When I'm bummed, sometimes all I think about is Chinese food. There's this place — Ting Wong, at 10th and Arch streets — I've been going to a lot. It's one of the many underappreciated gems of our underappreciated Chinatown, and bare-bones as they come: They serve their hot tea in water glasses. But the food is absurdly cheap and surprisingly, miraculously, delicious. Black mushrooms in light gravy with Napa cabbage, roast pork noodle soup, steamed squid with bok choy in a light gravy, roast duck in chili oil: all delicious, delicious, delicious — with a simple, wholesome, home-cooked goodness that replenishes the very soul; that, in a nutshell, chases the blues away.
It's a good week for some Ting Wong — a bad week, that is, for Philadelphia. On Friday, 50 elementary school kids at Julia Ward Howe Elementary School were attacked at recess, apparently without provocation, by seven or eight teenagers wielding aluminum baseball bats — attacking some in their heads and faces. Three teenagers have been arrested so far. The next day, two men opened fire at each other near Diamond and Randolph streets in North Philadelphia, critically injuring a 6-month-old baby caught in their crossfire. Two hours later, a 28-year-old man was shot in the chest in North Philly, and pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. — approximately 45 minutes, that is, before another shooting in Southwest Philly that killed a 29-year-old man and a injured a young woman. A half-hour after that, a 13-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl were shot in east North Philly. Both lived, thankfully.
That was Saturday. On Sunday, a Philadelphia police officer drew a gun in the middle of a children's water fight and — allegedly, I guess — shot dead the brother of his estranged wife, in plain view of at least one child, the dead man's nephew. Our new district attorney, Seth Williams, pressed charges immediately — a proud moment for the city amid a lot of shameful ones.
On Monday, a Philadelphia police officer Tasered a Phillies fan — a teenager, mind you — who ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park. Which reminds me, the Philadelphia Police Department has recently acquired 1,000 new Tasers, primarily for use with the mentally ill. I can't wait to see that program roll out, can you? Which brings me to dinner tonight: I'm thinking Ting Wong — Buddha's Delight, maybe — something not too heavy.