Reader Kyle Martin from Huntersville asks where he can find a good, crispy, never-frozen egg roll.
Where to find it: Fresh, never frozen, egg rolls
Chinese restaurants are the single most popular ethnic eateries across the United States, and the last time I counted ethnic eateries in Charlotte, they were still No. 1 here, too. However, there is a vast difference among them. Many -- particularly the smaller takeout-only joints -- are not as concerned with freshness as, say, a restaurant which prides itself in Chinese cuisine. In China, food is served as fresh as possible. When I was at a fish market in China, fish are removed from a tank and then transported home, still gasping. Pawns are served swimming in a bowl on the table. So what happened to egg rolls?
If you want fresh egg rolls, you need to visit places that have chefs in the kitchen. Many places around town make egg rolls twice or three times a week (Soho, Wan Fu, Baoding, to name a few). A few make them daily. One of my favorite Chinese restaurants is 88 China Bistro, 1620 E. 4th St. They make their egg and spring rolls only a few hours before dinner service and then fry the rolls to order. Another place that I wish I could visit more often is Tomi Restaurant, 7741 Colony Rd. Chef Ben Cheng trained with some of the best Taiwanese chefs, and he makes his egg rolls daily and flash fries per order. Freshness is key to Cheng's kitchen.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-8334, ext 136.