Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow.
It's a pretty simple directive — when you go to Yang Chow, you order the slippery shrimp. Everyone does it: Chinatown tourists, L.A. city workers, late-night partiers migrating from downtown, and of course, just ordinary people who like their fried shrimp covered in a sweet-sticky sauce. It also doesn't hurt that the dish was featured on the Food Network.
And yet no one can really find an objective way to describe slippery shrimp; like Heraclitus river, you can never actually order the same version twice. At times the sauce is very spicy, sometimes only mildly so. At times it's saturated with enough garlic to wilt flowers, and other times you could swear someone drizzled a jar of honey over the whole thing. But in the middle of that shifting sweet-spicy-garlic-gooey dialectic are those plump little shrimp, dusted with cornstarch and fried in the classic Panda Express manner — no hint of slipperiness, mind you, unless you suck with chopsticks. It may be inconsistent, but it's never anything less than delicious.
It's good thing too, because although we're not economists by any measure, we'd hazard a guess that a considerable part of Chinatown's economy relies solely on this dish.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.