The "Chinese Cobb Salad" of Northeastern China

Sorting out some of the menu descriptions on Chinese menus isn't always easy -- in fact, at times, in can be down right cryptic.

"Green bean jelly with vegetables" may be one of those menu items that reads more Dr. Seuss than delicious, but this northeastern Chinese version of a western Chinese dish (and a popular street food in Beijing) is satisfyingly simple and a perfect refresher for the onset of a Valley summer.

From Chou's Kitchen, the humble eatery in a Chandler strip mall specializing in northeastern Chinese fare, this popular dish features a foundation of bouncy cellophane noodles topped with an anything-goes multitude of ingredients.

In the case of Chou's Kitchen, a tangle of flat translucent noodles is surrounded on a large platter by colorful piles of carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, ham, egg, and mushrooms. Everything is then tossed with a sharp dressing made of soy sauce, sesame paste, and peanut butter for a deeply satisfying combination of flavor and textures akin to the Chinese version of a Cobb salad.

And at $7.98, the platter-size portion means bringing a friend along to enjoy or scoring some tasty leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

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