Everybody has their Chinese food place, the one they swear is better than any other and will drive you crazy trying to convince you it’s better than yours. But let’s be honest, they’re only going on and on about how great their Chinese place is because they’ve never gone to Ling Ling.
At first glance Ling Ling looks like any other strip mall Chinese takeout place. OK, so it is just like any other, but for whatever reason I’ve decided this one is special.
Whatever happened to your sit down Chinese restaurants? There used to be a small one on Elmwood that my family would go to every so often. It was between Holiday House, this shitty little bar that used to have an old English Bobby painted on the side with a giant hand that said, ‘Parking for Customers Only’ and the storefront my dad used to rent for his home improvement business, Preferred Service. My brother and I would always see who could drink the most tea before our food came.
You know what, not important, that place is a parking lot now—there’s another sit down place a couple blocks down that I’ve never been to, how important can it be then? Moving on…
When I had roommates we’d all pile into someone’s car and head over to Ling Ling, spend forty bucks or so and feast for a night. Now that I don’t have roommates, I pile into my car and head over to Ling Ling, spend forty bucks and feast for a few days.
I wouldn’t mean to spend that much, not at first. They had a credit card minimum—I was just trying to make that, I swear. Besides, I like variety, so once you get some dumplings, sweet and sour pork, General Tso’s chicken, maybe a little wonton soup, it adds up. Usually when I spend that much the guy behind the counter assumes I’m buying for a whole family and throws in a free two liter of Coke or some extra soup. The other day I got an orange. Whatever, made a good breakfast. Actually I haven’t eaten it yet, but it looks delicious.
Like I said before, we’d usually pile into someone’s car and drive over there, put our order in and sit around until the food was ready. One day, for who knows what reason, we called ahead. Now that was nice, we had time to stop off for beer before picking up the food, and it was ready and bagged up when we walked in.
Where it got weird was about half an hour later when my phone rings and its Ling Ling.
“Hello—you order food from us, you foget sometin, you come back!”
“We forgot something?”
“Yeah, you foget, you come back—we have.”
I asked them to hold on and we checked our bags, checked the menu with everything circled on it, but no one could think of anything that was missing. Our entire order was there, so sadly I got on the phone to inform them we had everything we’d ordered.
“No, no you foget, you come back.”
“No, we didn’t forget anything.”
“Yeah, you foget.”
“No, no forget.”
“Yeah, yeah, you foget, you come back!”
“OK, I’m going to go now, thank you.”
“OK—yeah, you come back! Goodbye!”
I did not come back. I housed an eggroll, an order of steamed dumplings, a couple of my buddy’s crab rangoon and a pint of chicken lo mein, topped off with some sweet and sour pork, then stuck my hand in my pants Thanksgiving-style and submitted to Chinese food coma. It was glorious.
So you want food super good, you come back? You give Ling Ling a ring ring.