How 'Bout Them Knockers: Hong Kong Express

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Each week in 'Knockers' we order from a different delivery restaurant, assessing their efficiency and keeping a running score.

Hong Kong Express
4760 Preston, Frisco

Promised delivery time: 45 minutes
Actual delivery time: 30 minutes

Scoring summary:
Finding a place that delivers when you have no phone book and the Internet is useless: 19
Classic 'column A, column B' menu adapted in new form: 5
Having to explain your location: -6
Driver lopping 15 minutes (or more) off promised time despite not knowing where he was going: 34
Feeling that driver cares--really cares--about my meal: 12
"Freshest Chinese in town" slogan actually applying to vegetables: 20
Subtle Kung Pao: -2

Total Score: 82

2010 Standings (So Far)
Hong Kong Express 82
Sal's Pizza 74
Thai 2 Go 72
Chili's 68

See complete 2008-2010 standings here 

Say you're sitting there with a friend watching football when you suddenly remember an impending blog post involving home delivery and neither of you knows the area very well.

Happens all the time, right? So you glance online, typing "food delivery" and the location into the search box. It yields such suggestions as Chik-Fil-A, Dickey's and Fireside Pies--none of which really deliver. Then you search by individual cuisine, with "Chinese food delivery" turning up restaurants like Tin Star. Finally you just use "delivery," but with similar results.

Damn useless Internet--and that's Google; Bing was even worse.

Then by scanning the Google map of the area you find Hong Kong Express, the self-proclaimed "best & freshest Chinese food in town." Hell, if they're bold enough to make that claim in Frisco...

Now. back in the 50s and 60s, Chinese restaurants were known for packaging meals into "one from column A, two from column B," at least according to Buddy Hackett. Here you pick first from a list of meats, then a list of sauces--kind of like a revival of the old days. Since it's best never to order pork or shrimp from a place with "Express" in its name, we settled on beef with a Kung Pao sauce. Then you kinda explain as accurately as possible just where you're located (expecting them to know it's a keypad entry community). And then you wait.

Exactly 30 minutes later the phone rings. The driver has been pacing outside hoping for someone to enter or leave the complex. But he's worried the food might cool and "nobody wants cold food."

Geez, he cares.

So you run down and pick up what may indeed be the best & freshest Chinese food--in Frisco, I mean. The carrots and celery are still crisp. The beef is gray, but edible and the sauce sneaky, in that it starts off bland...before a raw chile seed heat creeps into the mix.

This fiery aspect lingers, clinging to the tongue and resisting countless shots of vodka (bad habit). It's initially subtle but in the end restless kind of spice. And a welcome one, for it is the only real point of interest.Yet a little natural heat and a load of fresh vegetables is enough to beat out most Chinese delivery--not only in Frisco, but also Plano, Carrollton, Dallas...

I need to find a friend in Richardson, I guess.

The best part of the evening, other than the world avoiding a Super Bowl matchup nobody wanted to see, is this fortune: "assert yourself, your ideas are worthwhile at this time."

Great, 'cause I've been wanted to sell a publisher on my book Lincoln: The Man And The Car.

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