Friday, October 12, 2012

Mary Chung's in Cambridge: Our Favorite Chinese Food

Last time we went to Mary's we were so eager to dig in, we forgot to take pictures for the blog. So this article is well overdue. Mary Chung's has been our favorite Chinese restaurant since we started eating there in college. We've since hooked our daughters on it and they are jealous whenever we go without them.

By appearance, Mary's is a typical Chinese hole in the wall. But make no mistake by ordering the typical chow mein or pu pu platter. The menu is not American-classic-Chinese. Instead of wonton soup try the suan la chow show, a soup-like dish of wontons over beansprouts in a super-spicy ginger sauce. Instead of those red spare ribs, have the pan fried Peking ravioli, which comes with the same spicy ginger sauce. But go ahead and have the chiken wings. They are the best you will ever have, with a much richer flavor not simply overpowered with salt and oil.

My favorite dish is one of their specialties, dun dun noodles with shredded chicken. It will be hard to believe this is so good, but trust me. These are thick lo mein style noodles in a spicy peanut sauce. I've gotten close to making this at home, but never with the complexity and richness that Mary's has. My main ingredients are peanut butter, garlic, soy sauce, pepper sauce, vinegar and stock. By the middle of the dish, I'm quenching the peanuty fire with enough water to make me explode, and I want more noodles.

Last night we had another dish that is becoming a new standard for us, the lion head. It's a giant pork meatball in a light broth with cabbage. Don't skip the broth. We also had the general Bau's chicken, which comes with crispy broccoli and large, juicy chunks of slightly spicy, slightly citrusy chicken. As usual, we walked out with over-stuffed bellies and a big bag of leftovers. It doesn't get better than that.

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