Saturday, February 23, 2008

Egg Rolls

Steven Shaw writes in Saveur about egg rolls he enjoyed growing up in New York.

"Though these pudgy, cabbage-stuffed snacks didn't actually originate in China...they're the authentic cuisine of my boyhood."
And, boy, can I relate! Chinese food for me growing up was egg rolls, spare ribs, wonton soup, egg foo yung, chicken chow mein, and at the fancy House of Chan downtown, pressed duck.

It's been years since I had a good egg roll. It seems that most Chinese joints just don't know how to make them anymore. Perhaps as the quality and authenticity of Chinese food in America has improved, the made-up stuff has been left aside.

After many years of seaching, I've finally found great egg foo yung at a local take-out place here in Denver. But their egg rolls are not inspired.

The best egg rolls I ever had were from a take-out place on Church Avenue in Brooklyn in the mid-70s. I think it was called Star Kitchen. The egg rolls were large and oily, but in a good way, crisp with a flavorful filling. I would dip alternately in mustard and duck sauce, but never mixed the two. They looked like the one in the picture - click on it to enlarge it and make your mouth water!

Next time I'm in New York, I'll try to get to Empire Szechuan (that Shaw writes about) and try theirs.