12 Comments

I grew up in coastal New Hampshire and thought all Chinese food was the same. As an adult, I lived everywhere from NC, FL, CA, WA, and even Europe. I was shocked to find out that rest of the US (and the world) didn't know how to make chicken fingers, fried rice, egg rolls, etc., like we had in New England (don't even get me started on seafood!). Nice to know my wife and I are not the only people out there longing for wicked pissah chinese food.

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It’s possible to enjoy chicken fingas and duck sauce and also enjoy “real” Chinese food too. Even though I like real Chinese, I will always want chicken fingas, beef teriyaki on a stick, spare ribs (basically a pu pu platter) and I don’t care what ANYONE thinks. Love the article.

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I stumbled across this article because I grew up my entire life in Massachusetts and I grew up eating chicken fingers & I cannot find my beloved chicken fingers! now I live in Virginia and I can't get decent Chinese food for the life of me, I have tried over 12 different restaurants and they all are terrible... I'm just disappointed over and over again. Massachusetts has the best Chinese food anywhere.

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I still dream about Chinese Chicken Fingers, as Colorado Springs, CO has bo edible New England staples, no barroom pizza, no cheeseburger subs, nada. Btw, you ever try cold Chinese chicken fingers??? Life changing. Still crispy crunchy edges on each end, but the mushiness deliciousness is elevated with a new texture and flavor, you're welcome!!!

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I’ve searched high and low for a true Chinese chicken finger recipe to no avail. The batter is really not the tricky thing as it is a basic tempura , flour/cornstarch or even a wet pancake batter. . I do vaguely remember learning the meat was marinated with maybe ginger and soy sauce. If anyone could provide the recipe the whole internet would be thankful. Fond memories of China lion in lunn and kowloons

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Thoroughly enjoyed this post, Ranjan. I still have to ward Matt away from Panda Express...

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I enjoyed this post a lot.

Perhaps the closest Chinese dish is Yansuji 盐酥鸡, which is basically fried chicken pieces that you dip into a salt/pepper mix. The batter is pretty different, though.

Also, I think David Chang's background is Korean. His mention feels a bit out of place in a post about Chinese immigrants.

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When I moved into my current apartment I started trying all the Chinese/Mexican/Indian/Italian restaurants in the area trying to find the places worth ordering from. At one of the Chinese food places they have a dish very like your chicken fingers, only with shrimp. I'm in Arizona.

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I subscribe to a number of weekly Emails (ostensibly for work - I'm in Ad Tech). But yours is one that I actually look forward to every week. This week's Chinese Chicken Fingers might be my favorite to date. Bravo.

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The battered chicken strips were a staple of Chinese buffets around VT also in the early 2000s, but I'm pretty sure I had them as far south as MS when I was there ~15 years ago. A quick search shows they're definitely there now, masquerading as "sweet and sour chicken" - https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/panda-palace-buffet-d-iberville?select=gScd-e0HhN5aUBv25K-UTg

So it might be a matter of name differences that have prevented you from enjoying them elsewhere, although it's certainly doubtful they're known by any name in China itself.

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There is an equivalent in the UK. Most ‘traditional’ Chinese (i.e. Anglo-Cantonese) restaurants do sweet and sour chicken balls. These are shorter than your chicken fingers, but they are served with the orange/red sauce on the side (the in-sauce sweet and sour you describe would be identified on the same menu as ‘Hong Kong style’). The crisp shell, and slight doughy interior with the gap that you describe is all there.

For much of my adult life I’ve convinced myself that I’m far too sophisticated for such things, but your post has given me courage to admit who I am: someone who likes entirely made up ‘Chinese’ food once in a while.

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Having grown up in western Massachusetts, I had a similar experience with Chinese Chicken Fingers, which we also used to call Golden Fingers and "007's". Thanks for the tip down memory lane. I miss their golden, crispy deliciousness very much.

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