Red décor is the first sign.
Are there red and gold lanterns?
What’s the vintage of the cabinets – pre-1970s laminate?
And the furniture – is it functional rather than fancy?
All my adult life I’ve been seeking a flavour – Chicken Chow Mein of my childhood – and it only seems to exist in Chinese restaurants that look a bit 1970s.
Sure, the dish is on menus but the distinct flavour has disappeared.
The most popular theory is the removal of MSG, or perhaps the influence of Vietnamese-style cooking and flavours, but I reckon it’s the absence of cabbage: Delicious, stir-fried cabbage. Mmmm.
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