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Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Department of Meats

The energy of the spring was on the street. Dark clouds formed above. A storm was about to dump. The thrill was out. I, on the other hand, was in.  In search of meats. Welcome to the Department of Meats.

Not all men agree on the precise date that humans began cooking meats; all great men know the search for delicious meats will never end.  And, of course, it is well known by great men that the Chinese do excellent things with meats. It therefore stands to reason that one must search for meats on the streets of Chinatown.  However, recently, the eminent critic Adam Platt of New York Magazine questioned the quality of Chinese food in Manhattan's Chinatown.  It's an important piece for all those who love Chinese food and by implication roasted meats.  

Wilson Tang, a man whose Chinatown pedigree will not be questioned in these proceedings, responded and gave a different, more optimistic take.  He also listed some establishments he thought were noteworthy.  He mentioned a parlor named Sing Kee, and I submit for your consideration the following observation from Tang's essay:

"They make a great Chinese fried chicken."

Of course I knew I had to taste this chicken, which was why I found myself walking the streets of Manhattan's Chinatown before a storm dump.  I made my way inside Sing Kee before the dump, and found it sparsely filled with Chinese families sitting banquet style enjoying various dishes.  

There were a few chicken dishes to choose from, and the ones listed as "roasted" sounded more appetizing as they were topped with "fresh garlic sauce" and "black beans," things which appeal to me.  However, I knew what I wanted and ordered it: "Crispy Fried Chicken Cantonese Style."  I've tasted some crispy Cantonese chicken before, but sadly I must report the version at Sing Kee was horrifically bland, uncrispy, and all around not good.  Damn you, Tang.  Damn you, straight to hell.  And damn you, too, Chinatown.  And damn you, reader.  Damn everyone.