Would you like to be let in on a culinary secret? No, it's not how to get a booking at Zingara Cucina (they have a website now - pah! Sell-outs!) or where you can get the best donuts in Melbourne (in Footscray, of course!!) It's how to make Chang's Noodle Salad, and gain access to an elite club of "in-the-know" peeps!
Chang's Noodles are from the supermarket and reside in the same category of "Chinese" food as lemon chicken and sweet & sour pork. I had a school friend whose mum would make "stir fry" by putting cooked vegetables on top of these noodles and liberally dousing in thick, black soy sauce. I wish I could say it was so bad it was good, but it wasn't. It was just bad.
The recipe is found on the back of the packet. Now, before you think I have lost myself in some sort of Prozac-popping, suburban nightmare of cooking things on the back of packets, give it a shot! The salad is divine - fresh, crunchy and zinging with flavour. Basically it's a combo of shredded wong bok (Chinese cabbage), spring onions, toasted almonds and crunchy noodles, with a sweet vinegar, sesame and soy dressing.
If you take it to a BBQ, everyone will fall on it, demanding the recipe. It's up to you what you tell them! (Just don't dress it in advance, or it will go soggy.) When I have gone to a party and seen it on the buffet table, the host and I will lock eyes, tap the side of our noses, nod sagely and intone to one another: "Chang's".
From your local independent or duopolist supermarket, near the jars of Kan Tong