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Chicago Area Chinese

When bad Chinese food (Chinalite) happens to good people

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When bad Chinese food (Chinalite) happens to good people

Mike G | Oct 11, 2002 12:47 AM

So I picked up my son from school, the baby in tow, and did I go straight to the Cuban place I keep meaning to try? No.

Did I give Dona Lolis another shot at flor de calabeza? No.

Did I go through the drive through at Wendy's like a normal American? No.

No, I decided not to subject them to my chow indulgences and came home, and upon discovering that there was nothing that smelled right to fix for dinner, I dug through the randomness that is the menu drawer and ordered food from Chinalite. It has never impressed me that much-- yeah, so they leave out half the oil, and half the flavor too-- but it's not like Silver Seafood or Moon Palace or something delivers to my house. It seemed an acceptable choice since my usual default, Chen's, disappointed me recently. It would beat opening a can, surely.

No, it didn't.

Half the grease? All I can say is, it's been sitting in my stomach like a week's worth of Elvis' deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, so I'd hate to eat all the grease. And it didn't taste good, either. The chicken in black bean sauce was bland and seemed to merit one of those wine words for unpleasant off flavors (grassy, vegetal). The shrimp in some kind of garlic sauce with lots of tomato suggested regurgitated gazpacho.

I wasn't expecting greatness, but okayness does not seem too much to ask. I'm going to put a note in the menu drawer from now on that says "Do Not Order Chinese. Chinese is only to be eaten in restaurants in a real Chinatown."

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