Friday, September 18, 2009

Hunan Legend: The Not-Secret Menu

One of my favorite parts of HowChow ends today because Hunan Legend no longer has a secret menu that they give to people who read Chinese.

In February, I posted a bootleg copy of Hunan Legend's Chinese menu. A reader Wai had translated it herself and annotated each item by hand so that anyone could try the dishes. I offered to email the file to anyone, and people steadily sent it requests.

By June, Warthog has posted on Chowhound about how much fun he was having with the "secret" menu. He shared my experiences that Chinese restaurants often don't want to serve the authentic Chinese dishes. They think Americans prefer Americanized food -- even if it is gloppy or sweet. But Warthog carried the translated menu. He recommended being very obvious about consulting it and then assuring the waiter or owner that you had heard good things about their "real" Chinese food. It worked for Warthog and for several other people who commented. They got to know Hunan Legend's owners. They tried the secret Chinese items. They tried some Malaysian ones. People say good things, and it is a little closer than Grace Garden in Odenton.

And now, Hunan Legend is handing out its "secret" menu to anyone who asks. They have a typed version. Kristi mentioned it to me in late August, and KC emailed me a copy last week, and I'm posting the jpg version above. (Click on it to expand in my browsers.) I can email you the full PDF if you want, but you can just get a copy yourself at Hunan Legend.

Thanks to everyone -- especially to Wai who started this all.

If you're looking for more Chinese, check out my post about Chinese restaurants in Howard County.


Anonymous said...

Many area authentic Chinese restaurants have a secret menu. Sometimes, you just have to ask them if they will prepare something that you like that you have tried elsewhere.
And another tip: Some of the most authentic Thai restaurants in our area also have secret menus. And the dishes are great! Watch what people order next time you visit an area Thai restaurant with AUTHENTIC cuisine. You'll see.

HowChow said...

Anonymous -- Tell! Tell! Tell! Who else has an actual secret menu that I could request? I love the local Thai places. I want to get copies and spread the word.