When I was in college there was a Chinese restaurant that delivered to campus called Hunan Peking. It wasn’t uncommon for my friends and me to order from there a couple of times a week. The first time I ordered crab rangoon at a friend’s urging I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Creamy melted cream cheese with salty crab; de-lish, even if it was imitation crab meat instead of the real thing… somehow, I think that made them even better.
When I graduated and moved to NYC it never occurred to me I would have trouble finding them. But I just couldn’t get any that were the same. Every time I’d find them on a menu some where (even now) I’d order them with the blind hope of the desperate that they’d be the same. They never were. The outer crust was too thick, the filling was to chunky, weird extraneous ingredients were in them, and worst of all, some of them had a sweet after taste as though they’d put sugar in it! Blech. But despite all this disappointment it was reassuring to me to know that Hunan Peking was still there serving the perfect crab rangoon even though I was many miles away.
Recently, on a trip visiting with two of my college roommates I got the sad news. Hunan Peking has closed. The perfect crab rangoon can live only in my memory now. My one roommate charged me with the responsibility to recreate them. Impossible. But, I think I came darn close. At least closer than anything I’ve ever had in any other restaurant.