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How do you order crispy/dry-style beef chow fun?

Missy P. | Sep 25, 200304:56 PM

At the risk of making a fool of myself again, I must ask for some 'hound input on my lunch experience today. First let me say that I know virtually nothing (well, more than average non-hound, but less than most hounds) about the many varieties of Chinese food. I don't eat it very much because I find it intimidating and I usually end up ordering something I don't like very much.

Going out on a limb (for me), I ordered beef chow fun from Young's Cafe on Kearny St. today, which seems to be popular among knowledgable posters. Hmmm. I guess I wanted the "dry-style," but wasn't sure how/if to specify that, so I just asked for "beef chow fun."

I got it to go. Let me head off any criticism on this account by saying that if Ms. Melanie Wong can ask for it to go, so can I. So there.

I work about 4 blocks from Young's. When I got back to the office, I opened a very heavy styrofoam container to find a lot of large, thinnish slices of beef and baby bok chow over (hidden) fat noodles in a lot of brown gravy. Here we go again, I thought. I guess I just don't like much of anything covered in that much sauce.

Keeping my mind open, I ate about a third of the huge serving--though not much of the noodles, which I found a bit too done for my taste, but that might be a result of it being take-out. The gravy didn't have a lot of flavor--it tasted like the bad brown gravy that coats much Americanized Chinese food. There was not a hint of spice to the whole thing (which I believe is more typical of HK-style food, though I'm not sure.) The beef was fine--tender and of good quality--as was the choi sum, but not especially exciting.

Anyway, I just need some therapy here. Please tell me how to order this so I get the dry-style with crispy bits that everyone seems to like so much. Also, did I get the right thing? The menu does look intriguing--are there things I should try that won't be super-sauced? Or maybe I should get someone to order in Cantonese for me. All of this comes on the heels of my turning down a lunch date with Chow Fun and Limster at Utopia yesterday, where I surely would have learned a lot. Sigh.

p.s. I got in big trouble in February for having a similar experience Utopia. Don't hate me because I'm ignorant. (Or because I don't like sweet-n-sour sauce or brown gravy).


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