Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Two-Buck Chow Downtown
“I’ll give it to you for $4,” says Sim.
Boy, talk about in the nick of…
It’s 9 o’clock on the dot. Suddenly realized I had nothing to fill the belly for Carla and me.
Did something I’ve never done before.
Went into the corner Chinese at Fifth and Broadway, the one with the funny sign, "Great Wall Express/Louisiana Fried Chicken."
It’s the place you walk past a zillion times, noticing it's, like, always at least half full of single people with heads down, shoveling it in, thinking their thoughts, going for volume, not style.
Then I see the opening hours: Whack! Closes at nine.
So I haul in through the corner door and up to the counter where Sim is closing the top on a big plate of food.
“Closed?” I ask.
“Closed,” Sim says. “But I have this for $4. Special.”
He points to a Coca Cola whiteboard. “2 Items combo w/rice or lo-mein and medium drink, $5.49 plus tax.”
The top special is “4 pces chicken, $5.49.” Guess that’s the Louisiana side of the biz.
“This has orange chicken and mushroom and broccoli beef with lo mein,” he says.
I see a bit of cabbage in there, too.
“Deal,” I say.
Turns out Sim’s from Cambodia, Phnom Penh, the capital. So's his girlfriend, who’s waiting for him to close up. Nice people.
“This is great, great!” coos Carla, an hour later. We’re leaning over the box like hungry wolves. “Those noodles, rare to have them so tasty. And with the beef and the mushrooms? Great taste combo. And the orange chicken, you know me on that, but it zips up the whole meal. You did good.”
Wow. Usually she hates orange chicken. But her sentiments are my sentiments exactly.
And, hey, they talk about two-buck chuck? Divide the price of this meal between Carla and me and you’ve got...two-buck chow.
Neon sign on Broadway
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