Thursday, February 13, 2003
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Michael Earl says Cambridge has spicy noodles. "I strongly recommend Mary Chung's Dun Dun Noodles (in Central Square, Cambridge) -- heavy noodles in a hot peanut-based sauce, shredded chicken optional. The Peking Ravoli and Suan La Chow Shao soup are also fabulous. It's a favorite of the MIT comp-sci culture, interestingly."
I was just about the first person to eat at Mary Chung's, and almost certainly the first person from the AI lab, when it opened in I think 1981. A friend and I ate there about 3 days after it opened. (I guess that makes us the first two.) We had been frequenting Wu Fu across the street, but it had taken a sudden turn for the worse. Apparently a chef left Royal East (which for some reason is called in Chinese "May Flower Seafood and Liquor House") and he was said to be Mary's husband. What later becamse the signature dish of Mary's is Suan La Chow Shou (Hot Sour Won Tons), which is wontons in a wonderful soy-seasoning-hot oil sauce on a bed of bean sprouts. Hot and Sour Soup with the same wontons is also quite nice, as is the northern style dim sum on weekends.
Mary's was closed for a few years when Bioran overran their space, but opened up across the street, ironically not far from where Wu Fu had been. I haven't lived in Cambridge for over ten years, but a few years ago when I was back in town, standing outside with friends looking at the menyu, Mary came out and said, "Hi Leigh!" I'll be there in about two weeks at the XForms working group meeting after the implementation workshop in Waltham is over, and I'm sure we'll be eating there.
Here in Palo Alto, Adam at Szechuan Cafe on California Ave makes a good approximation of Suan La Chow Shou, served as a shared appetizer. Just tell him I sent you and don't order from the menu.