Thursday, September 28, 2006
Chow Mein Sandwiches
Maybe a week a go or so a co-worker came up to me and said "I know what you should blog about next......chow mein sandwiches!" I probably looked back at him somewhat puzzled and I questioned why. Well, not being from this part of Massachusetts he had never heard of them before but I guess now that he lives in nearby Providence, RI he stumbled across it and read up on it's origins and saw that it's a Fall River staple and felt that I should blog about the humble sandwich.
So, I looked him and said "yeah, I'll have to look into that" and promptly filed it away as 'something' to consider but otherwise put it on the back burner.
Forward to earlier this week and I'm listening to the Keri Rodrigues show on WSAR and she's talking about how she's moved to Fall River and immersing herself in the community but although she had heard of it, she had yet to try a chow mein sandwich. As callers began to call in tell Keri that she just had to have a chow mein sandwich, with vinegar, from here, from there, in wax paper, in a container and so on I'm thinking 'I can't believe I'm hearing another reference to chow mein sandwiches'!
So now that an obvious chow mein conspiracy is taking place I figure I better blog about chow mein sandwiches!
Simply put the chow mein sandwich is chow mein noodles premixed with chow mein gravy and served on a hamburger bun. That's it! That simple.
Except of course it's not. The first thing you have to know is that chow mein noodles in Fall River are much different that noodles anywhere else. They are crispy deep fried thin noodles, think Campbell Chicken noodle soup noodles and you might get a pretty good idea of the size, now picture them not nearly so plump, and deep fried! Got that?
Now again, the noodles start of crispy but start to soften up pretty quick once the gravy is added, so a sandwich served at the restaurant is likely to still be somewhat crisp, while one gotten as take out will not be. (I personally like the noodles soft and gravy soaked!)
The gravy itself is a matter of taste, some prefer to get the gravy strained, meaning that all the vegetables are strained out and just gravy is left. Others prefer it unstrained and I usually prefer chicken or shrimp chow mein.
I've had them with vinegar. I've had them mixed with chop suey. I've had them from all over Fall River, and Somerset, Swansea, and Tiverton, RI! No matter how I've had them or from where they've always been good. And the area's Chinese restaurants are not the only place to get a chow mein sandwich. With all the ingredients available for purchase right at the Oriental Chow Mein Co. right at 42 8th St. here in Fall River! you can make them at home! Actually you can find the ingredients at most local grocery stores or amazingly enough at Amazon.com!
So why are chow mein sandwiches so popular? Well in my opinion it's because their tasty, filling, and inexpensive. With its gravy soaked bun, they have the same appeal as open faced sandwich. It is basic comfort food.
All this talk of chow mein sandwiches had the effect of making me quite hungry and not surprisingly I found myself grabbing a couple for lunch...all I can say is delicious!