Since I’ve been gone so long, and eaten so much actual Chinese food (yes, from China + Taiwan) in the interim, I figured I should ease myself back into the world of Chinese carryout. Something simple, classic, even. The General Tso’s Chicken and a few chicken wings sounded like a good place to start.
There was a man with a limp sweeping outside Grand China Carry-Out as I approached the carryout. I had noticed it the other day, just a block away from Meridian Pint. Though 11th St has started the slow roll toward gentrification, Grand China Carry-Out was still there, next to a laundromat, metal bars covering the windows.
The space, whatever it was before it became a Chinese carryout, was spacious enough, behind a large pillar, there could have been room for a few tables for customers to sit. But instead, that space sat unused, and the Grand China operated solely as a carryout.
I was asked if I wanted the General Tso’s to be spicy, which I did. This led to 10 minutes of awkward standing around. Someone else had ordered before me, and we were both standing around by the Plexiglas counter, as one lone cook worked the fryer to make the food. The man with the limp, who had taken our orders, spent the time writing Chinese characters on the back of the receipt pad.
The General Tso’s sauce was spicy, but also tasted like it has BBQ sauce in it. Were they just cutting corners, or is that actually how they tried localizing the flavor of General Tso’s? And what’s this? Some sort of thin liquid at the bottom of the aluminum foil container? The General Tso’s sauce had appeared to be pretty thick, what’s this runoff even coming from?
Can I ask for no broccoli from carryouts? Not only do I hate broccoli in general, but it takes up valuable real estate space away from the chicken, which I guess is the point. I ended up draping the broccoli over the wings, in the hopes that the General Tso’s sauce would drip down. I did that, but then later realized there was a chance the stink of the broccoli might get onto the wings, and quickly removed the veggies from the area. Though slightly tainted from the broccoli, the wings were still hot and juicy and more than delicious.
Sadly, I did not ask, nor was I offered any Mumbo sauce. Is it no longer a thing? Or has the economy forced the carryouts to make cutbacks in their offerings? Only time will tell, I suppose.
Soy Sauce: Jadine Foods, Inc
Number of unsolicited packets: Soy – 3 / Duck – 0
Chicken wings (3) and General Tso’s Chicken: $12.75
Grand China Carry Out – 3306 11th St NW Washington, DC 20010 202.462.2436