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Takeaway Menu Roulette

Menu RouletteAs yet another flurry of takeaway menus drops through our letterbox; I decided to invent a new game. Picking a menu at random and stabbing blindly at it I would order whatever dish my subconscious clearly felt I needed in my life. Praying blindly for sushi from Kyotoya rather than a donner kebab from Al Rayyan, I opened my eyes…

The result: Wing On Palace. It’s a small, quite grungy-looking Chinese round the corner from me. Could be worse, I thought – I rang them up and ordered ‘Roast Pork with Cashew Nuts’ for a pretty reasonable £5.50.

20 minutes later I collected my box of food from a friendly teen, part of the extended family that fills the shop. A grandma is wiping down the sides as a five year old and a baby play in the kitchen. It turns out the place is not only a Chinese but also serves fish and chips, along with a few other ‘English Dishes’ which seem to be mainly omelette and chips. As I wait for my food I dream up a few fusion foods (sweet and sour chicken omelettes? Stir fried chips?) and try not to think too hard about hygiene standards.

At home I open up my plastic bag. Initially the box looks unprepossessing. That typical Chinese takeaway gloop was covering everything in its sweet, sticky, MSG-laden ubiquity. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t order a Chinese takeaway for its clarity of flavour and delicate spicing, you order it for the satisfying hit of sugar, salt and fat that makes it so addictive.

I dig in. It’s actually pretty decent. Despite the edges of the roast pork being tinged an alarming red it is relatively moist and tasty. There is a good variety of veg that has been expertly thawed, and the cashew nuts are tasty and plentiful. I must admit I scraped quite a lot of the goo off to the side of my plate, but in the end I almost finish the mammoth portion and feel quite proud of myself, if slightly nauseous.

Would I order it again? No, probably not. My kitchen now stinks of takeaway, that kind of artificial smell that only comes from foil containers. To be honest I’m probably a bit of a food snob, and if I’m going to eat Chinese food I’d rather it was from somewhere specialising in a particular part of the 9,706,961 square kilometres that makes up the most populous nation on the planet. Anglicised Cantonese gloop has its fans, but I’m not amongst them.

Having said that, as Chinese takeaways go, it was surprisingly alright. Which goes to show you should never judge your grotty local Chinese/ chippy on appearances.

Wing On Palace, 36 Old Moat Lane, Withington (01614455502)

Anglicised Cantonese Roast Pork with Cashew Nuts

Anglicised Cantonese Roast Pork with Cashew Nuts

Tags: Chinese, menu roulette, Takeaways

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