Though it’s a running gag that the only eateries open during the holidays are Chinese restaurants, the reality is not so far from the truth. Naturally, in New Orleans you can indulge in lavish Thanksgiving dinners at some of the finest restaurants in town, but who really has that kind of dough? You’ve spent all month running from shop to shop (either physically or virtually), trying to purchase gifts for friends and family, all the while still keeping in mind that rent still needs to get paid, not to mention car notes, credit cards, cell phone, cable…this list goes on and on.
So if you can’t travel cross-country to see your family for Thanksgiving or you just can’t bring yourself to spend another year attempting to choke down Aunt Margret’s Famous Giblet Stuffing while she regales you with stories about her collection of Raggedy Ann dolls, Chinese food can be an incredibly cost-efficient and sanity-saving option.
Jung’s Golden Dragon at 3009 Magazine Street offers a special lunch menu daily that is gentle on your wallet and plentiful enough to ensure leftovers. Jung’s has been around for over 30 years on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie, but only opened a location Uptown not too long ago. You can enjoy delicious dishes like a spicy Kon Po Chicken, General’s Chicken, Hunan Shrimp, Pepper Steak and more. Plus, each dish comes with a choice of shrimp fried rice or steamed rice and Soup (Egg Drop or Hot & Sour) or Spring Rolls or even Fried Wontons. The best part is that almost 90% of these combination lunches are less than $10! I’m not sure you could even score a turkey sandwich with chips for that little.
Another tasty, yet inexpensive spot is Chinese Kitchen on South Carrollton Avenue. Keep in mind, this little hole-in-the-wall is so popular, that you should consider yourself lucky to find a parking space! Located in a miniscule strip mall, the tiny lot is constantly crammed with cars maneuvered by a homeless guy who acts as a parking attendant in exchange for food provided by the restaurant. The Chinese Kitchen also offers daily lunch specials with items like Chinese Fried Chicken (my personal favorite), Green Pepper Steak, Broccoli Beef or Shrimp Ding and each dish is accompanied by three, huge fried won tons and shrimp fried rice. Not to mention, the most expensive item will set you back a whopping $9.25…you could even squeeze an order of their humongous, fantastically tasty egg rolls for an additional $4.50. As a matter of fact, none of the dishes at Chinese Kitchen run over $12.95 so the sky’s the limit!
Only two blocks away from Chinese Kitchen lies Five Happiness, a longtime go-to for Chinese cuisine in New Orleans. Though you can sit inside and enjoy a comfortable meal, Five Happiness also delivers! Call in for some of their sweet & spicy General’s Chicken or Shrimp in Lobster Sauce that come with sides like steamed or fried rice and big, crispy fried won ton delivered right to your door.
The choice is yours, babbling Aunt Margaret and her giblet extravaganza or Almond Roast Pork with shrimp fried rice?
*Article originally published in the November 2011 issue of Where Y’at Magazine