I'm guessing not that many Chinese places have pork kidneys with spicy vegetables like Sweet Ginger down in Midvale. Good stuff. And I was surprised to see black vinegar as a table condiment. And yes, this is off topic.
Slipping off topic a litlte bit, Jennifer 8 Lee talks about how Chinese restaurants in the US have such similarity of cuisine because there's a sort of underground employment network that shuttles these line cooks through these family restaurants to where they're needed. That's in her book Fortune Cookie Chronicles, but you can get a glimpse of some of it in the link.
Oh I disagree. I most certainly think flavor packets and pre-packaged sauces are bad. Mostly because there existence is driven by economics, not gastronomy. This is precisely why it lacks nuance and subtlety that defines regional cuisine. Any cuisine for that matter. It loses it depth of flavor and homogenizes public tastes to what is found on a shelf, just like the Chinese food joints that all taste the same. Embrace variety and complexity, not easy and similar.
These immigrants are losing their family traditions and heritage into a unified commercial flavor that isn't necessarily bad, but now lacks all the nuance and regionality and tracition of what was done differently from family to family.
There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who can't.
If this was the professional Chef's thread, I would say that one of the most important skills is also how to measure ingredients, how to configure recipe amounts, and how to count.
Yes...I said it....how to count. You have no idea the frustration that this creates when one of the crew can not or will not count.