Sometimes you know exactly where a food meme comes from. No one associated cops and dougnuts until Raising Arizona’s memorable line “You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin’ Donuts, call a cop,” and then suddenly everyone did. Likewise, A Christmas Story imprinted the idea of Chinese food as an emergency Christmas dinner, and Michael Nagrant in the Sun-Times today, besides pointing out what the actual restaurant in Hammond that inspired the meal in Jean Shepherd’s take was, calls out some of his favorites for a warm family gathering over hot and sour soup and eggroll. After all, “Why suffer through a dried-out goose when there was a crispy lacquered duck cooked by someone else right around the corner?” His Chinatown choices include stir-fried black pepper garlic beef tenderloin (“the brainchild of Gene & Georgetti and Martin Yan”) at Double Li, a fiery Szechuan hotpot at Mandarin Kitchen, and Kung Pao chicken at Spring World. As the traditional carol sung in A Christmas Story goes, “Fa ra ra ra ra.”
Decking the halls with duck at the old Sun Wah.