A few months ago during work, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my next meal would consist of crab rangoon & some other noodle-y dish. When I walked across the street to a Thai restaurant that I knew served crab rangoon, I was so excited to dip these deep fried stuffed wonton apps in some delicious sweet & sour sauce. As I walked out of the restaurant, I opened the take-out bag to pop one of these pyramidal pockets of goodness in my mouth, but to my great disappointment, they were more melted cream cheese than imitation crab. I continued to crave these for weeks until I decided I would just make them myself after my second disappointment, which was from my new go-to Thai delivery joint. What is with Boston’s inability to make some half-way decent crab rangoon?! Well, I take that back, there is one restaurant that is mediocre Asian food at its finest *cough* Teriyaki House *cough* & they make a pretty solid serving of crab rangoon.
Crab Rangoon, is not by any means a traditional Chinese dish. If you’ve eaten some authentic Asian food in your life, you’ll quickly realize that cheese is not used in any traditional dish. While some Japanese dishes incorporate cheese in some deep fried dishes, these are fairly new innovations. So, even in a country like Vietnam, which was ruled by the French for 67 years & greatly influenced by them, cheese was never incorporated into our traditional dishes. Even our banh mi (sandwiches) never had cheese in them, rather, we stuck in some Vietnamese ham, pickled root vegetables, & spread some mayo & pâté & called it a day. Regardless, the combination of imitation crabmeat & cream cheese deep fried in a pocket made of wonton ranks #1 as my favorite Americanized Chinese dish. But as my post title insists, my crab rangoon recipe is healthier than ones you’ll order at your favorite Chinese take-out restaurant. Remember, just because they’re healthier doesn’t mean they’re a health food. Eating 10 crab rangoon a day will not replace your daily intake of vitamin C, so treat these as the treat they are.
Baked Crab Rangoon
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pro-Americanized ethnic cuisine type of person, but I’m not 100% anti-Americanized food either. I thoroughly enjoyed orange chicken growing up & some days I just really crave a California roll, but it’s important to understand that these foods are not traditional authentic dishes – these dishes represent the evolution & adaptation of ethnic cuisine to American tastes. Lastly, if you’re wondering how crab rangoon taste when baked rather than deep fried, I’ll tell you: less heart-attacky, yet still crispy.
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What’s your favorite Americanized something?