Celebrating the no-frills satisfaction of Chinese takeout

Is it an authentic Chinese cuisine experience? Maybe not. Are the gloppy sauces loaded with MSG? Probably so. But there’s no denying the appeal of one of the most American of family dinners: Chinese takeout.

Those origami-like containers are instantly recognizable. The contents are easy to share across several plates. Add in the challenge of using chopsticks properly and going around the table afterward to read everyone’s fortune, and you’ve got a family activity plus a comforting meal all in one.

Sure, Asian cuisine has become a more serious and authentic culinary experience locally in recent years. Just look to places like Nine Dragon Noodle House, Omi, Hunan and Soji to find true sit-down Chinese meals, whether traditional or forward-thinking. But sometimes, we just need a hole-in-the-wall Chinese takeout shop.

Baton Rouge has dozens, with names ranging from China Wok to China House to China Kitchen to China Express. We know which one is our go-to, even if the names—and sometimes the menus—aren’t all that different.

We step up to the counter already sure of what we want. It’s the saucy General Tso’s Chicken or Szechuan Pork. It’s the spicy Salt and Pepper Shrimp. It’s the lo mein—so much lo mein. Definitely give us some fried rice. And maybe those crispy egg rolls? Sure. Give us two. But don’t forget the dumplings. We’ll take them fried. Always fried.

Cram those containers into a paper bag, toss in a handful of fortune cookies, make it rain soy sauce and duck sauce packets on top, and send us on our way. Oh, and yes, we will take some chopsticks.

We know how to do this.

We got takeout for this photo from China Wok in the Drusilla Shopping Center (chinawokbatonrouge.com). As of press time, it was listed as “coming soon” to Waitr. Here are a few other Chinese restaurants and takeout spots you can find around town to order on an app or the old-fashioned way.

Panda House

Hunan Chinese Restaurant

China Express

New China

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.

Click here to see more stories from our Order In cover story on the Baton Rouge takeout and delivery scene.