The Hungover Gourmet


Restaurant reviewsDebbie Wong's (Riverdale Street, Springfield, MA)

To me, the worst part about traveling alone on business is eating. I'm a sucker for tossing halfway decent eating habits out the window and succumbing to the lure of a cheap, quick meal at a local fast food joint. And, without a Taco Bell in sight, my $15 meal allowance had "Value Meal" written all over it. So, I considered it a stroke of luck that my comfy accommodations were right next door to Town & Country Liquors and Debbie Wong's Chinese Food.

Certainly no complaints about the selection, service or price at Town & Country. Some unknown Double Bocks and nice-sized bottles of old favs like Sam Adams Honey Porter caught my eye; plus, aisle upon aisle of imports and regional brews left me wanting to extend my stay in this scenic turnpike exit.

Ordering at Debbie Wong's was less of a thrill-a-minute experience, as the young maitre 'd hovered in my personal space, forcing a quick glance and a fast, impetuous, order frenzy. Bypassing traditional, safer favorites like combination platters I went straight for the doughy goodness of some steamed dumplings and the reasonably tasty (or so I assumed) General Tso's Chicken. Generally speaking, GTC is a mildly spicy blend of slightly fried chicken, hot peppers, veggies, and spicy sauce. At least that's how every other Chinese restaurant I've frequented has served it...

Apparently, Debbie Wong does things a lil' differently and I was greeted by the harsh sight of batter-dipped, deep fried hunks of chicken as big as my fist, limp broccoli, and a gooey sauce that smacked of those big 10 gallon tubs I saw through the back kitchen door. Needless to say, the "chicken" was impossible to spear or control with my chopsticks, and I regrettably tossed $14.81 worth of food (minus the Steamed Dumplings) into the garbage can near the elevators. Luckily, my liquid diet sustained me into the long night of free HBO watching.

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