Oriental Gourmet, Arlington

I’ve been enjoying #S28 on their carryout menu: Fish Fillet and Bean Curd in Hot and Red Bean Sauce ($13.45). While this might sound odd, it has the flavors (sans pork) of a very mild Ma Po Tofu – a lot of Ma Po Tofus are just too numbing for me, and while this has some of that, it’s just a hint, not a dominant feature. There is a *lot* of fish in this dish, and it’s an excellent value for the money – I’ve ordered it twice in a row.

If you like dried-fried beef, sometimes knows as Szechuan Beef Proper, get #F20: Crispy Shredded Beef ($13.95). It’s a massive amount of battered, fried, bite-sized strips of steak, and if you know this dish, it’s a very good rendition, with a few thinly shredded carrots thrown in so you can lie to yourself and think it’s healthy. Highly recommended.

Actually, I recommend both of these dishes in tandem – since they’re so utterly different, they play off one other well. You’ll need a green if you get these in order to balance your meal, so order something steamed from the “Healthy Choice” section, or one of the sautéed beans, snow peas, or spinach entrees – you’ll have yourself a really nice carryout meal for two, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Yes, the beef reheats pretty well in a microwave – and although you already know this, I want to end in a rhyming couplet since I’m reading Shakespeare:

leave the steamed rice unopened, sealed tight,

and outside of the icebox overnight.

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