Every college student needs a roster of good Chinese restaurants in the tri-state area tattooed to their bicep, thigh, or appliqued as a tramp stamp for those late night cravings when absolutely nothing else will satisfy. It’s just perfect, hot, and cheap, and lately, Erik, Fleeper, and I have been chipping away at these restaurants at strange hours of the night and are reporting our findings amidst comas of crab rangoon, mindfucks of MSG, and chokeholds of chow mein.
Today’s restaurant was in Easthampton, close to Fleeper’s house, and is in a tiny plaza next to a dairy and liquor store. Tong Sing Chinese. We went in and ordered an appetizer, Szechuan fried wontons with pork and a spicy sesame glaze, and our entree, General Tso’s chicken.The wontons were perfect. I don’t think we spent more than two or three dollars on them, and there had to be at least six of them, enough to give each of us two, and they were quite large and stuffed with pork. They were covered with glaze and it was obvious that they were freshly made, because underneath the glaze, they were extremely crispy and the dough yielded to a poke with a fork, but didn’t mush completely. The pork filling was savory and minced well, and wasn’t chewy or sinewy. My only possible criticism was that these weren’t really “Szechuan,” because the glaze was more sweet than spicy, but it was damned tasty, and even though it didn’t deliver the heat that I expected, I was very pleased.For our entree, we had the General Tso’s chicken, which was delivered, as the wontons were, scalding hot. There is really nothing more pleasurable than a restaurant that delivers food as hot as the sun. I’m so used to lukewarm food in tepid dining halls that I’ve forgotten hot temperatures, and it’s absolutely refreshing. The pile of chicken was just crazy. And the flavor was incredible. Biting into this breading was like biting into a piece of slightly caramelized food. It was just ever so sugary, but the heat was spot on, that it had literally caramelized, and the crunch was perfect. It was also extremely hot, and I did burn myself. I burnt myself on perfect food.The breading was really light on this, and so was the glaze, and each piece, although tiny, was packed with an inordinate amount of flavor. It was so tasty. The cut of meat wasn’t the best that it could have been, and there was a little bit of gristle with some of the bites, but overall, it was a tasty dinner, and we took home a lot of leftovers. Erik and I split this plate, so this was a feat!Tong Sing also makes, for an exorbitantly low price, a homemade spicy mustard and duck sauce, which we got to eat with our chicken and wontons. Totally worth it. Incredible sauces. Rich flavor and delicious textures. It’s so rare that you find a restaurant making homemade sauces these days that you just jump on opportunities like that when you actually do.