When asked to name her favorite food, 12-year-old Abby Hubbard of DuPont will gladly proclaim to everyone sweet and sour chicken has been her favorite forever.
While most people have a few favorite dishes, Hubbard has taken her love of sweet and sour chicken to a whole new level.
Hubbard and best friend, Alyssa Bright, have been searching for a 5-star plate of sweet and sour chicken since 2010. Their quest began when Bright's father suggested that they try to find the best sweet and sour chicken in the world, and they have been taste testing ever since. Bright's father comes along and provides the research of the location, always proposing the place they should try next.
Hubbard's criteria for a 5-star plate includes making sure the batter is crispy but not breaking apart, making sure it has enough chicken to taste without overwhelming the taste buds, and it features sauce that includes pineapple with orange-red coloring. Yellow and red sauces tend to be either too weak or strong in flavor, Hubbard said.
"The chicken should be served with the right amount of sauce - too little sauce affects the rating as will chicken that is swimming in it," Hubbard said. "Chicken and sauce must complement each other."
While added vegetables are okay with Hubbard, the entire point of her ordering sweet and sour chicken is, in fact, for the sweet and sour chicken.
While other details about a restaurant do not affect their star rating, the two do note if the establishment offers their patrons clean restrooms and an overall pleasant dining experience. They have visited more than a dozen restaurants and keep extensive notes.
No plate of sweet and sour chicken has yet obtained a 5-star rating from Hubbard and Bright. Two restaurants in the area have come close. North China Garden, located at 2303 6th Ave., Tacoma, and Yen Ching Restaurant, 8765 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood, both earned 4.5 ratings.
The two are adamant their quest won't be complete until they find a 5-star plate. The search continues...
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