Bian Dang Now Serving General Tso’s Chicken, Re-Launching Truck Next Week
The writers of Midtown Lunch (spurred on by Zach, no doubt) all seem to have a rapt fascination and begrudging respect for General Tso’s chicken – the faux-Chinese dish of deep fried lumps of breaded chicken, slathered in an unidentifiable glaze. Food snobs may dismiss this humble dish, but for the sentimental type, this dish is strongly evocative of simpler times – perhaps your childhood mall food court or the take-out dive that you’d frequent as a broke college student. And when we heard that Bian Dang in the Food Gallery 32 would be carrying this dish, it was a done deal.
But first, a PSA – I was informed by the Bian Dang counter staff that they are brushing off the dust on their street truck (fka NYC Cravings), which could be hitting the streets as soon as next Tuesday! This is obviously exciting news for the upper-Midtown lunchers that are out of range from Food Gallery 32. Additionally, their new ordering system seemed to be working well, though that may be a different story during peak lunch and dinner hours.
I sensibly chose the medium General Tso’s chicken ($8). I say sensibly, because the medium portion of chicken and rice was impressively large. So large, that I had to tap out with at least 1/3 of my rice remaining on my plate. Also, just as a fair warning, since the chicken is cooked to order, you’re looking at a 5-10 minute wait. But for fans of General Tso’s chicken, it’s certainly worth it.
Food plunked down onto the gleaming white tables in the cheerfully lit dining area, I dug in and found the chicken to pleasantly juicy, though not as crispy as other variations of the dish. The sauce was also comparably more delicate (well, as delicate as you can get with this dish), without the fierceness of salt and brawniness of garlic that I’ve come to expect out of General Tso’s chicken. And instead of a licking of heat, this version strayed towards the sweeter end of the flavor spectrum.
Though quite different from what I expected, this was a nice departure from bottom shelf preparations, which in the past have so often left my palate fatigued and my face and fingers swollen from an excess of salt and MSG. In short, it’s a fine version, and for $8 will definitely fill you up without overloading your palate with salt, grease or garlic.
Bian Dang (in Food Gallery 32), 11 W 32nd St (btw B’way+5th)