Who does not like Chinese Take Out? I am talking about the fried, greasy, Americanized version that dots every neighborhood and community. The little place that is tucked away with a gazillion items on the menu that makes your head spin. Or the trifold take out menu tucked under your door. Who is your favorite?
I speak of my personal experience. As far back as I can remember, I have always sought out my go to little Chinese take out place. No matter which corner of the world I resided at the time there was always one or more of these little joints that indulge my palate from time to time. Somehow, I have always found a sense of satisfaction after eating from a place like this. I guess that is the definition of one’s comfort food.
China Lee is tucked along Kirkman Rd in the Super Walmart Plaza. It cannot be seen from Kirkman Rd, you would have to enter the plaza, then look at the line of buildings facing Kirkman Rd as it is on the back side facing the Walmart parking lot. There is a big overhead sign. The setting is a modest few tables and chairs more for waiting, but you can eat there. Order from the paper, overhead, or menu board. The menu board display has specials of the day.
General Tsao – chunks of fried chicken in special sauce. I know there is a classic recipe handed down from generations to the most revered of Chinese chefs. Not all versions of that recipe tickle my fancy. Some are either too spicy hot, too salty, too sweet, the appearance of bell peppers makes me cringe, the chicken is often soggy, the sauce is too thick, the sauce is too runny, I can go on and on….. This China Lee’s version is my absolute favorite. Yes I endorse it, there!
Having eaten this dish for several times over a long period of time I am convinced that this is not a by fluke recipe or technique. Every time that I have eaten this dish here it was an absolute replica of the first time. Consistency at it’s very best. The chicken is mouth size bites, crispy freshness, fried to perfection. The sauce is a delicate balance of sweet and tangy with the back hint of heat. Right before you swallow that mouthful, the heat kicks in. The accompanying pork fried rice is fresh, not too crispy, not too soft, nice coating of sauce with ample saltiness. Is there a complete absence of MSG? I am not so sure. If there is, then it is a very minute amount for I can still feel my tongue after eating. This flavor and texture is to my likeness.
Maybe the total freshness of food at this place has to do with how busy it is. In all the time I have passed or stopped in, there has always been a crowd. At first, I thought how disorganized. Imagine ordering a pick up and then having to wait for it? Then I went in, I was wrong. People are actually walking in, paying and leaving. There is hardly any wait, even when it is super busy. These guys turn and burn, they crank dishes out before you finish ordering. There is no dilly dally in here. Get in, know what you want order, pay, step aside, pick up food and walk out. Don’t stand around there is a line behind you and everyone is clambering for the same great food. Watch out you could get run over, but the General Tsao is worth it. Did I mention, this is my taste, yours could differ? Give it a try and let me know.