Thanks to a Reddit Ask Me Anything called “Your Typical Chinese Restaurant Employee,” we now know what really happens inside a Chinese restaurant. The anonymous insider says his family is Chinese and that he’s worked at his parent’s Chinese food restaurant for most of his life and knows “almost all the ins and outs.” Here are the secrets he revealed.
The secret to authentic Chinese food is the sauce - The restaurant worker says the reason we can’t make Chinese food at home that tastes “as good as the worst Chinese takeout” is because the recipes we follow don’t use the same ingredients so our sauces don’t taste as good. Insider tip: He suggests asking your local Chinese takeout place to sell you some sauce.
Using a wok makes a difference - Our homemade stir-fried yums and lo mein don’t taste like the restaurant because we don’t cook them in a wok. He says, “The ability to flash cook in a wok makes a big difference, believe it or not.”
North American Chinese food is cheaper - Our Insider says “authentic Chinese food requires more ingredients and a longer cooking process.” But North American Chinese food - the stuff we’re used to eating – is cheaper and easier to prepare.
The secret to the chicken in dishes like General Tso’s is the breading - He says it’s “lightly seasoned wet batter made from water, salt, oil, egg white, and flour.” And this is how he suggests to cook it in five easy steps:
- Marinate the chicken in light seasoning
- Mix in batter
- Fry in hot oil to lock on the batter
- Lower the temp of the oil to fully harden the outside and cook the inside
- Stir-fry the chicken with the sauce.
Don’t believe a restaurant if it says they don’t use MSG - Our worker shares that even if the place says they don’t use MSG, it’s in the food regardless because it’s in the sauces. And now we know.