Welcome to the Chinese Quest
What do Jews like? A bargain AND Chinese food!
It started innocently enough. Now it’s become something bigger than even their appetites. Or, has it?
So, follow along and let’s see where their journey takes them in their search. They welcome your suggestions and feedback. And if you’re lucky enough, perhaps they’ll ask you to join them on one of their crusades!
So pack your chop sticks, we’re about to hit the road!
Before we get started, please allow us to introduce you, in alphabetical order, to us, the Mee’s:
Gonzi Biao is a born and bred Long Islander. He’s an avid cook and foodie, and has taken professional cooking classes which helped fuel his passion for Chinese food. He loves trying new dishes and then re-creates them at home. Especially healthy and low-calorie options. He’s got a family of four plus a dog and cat.
In his own words: “Actually, my name is Gongzi Biao, but my brothers shortened it to Gonzi as a nickname. The name has grown on me. “Gongzi Biao” means “Payroll” in Chinese. As an adult, I realized my love for cooking and I took professional cooking classes to hone my skills. I have been the primary cook in my family for the last 25 years and I love it. I take great pride in analyzing the various dishes that are put in front of us and do my best to understand how the cooks in the kitchen assembled the dish. Sometimes it’s like art.
“When I walk in to a a Chinese restaurant, the first thing I notice is the aroma. There is something about the smells of onion, peppers, garlic, five spice power, and sesame oil as well as all of those other magic ingredients that form the brilliant masterpieces the chef creates. If I walk in and only smell Windex and grease, I know I’m in trouble.
Mee Magnum grew up in New York City, and moved out to Long Island in 2002. He has many early memories of dining out in Chinese restaurants, and the Quest became a natural extension of his search for great Chinese food. Or, it was just a religious experience.
In his own words: “Aside from Junior’s in Brooklyn, the only other type of restaurant I can ever remember eating at with my family was a Chinese restaurant. And it was always special. Of course, we didn’t call it going for Chinese food back then, but times have changed. And so have I.
“Of course, we always went to Chinese restaurants on Jewish holidays. Funny thing though, we never went on Christmas. I don’t know what we did on Christmas. But, for some reason it wasn’t Chinese.
“When it was an extra special event and we went with “extended” family, we usually ate at a Chinese restaurant in Times Square. If memory serves me correctly, it was called “Republic… [Something]”. I can’t remember. It was on Broadway between either 42nd and 43rd streets, or between 43rd and 44th streets on the west side of the street, and it was upstairs on the second floor. If anyone knows of the restaurant I am referring to, please let me know. I always ordered the same thing. Spare ribs. That’s all I would eat! Like I said, times HAVE changed!”
Mee Tsu Yan is a native Long Islander, and a devout lover of Chinese food. When he is not eating Chinese food, MTY can be found with his lovely wife of 28 years (who loves to play Mah Jongg; not sure if that is relevant) , and two daughters (one loves Chinese food, and one hates it-Oh well)
In his own words, “I’ve been eating Chinese food my whole life. Going to a Chinese restaurant is probably my earliest memory of eating out as a family. I grew up in a Kosher home, but we would bring in Chinese food, and eat it on paper plates. I guess my mother had her own ideas about being Kosher!
“Some of my fondest memories actually took place in a Chinese restaurant. As in many homes, picking up Chinese food on Sunday nights was a ritual. I would accompany my father for this very important task. My father and I would pony up to the bar while we waited for the food to be ready. In my family, you never called in the order, so there was time for a drink, (or two or three), at the bar. As a young kid I would sit with my dad while he drank. We would catch up on things that happened throughout the school week. The conversations never got too serious, just small talk between father and son.”
Mee V. Stoogas is a native Long Islander. He lives in Suffolk County. He has a beautiful daughter and grandchild. He’s not a man of many words, but he knows what he likes! His earliest memories of Chinese food is that his family went out for Chinese food almost every Sunday evening. He used to love the pupu platter. His mother used to always order chicken chow mein every time. Today, his go to dish is chicken chow mein.
In his own words: “When Mee Tsu Yan moved from where he was living in Nassau County to Suffolk County. And since I lived in Suffolk County, he asked me where a good Chinese restaurant was. I told him I was not so sure and we should start a quest to find a real good Chinese restaurant. So the Quest started. Then we added our fellow Mee’s.”
Mee Yong Joo grew up deprived from Chinese food. Once, in the United Kingdom, he discovered it and never looked back. Since The Quest he acquired a new appreciation or new appreciation for “authentic” Chinese food.
In his own words: “Once a month, and sometimes more often, I look forward to meeting my brothers for a Chinese Food experience. When we have the date penciled in, no matter where we end up going, we know that it will be a fun evening. You see, The Chinese Quest is more than a gastronomic experience. It is a bonding, laughing, telling jokes, picking on each other and just having fun. Good food always boosts the overall experience, but we just want to have some good fun.
“My love of Chinese food goes back to my time when I lived in the United Kingdom. I was first introduced to Chinese food there. Later in life I had a Chinese client who lived in London and I used to visit him and he took me out for “authentic” Chinese food.
“They call me the wandering Joo. I have been known to have gotten lost getting to restaurants even with the use of my GPS. It seems all these ‘ancient’ Chinese restaurants do not show up correctly on Google maps. They are off by at least one to two miles and when I ask around, no one knows what the heck I am talking about. It must be my Chinese accent.”
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strongly recommend you try Precious in E. Northport, I’ve been going for a dozen years, excellent food, made Newsday’s top 10 when they started. Very generous, lots of freebies when you order take out, nice spin on many dishes.
I happen to like Precious a lot too, and have eaten there on numerous occasions. The reason we don’t include it is because they food (Japanese) other than Chinese food on their menu.
We made a pledge when we started the Quest to go to only restaurants that offer Chinese food and preferably authentic cuisines too.
All that being said, I would still eat at Precious any time I am in that area.
Fantastic! We have a group of chefs here in Connecticut that are in perpetual search for great Chinese food. My latest quest is to find an unabashedly American/Chinese Egg Roll that equals the wonderful in-house made ones served at our local fine Cantonese restaurant on 3rd Avenue and 21st Street (right around the corner from the Police Academy) called Yen King.
We call ourselves the “Never Missed a Meal” club and when you see a picture of all of us together, you’ll understand why. Great site!!! I will spend many hours enjoying this. Thank you for your work!
How is your Quest going?
Have you found that egg roll?
Please keep us appraised of your progress. Every summer I make a few pilgrimages to Connecticut, and I’d love to know where to find great Chinese food when I’m there.