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Deep Fried Pigeon from Lee Wing Wah Restaurant

Item Purchased: Deep Fried Pigeon
Location Purchased: Lee Wing Wah Restaurant / 2147 S. China Pl. / Chicago, IL
Price: $11.95 + tax

Review: Ask any Chicagoan what the most annoying animal is and, nine times out of ten, they will tell you that is is the pigeon (it’s actually the cockroach, but nobody wants to admit that they have frequent contact with roaches). Now ask the same 90% from the original question if they would ever eat a pigeon and, nine times out of ten, they will tell you “hell no, that’s friggin’ disgusting (”friggin’” represents a true Chicagoan).

Well, I wouldn’t answer in the majority for the first question (I’d probably tell you that the most annoying animal is people who dress their small dogs in cute sweaters) and now, I cannot truthfully answer in the majority for the second question.

That’s right… I ate a pigeon… And I’d do it again!

Lee Wing Wah serves up their pigeon deep fried. You get everything but the feet (including the cute little head). The meat of the pigeon is dark and a bit tougher than chicken meat or other meal birds. With very little fat and less meat in relation to the bird’s body mass than a chicken, a fried pigeon at Lee Wing Wah makes for a slightly expensive meal. I am banking on the belief that a part of this price represents the fact that this pigeon isn’t a native of Chicago (at least I’m hoping that is a fact). Though the deep frying infuses a bit of flavor of its own into the pigeon, the inner most meat of the bird has a natural lean meat flavor that is ever so slightly salty, but not overbearing. This is one food that definitely doesn’t taste like chicken, or many other animals, for that matter. The closest I can come to describing the pigeon experience with comparison is to suggest you imagine a Cornish game hen that was crossed with the leanest pork chop.

But why, you ask, would I ever choose to eat a pigeon? Well… why do people eat crunchy fish eggs that pop inside of your mouth and taste like urine soaked Styrofoam? Who came up with the general consciousness campaign that made people think that was a tasty food? I ate it because it was different and to try new foods from other cultures is one way to experience life outside of your normal patterns without waiting for a vacation. Some people travel halfway across the world and decide to eat at a McDonalds. I guess I’m just the opposite kind of person. I traveled halfway across the world by walking a mile down the street and eating something that isn’t normally served in my daily routine.

Unless, of course, that pigeon was simply scooped off of the streets of Chicago. If that is the case, then I suppose I got my just desserts and technically ate the cigarette butts and McDonald’s French fries that have seen pigeons on State St. eating so many times before.

Either way, it was an adventure… A tasty one.

Next time you’re in Chinatown… Order a pigeon. You won’t be sorry. Knowing what we know about factory farming, pigeon is most likely better for us than the majority of mutant chicken we put into our bodies.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

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One Response to “Deep Fried Pigeon from Lee Wing Wah Restaurant”

  1. Consumatron » Pocket Change: 08/07/08 Says:

    [...] once ate a pigeon in Chinatown and loved it. After reading this story from the New York times, I’m none too [...]

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