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Old 07-13-2010, 04:57 PM   #21
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As a child, I loved the crispy Chinese noodles. I would have eaten the canned La Choy Chow Mein for them. (If anyone suddenly has a desire to try this, DON'T! La Choy Chow Mein was not even good as a childhood memory!)

In college, I had a friend who was addicted to the La Choy Chop Suey. It was horrible even for what was acceptable for cheap college food status. (Like...Ramen noodles in the cellophane package was acceptable.) It was so horrible that I would not even have ordered chop suey in a restaurant - so I have never had it for comparison though the descriptions on the menu make me think it is likely better than my other chop suey experience.

That being said, I'm perplexed why anyone would try a dish they do not enjoy at multiple restaurants. Moo Goo Gai Pan, for example, to me is not really yummy. I had it on a buffet and was like 'meh.' I had it at another restaurant off of their menu and again felt it was better but meh. I'd never go on a comparison quest for good moo goo gai pan b/c the combination to me is meh......unless perhaps enticed by crispy noodles. Okay, not even then. Too many other more appealing things on the menu.

~Kathleen
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygrrl View Post
I just want to say to people saying Chop Suey is bland, do you really mean not spicy? Because the dish on Long Island is def. not bland. I have it when I want something light and it hits the spot. It is usually made with a white sauce that is garlicky with onions, celery, and sometimes chinese cabbage. I usually add hot pepper oil but it is a dish I like to have once in awhile. It has plenty of flavor where I am just not a lot of heat.
So do you make your own or do you add the oil to take out? Just curious.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:54 PM   #23
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I don't remember that the vegetables in Chop Suey were bigger than those in chow mein, but in the early '50s in Seattle Chop Suey was served over Chinese rice and Chow Mein was the same as Chop Suey except it was served over crisp Chinese noodles.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:21 PM   #24
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From what I remember growing up back in NY (& my mom was stirfrying with interesting ingredients long before anyone even knew what a wok was!), the local Chinese takeout joints served "Chop Suey", with options of chicken, shrimp, or pork, & it was a somewhat slimy concoction of the chosen meat along with celery, onions, bok choy, & sometimes carrots in a bland "white" sauce. "Chow Mein" was pretty much the same sad mix, but topped with old-time generic crispy noodles. That was the only difference between the two.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:40 PM   #25
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I wasn't endorsing the explanation I posted. I just thought it was an amusing addition to the list of explanations we have discussed. I doubt there is much difference, if any, between the two.

I remember having that LaChoy stuff when I was a kid and haven't had it since. SO likes it, so I created a recipe for veggie chop suey/chow mein that is the same as the stuff from a local restaurant she really likes. I eat something else when she has that.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:44 PM   #26
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I was at a chinese restaurant this weekend and asked this very question and the answer was.. "the chow mein costs $1.00 more"


:)
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:46 PM   #27
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I was at a chinese restaurant this weekend and asked this very question and the answer was.. "the chow mein costs $1.00 more"


:)

Finally! An accurate answer.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:22 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
I was at a chinese restaurant this weekend and asked this very question and the answer was.. "the chow mein costs $1.00 more"

:)
It's those crispy noodles driving up the price!
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:00 AM   #29
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ok, so, from what i've learned over the years, chop suey is a chinese american invention using local ingredients as proxies, and is eaten with rice because the early chinese immigrants were primarily from the south, an area of great rice production.

chow mein is also considered american but is more solidly realtable to authentic chinese peasent dishes. the biggest difference is that it is supposed to be eaten with fried noodles, a dish representative of northern china as wheat is the staple crop there. hence, more noodle production/consumption than rice.

on a side note, i love a good moo goo gai pan, but i agree with kathleen that it's often meh in most restaurants. i've found chinese joints that can make good moo goo often make other things like oyster sauce, lobster cantonese, the aforemention chop suey, and other white sauced dishes well.

i fact, a my favourite take out does moo goo in white, brown, and garlic, and spicy sauces.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:53 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
on a side note, i love a good moo goo gai pan, but i agree with kathleen that it's often meh in most restaurants. i've found chinese joints that can make good moo goo often make other things like oyster sauce, lobster cantonese, the aforemention chop suey, and other white sauced dishes well.

i fact, a my favourite take out does moo goo in white, brown, and garlic, and spicy sauces.
When I read the description for moo goo gai pan, I think it has everything I will love and, therefore, I would love the dish. It's so disappointing to have that anticipation and then have it fall short. To be honest, I think you are correct in that it is likely the sauce that makes it meh to me. I take my disappointment out of the mu shu pork or some spicy veggie dish.

~Kathleen
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