Monday, October 17, 2016


Reading a True Story
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Home Made Chinese Chow Mein
Years ago, my husband had a Roofing business in the city of Oakland, California, and if he had a job in China Town Oakland, I would often meet him for lunch.  He had three favorite Chinese restaurants; one was called the Economy Café.  The food was excellent, and reasonable, but the place was very small.  So small in fact that there was a need to SHARE tables with other customers.  Regular patrons were okay with this, and they expected to have company join with them at their table.  

Another restaurant was owned by a family, and you could watch their children in the back room playing, while their parents worked the front.  I remember seeing a play pen with a small baby on one occasion. 

The third restaurant was very different.  There was no menu, because the waiter would come by with a cart loaded with delicious looking foods, and you could select the dish you wanted.  Each entrée was added to your bill and everything was so inviting it was difficult to choose. 

I decided to create my own recipe for Chow Mein.  I often used a can of Spam sliced into small pieces to make Pork Chow Mien.  Naturally you can use beef or chicken either of which makes a lovely dish.  This recipe is simple and easy to make. 

 Chinese Chow Mein 
  1 small bunch Bok Choy chopped
  1 small chopped onion
  3 Ribs fresh celery (sliced)
  1 tablespoon olive oil or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  1 (4 ounce) can mushroom pieces, drained
  1 (7 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  2 cups cut up cooked chicken
  3 tablespoons cornstarch
  1/4 cup water
  1 (10 ounce) can condensed chicken broth   
  1/4 cup soy sauce
  1/4 pound cooked vermicelli noodles
  (I used the Chinese thin noodles - - boiled until tender)


In a large pot, sauté celery, onion and Bok Choy in oil for about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add bean sprouts, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and chicken.

In a large bowl, blend cornstarch with water. When smooth, add chicken broth and soy sauce to bowl.  Mix well and pour over meat and vegetables.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sauce thickens.  Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.  Serve over hot, boiled Chinese noodles, cooked rice, or Crisp chow mien noodles.
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Saleslady371 said...

I like the name "Economy Cafe" because it says a lot! That must have been fun to choose an entree off the cart. My girlfriend and I did that in Sedona recently. We chose the veggies and meat and gave it to the cook to prepare it for us! Thank you for your recipe; looks very good!

Pam Ecrement said...

Thanks for this fun story! The recipe looks like one I will try! Thanks, Hazel!!

Floyd Samons said...

So amazing how memories never fade in color from our mind. What a gift.

We go to a Chinese place that has pre made dishes on a revolving conveyer belt that circles the little restaurant like a model train set… minus the train…

Love your stories, they always inspire some of my own!