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Spicy Tangy (or Szechuan) Wontons - Baltimore

matt8313 | Apr 22, 200809:31 AM

These show up as an appetizer on Chinese restaurant menus as "spicy tangy wontons," or "wontons in hot oil," or "szechuan wontons," or (occasionally) as "long chao shou," and they are pretty much exactly what they say: wontons, usually pork, served in a thin hot sauce with lots of red peppers.

I have no idea what is traditional with them and what isn't, I just know that it's a favorite appetizer of mine and I'm having trouble finding it in Baltimore. Has anyone noticed it at their neighborhood Chinese takeout? (I don't need an authentic version, or even a restaurant where the rest of the food is good -- all I'm looking for is to sample area renditions of this.)

What I've found so far:

Jumbo Seafood in Pikesville - "Wontons in hot oil"
Stuffed with shrimp, which is unusual, and served over cabbage, these are terrific, hot and sweet and vinegary in roughly equal measure. But they're triangular, not the usual tight bundle, and the wrapper is slightly thicker than in the versions I'm used to. A great dish on its own merits, but it doesn't scratch this particular itch for me.

Jesse Wong's Hong Kong in Columbia
These are pretty much what I'm looking for (and what I consider to be traditional), but Columbia's a bit of a haul for a weekday night. Hoping to find something a bit closer to the city.

David Chu's China Bistro in Pikesville
Not pork, obviously (as the restaurant is kosher), these were neither spicy nor tangy. The sauce, like most at David Chu's, is tailored for the blandest of palettes, very sweet and heavily thickened with cornstarch. Not what I had in mind.

Kosher Bite in Pikesville
Also not pork, and also not particularly good. The filling -- chicken, I'm guessing -- is dry, and the sauce lacks punch. Still preferable to David Chu's, though, if you need kosher wontons.

No. 1 Chinese Restaurant in Hampden
Not really sure WHAT these are. They seem to be soup wontons (with an overly thick skin) in some sort of a peanut sauce, maybe? Not really to my tastes, which is a pity because they're the closest thing to my home.

Anyone know of any others?

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