Ordering in Chinese food is one of my simple pleasures. Whether it’s after coming home from teaching an evening class, or during the weekend when a glance inside the fridge shows nothing resembling a meal, the ritual is basically this: Survey the menu, call in the order, wait for the delivery, and remove goodies from the bag.
Typically, one plate isn’t enough, so seconds follow. Then I close up the containers and pop the leftovers into the fridge for later meals.
I got hooked on Chinese delivery in law school. New York and Chinese food go hand in hand, and the local choices in NYU’s Greenwich Village neighborhood were abundant, tasty, and cheap. Even a modest order would yield several meals.
Today, my Chinese delivery venue of choice is called Food Wall, located in my Boston ‘hood of Jamaica Plain. I’m far from alone in this category. Val Wang featured Food Wall in her 2012 National Public Radio series on Chinese takeout places:
When you spend as much time inside of Chinese takeouts as I do, you start to notice some patterns. Like, every takeout has its regulars, people for whom the takeout is an essential part of their lives.
Food Wall in Jamaica Plain is one example. It has inspired something of a cult following. I walked up and down the street one afternoon asking people who work nearby how often they stop in. . . .
“At least once a week,” said Saul Cifuentes, owner of Beauty Masters Salon and Supply.
“Lately I’ve been going at least three to four times a week,” said Josiah Simmons of theVideo Underground.
James Norton of Revolution Bikes is trying to cut back, but “it used to be almost daily.”
None can top Fat Ram of Pumpkin Tattoo. He claims he’s eaten there “Eleven days a week for 10 years. It’s too much. Too much Food Wall. I hit the Food Wall.”
Pictured above is some very basic Cantonese fare from Food Wall: Egg foo young and fried rice. I usually opt for spicier Szechuan dishes, but not to worry, it’s good stuff. I cleaned that plate quickly.