Chicken Chow Mein from China Wok (199 East 3rd Street, 212-228-5888)
It seemed odd not to have featured chow mein yet on Year of the Takeout, seeing as how it’s very much everywhere and one of the first recipes that Americans associated with Chinese food.
Said to be a slight rip-off of chop suey, a common Chinese dish, the basic idea brings together bean sprouts, celery, and cabbage in a mild, white chicken stock. Meat, seafood, or tofu can be thrown in, too. Typically, the kinds found in the U.S. have stir-fried noodles.
Wok’s approach does not feature noodles, which suggests that it’s perhaps more like its culinary ancestor than most of the restaurant’s picks.
Not to say that adhering to tradition makes the plate any better or worse — the $5 offering feels a little bland, though the poultry slivers abound in moisture.
With your meal, however, you do get a foam container with a way rad creepy panda/pretty-girl aesthetic, which almost seems better than the fortune cookie the restaurant forgot to include.