In Praise of the Peas at Mission Chinese
The other night we were so hungry we barely paid attention when ordering delivery from Mission Chinese Food -- and it turned out that #22, "Stir-Fried Sweet Peas," wasn't sauteed pea shoots as we'd vaguely expected, but actually just a container of regular old peas. Sure, they were sauteed with numbing chili, pickled red onion, and a few pea shoots, but when we nibbled one we were disappointed to find it reminded us of the microwaved frozen peas our mother made us eat as a child. We berated ourselves for not ordering the Mongolian long beans ... until we ate the peas with the other dishes, and realized their harmony with the meal as a whole.
Flickr/haprog Imagine these stir-fried with numbing chiles and pickled red onions.
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Not too spicy and a little boring by themselves, when eaten with the rest of the food, the sweetness of the peas counteracted the slow, mouth-numbing heat the place has become famous for, blending into the background while simultaneously providing our taste buds with a much-needed safe harbor (especially since we'd neglected to order rice). Their simplicity became their greatest virtue. We'll never crave them the way we might crave the long beans, but we'd definitely order them again.