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My Chinese restaurant picks

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

I'm not a professional food critic, but I eat too much and I've been a fanatic about Chinese restaurants for longer than most of our young reporters have been alive. What other qualifications do you want?

I've been reading a fascinating book called "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles" by Jennifer 8. Lee. It's everything you wanted to know about Chinese restaurants, and more. Did you know that fortune cookies are American, not Chinese, and that they probably were invented by people of Japanese heritage in California? (They were imported into China a few years ago as "genuine American fortune cookies.") Would you have guessed that General Tso really was a famous general, but that no one in China knows what "General Tso's chicken" is?

One of the points Lee makes is that nearly everyone has a "go-to" Chinese restaurant (she names President Bush's favorite).

My favorite Asian restaurant in Sandusky actually isn't Chinese; it's Jo Wok (aka OK Wok) a small Thai place at 709 W. Perkins. (It does have Chinese food on the menu, too.) If you haven't tried Thai food before and you don't feel brave, try T2, the cashew chicken. You can't go wrong with it.

For Chinese food in Sandusky, I like Ming's Garden, 3317 Milan Road, although for a combination of speedy service, value and good food, it's hard to beat Home Village (1012 Cleveland Road.) Both are quite decent American Chinese restaurants.

My favorite Chinese restaurant in Cleveland is the Bo Loong, 3922 St. Clair in Cleveland (convenient to downtown Cleveland, if you are there for a concert or sports event.) The huge menu has many items you won't find listed in ordinary Chinese restaurants, and you'll usually see many Asian people dining there (always a good sign in a Chinese eatery.) I like the salt-baked shrimp. You'll see little black eyes on each shrimp, but if you follow the waiter's advice and bite the head off, you'll get a wonderful burst of flavor.

links: www.jowok.com/

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