d just call it “American food” though, because lots of kinda of American food are popular here, burger joints in particular are like a plague right now.
(ETA: if that’s not a poor choice of words)

heh there was a place in the mall that used the noodles in the first pic and we thought they were just being cheap …

Ok, I found the ones that my friends had mentioned: Lucky You Cafe.
Although the review here describes it primarily as “Hong Kong style”, they have many dishes like “orange chicken” which AIUI are essentially not a thing outside the US.

funny many in ca most of the chinese fast food places (anything with “express” in the name)
describe themselves as hong kong style …

I’ve never seen that, though I’m in the SF Bay area so perhaps you’re referring to SoCal.

Urp! I do not have fond memories of that stuff, and whenever that odd double-decker can appeared in the cabinet, I knew dismal gloop was soon to be on the menu.

“La Choy, the Chinese food that swings American.” Yeah, right.