Sunday, February 14, 2010

China Fun

For the Chinese New Year (apparently it's also some sort of special day for valentines and whatnot), I made a stop at the unassuming China Fun, a small Chinese restaurant outside of Towson promising Hunan, Szechuan and Cantonese food. Some of their offerings fall in the dim sum category, though most are tried and true Chinese restaurant comfort foods (I did notice crispy shredded beef, which is more common in England than it is here). As I often do when I try out a Chinese-American restaurant for the first time, I went ahead and ordered that most "Chinese" (note the quotation marks) of dishes, orange chicken. Although it wasn't a weekday, they still let me order from the lunch combo menu, which also got me my choice of white, fried or pork fried rice for only $5.25. For an extra $1.25 I ordered a shrimp egg roll. After tax, the total was $7.

The wait for the orange chicken wasn't terribly long - just your average 10 minutes. I sat at one of two very spartan tables, waiting for my take out order in a room whose only non-utilitarian decoration was a massive painting of a group of people punting down a large tree- and rocky ledge-lined river. If this is a painting of China, it's a part we regrettably don't see much of in this country.

On the way home, I noticed the strong garlic scent - unusual for orange chicken. But I like garlic so this posed no problem. When I got home I tore into the meal. The chicken had to sit an extra half-hour after I talked to some neighbors about the crazy snow (one is from New England, the other from maritime Canada, and the amount of snow we got was even new to them). But the rice was soft and filling as I had expected, and the broccoli bright green and not too soft nor too crisp.

The chicken, though by no means crunchy anymore, was far from the gummy and overly chewy orange chicken you might find at a restaurant that truly doesn't know what it's doing. The chicken itself was unremarkable, but the goodies surrounding it were what demand attention. The outer coating was satisfyingly hard, and the sauce around the chicken was a wonderful mixture of sweet, tangy and garlicky. Though this is one of China Fun's spicier dishes, I did not find it spicy in the least bit, as I rarely do with orange chicken.

The shrimp egg roll was a nice combination of shrimp and cabbage flavors, with a crispy outer layer that didn't seem too greasy. I was hoping to save a little of the egg roll for the leftover orange chicken, but finished eating the egg roll before I could stop myself.

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