A couple of months ago, Tara told me about this viral TikTok video where some filmmaker claims the best Chinese food comes from restaurants with average reviews. Apparently, 3.5 stars is the sweet spot.
I was skeptical at first. It stands to reason that a restaurant with 5-star reviews would have superior cuisine, right? Bigger is better and all that jazz? I lived in California long enough to know there’s a whole lot more shakin’ goin’ on in a magnitude 5 earthquake versus a 3.5 tremor. By that logic, the Kung Pao chicken from a restaurant with a 5-star Yelp review should run circles around that dished up by a restaurant that has only managed to cobble together 3.5 stars.
Not so fast, declares Freddie Wong. Here’s the thinking behind his theory.
I guess, in a perverse way, that makes sense. Cultural expectations and all. Americans are so hellbent on service, while the Chinese are more concerned with cooking delicious food. So, when we found a Chinese restaurant here in town with perfectly middling reviews, we were thrilled. Sure enough, they delivered!
Well, not literally. We had to phone in our order and pick it up ourselves. But the food was quite good! And the staff is wonderfully brusque. Very abrupt over the phone. They don’t want a name and won’t accept a credit card. Come in, tell us what you ordered, pay us then. Last time Tara picked up our food, the guy in front of her was hemming and hawing over what to order, so the cashier barked at him to step aside and let my wife go first.
Shades of the Soup Nazi, huh?
Nevertheless, we’ve eaten there several times, and have always enjoyed our meals. Had some last night, and the oyster beef was phenomenal. I’d give them a great Yelp review, but that would probably cause a tear in the space-time continuum and lead to a rapid downfall in quality, so I’mma just let it be for now.
Speaking of Chinese food, I had planned on making it Saturday night. For most of my life, I’ve associated Chinese food with New Years. Case in point. No idea why. I make killer fried rice and a pretty mean spring roll. How good? If Mark My Words were a Chinese restaurant, we’d have a 3.5-star Yelp review, baby!
I once came up with this whole concept for a Chinese restaurant that included baby corn on the cob, sweet ‘n sour soap dispensers in the restrooms, and fortune cookies that stroke the ego.
I’m nothing if not a dreamer.
But the more I thought about it, the less inclined (i.e., lazier) I felt about doing it myself. I don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve toiling over a wok, and Tara doesn’t want to spend January 1-4 inhaling the lingering odor of fried food in a small apartment. Hence the Chinese food last night. Tomorrow, we decided to change up our plans and do a little bar-hopping instead. Here in Fort, within walking distance. And we’re thinking late afternoon/early evening instead of hanging out until midnight with everyone else. We can get our buzz on and then finish up the night with cards/records at home.
Best of both worlds!
By the way, Bloganuary is coming back. You might recall I was totally on board…for a whopping three days. And then I decided it was too much work. A few days after that, I realized I missed doing the prompts and regretted quitting.
I’m nothing if not a wishy-washy dreamer.
Don’t worry, I probably won’t be blogging every day in January. But I refuse to put that in writing. Err…
What do you think of Freddie Wong’s 3.5-star Yelp review theory? What’s your go-to Chinese dish? Got any exciting New Year’s Eve plans? Are you participating in Bloganuary?