I'm from the east coast. OK, New York. Why have I been able to conquer just about every other culinary concession I've made moving out to Phoenix but one: decent chinese food?
Back in NY/NJ and all over the east coast, millions of little neighborhood joint with the big white menus with the red printing, and every one of em turned out product that beats the hell out of what passes for Chinese out here. And don't give me crap about ordering from the Chinese menu. I've been there, that's just novelty. I don't want organ meat, just regular New York Chinese food. Is that too much to ask? A whole city, not one place can manage it?
Hell, we even have a Chinese cultural center. Do all Chinese forget how to cook upon passing over the Mississippi?
Sesame chicken, a mainstay dish, has more faces than a bus of Baptists passing through a nudist colony. I've gotten it 10 different times, and it's completely different each time. Sometimes fried, sometimes grilled, sometimes cut then fried, sometimes fried then cut. Once it was these huge balls that were obviously sweet-and-sour chicken pieces immersed in this honey sauce, wonderfully fluffy, but completely inedible.
Sesame chicken MUST BE CRUNCHY. I know that's hard, but you need to overcook it a little so that the crunch stands up to the sauce. It should also be a deep brown red-maroon, not gold, not yellow.
That's just one dish. One other one: Hot & Sour soup. That's a simple one, no? Vinegary broth, thickened, tofu, mushroons, chile pepper? PLEASE!
Don't say PF Changs, don't say Flo's, trust me, I've tried them. That's RESTAURANT Chinese. It's not Neighborhood Takeout Chinese. It's also $14.99 for something you pay $5 for in NY.