Sweet and Sour
November 2, 2004 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Take-out Chinese food: I love take-out sweet & sour chicken. For some reason, some places serve it just as the fried nuggets with a container of the red sauce on the side, and some places serve it as a big mishmosh of the chicken and veggies all in the sauce. Are there actual terms for this difference, and if so would I be able to order it the way I want at your generic take-out place?
posted by XQUZYPHYR to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Former restaurant editor here: I doubt there is a term, probably just a restaurant-specific choice.

Can you just ask for sauce on the side? I know at Leeann Chin, a popular Chinese takeout place in Minnesota, the lemon chicken was enormously popular, but people would always get the sauce on the side...there was too much of it the way the servers would dish it out, otherwise.

If it's pre-mixed in the sauce...I guess you're outta luck.
posted by GaelFC at 11:34 AM on November 2, 2004

XQ, Chinese take-out is an orgy of monosodium glutamate
posted by matteo at 11:52 AM on November 2, 2004

Yeah, but you better order it by #.
posted by yerfatma at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2004

There's MSG in Chinese food?!
posted by soplerfo at 11:59 AM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: GaelFC- well it's not just that, I mean I like it when it's JUST the chicken, basically a container of breaded chicken and nothing else. In many places they don't do it that way, instead mixing it in the sauce with carrots and those peas pod things- more like how it would come at a restaurant than a take-out place.

Wasn't sure if there was a way to ask how they do it, or if they can do it a special way. The tendency for the operators of the place I frequent to not actually speak much English prevents me asking the way I asked here. I was hoping "can I have it made ____ style" was a possibility.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2004

The problem with anything "take out" that also involves the word "crispy" is that it won't stay that way for long. Even if you just put the fried chicken nuggets in a bag, the steam will make it soggy.

Tossing it with the sauce, of course, guarantees a soggy chicken dish without any hint of "crispy". I think that's why they might be doing it.
posted by madman at 12:25 PM on November 2, 2004

I remember in California (10 years ago, now) that you would get the mish-mosh version. Texas and Canada (BC, anyway) serve the chicken nugget version.
posted by deborah at 12:54 PM on November 2, 2004

matteo, Chinese food is an orgy of MSG.

posted by rxrfrx at 2:28 PM on November 2, 2004

yeah, may be lame-o, but it definitely is bad for you. I care for XQUZ's health
posted by matteo at 2:58 AM on November 3, 2004

Best answer: The version with veg all served together is 'Sweet and Sour chicken Hong Kong style'. The version with just the nuggets and sauce served separately is 'Sweet and Sour chicken' or 'Sweet and sour chicken balls'. At least it is in the UK.
posted by ascullion at 4:28 AM on November 3, 2004

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