Everything about a Chinese takeaway is exciting.
From the bulging bag of prawn crackers that you never order, but always get, to the promise of the bizarre phrase hidden within the fortune cookie, and the added (mild) peril of wondering where your delivery driver has gone when you provide an address on a new housing estate.
Of course there are also hopefully some hot, delicious, crispy, tangy and sticky treats to enjoy too.
So on a Friday night when it was too hot to be bothered cooking, and some football to endure on the TV, we decided to summon take away from our trusty almost local Chinese, China Star on Preston Road, Leyland.
My girlfriend likes to work her way through the entire menu, sampling all the dishes over numerous visits, however, I know what I like and so go for a trusty option that has been tried and tested over many decades – a chicken curry.
There was a bit of a wait for delivery – about 40 minutes, so by the time the food had arrived we were both pretty hungry and wondered if we’d defeat the mountain of food hidden within the innocent-looking white carrier bag.
We started with a quarter crispy duck, served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and a generous portion of hoisin sauce. A comforting classic that didn’t disappoint. My dining partner got to work with her forks on the duck portion and provided some tasty shredded duck to stuff the pancakes with and drizzle with the sweet and salty hoisin sauce. For £7.80 it seemed a decadent takeaway starter option, but between two it went down a treat with plenty of crispy cucumber to add a delicious crunch.
Next to the main courses, and some very generous portions. My girlfriend chose crispy shredded chicken in Szechuan sauce for £6.00 and fried rice for an extra 60p. The chicken served in a crunchy batter and covered in the hot and spicy, sweet pepper sauce, with crispy shredded carrots and onions to add even more texture. She stole half my chips to serve the dish in the “Welsh Style” as she put it with her fried rice making up the other half.
My chicken curry is described only as “hot” in the menu, which is unusal for a Chinese takeaway, but this meal is slightly hotter than many of the other curries I’ve sampled over the years. In its traditional yellow sauce, there were plenty of mushrooms and onions, and is a generous choice which could easily feed two for just £5.90.
The mound of food on our plates had started to look like a Man V Food challenge, with little hope of finishing it, despite being delicious and remaining hot in temperature for some time after being delivered.
So, just one thing left to do, and my girlfriend seemed amused by the words hidden inside her fortune cookie, while mine just told me I’d soon be on top of the world. Hers proclaimed “No need to worry! You will always have everything that you need”, as she surveyed the remains of the devoured takeaway and left overs from China Star, with a full stomach.