Wok & Roll’s Airport Crab Rangoons

The bar is low for airport food. That much we can all agree upon: You eat lunch in the terminal, you take your chances.

There’s no reason that this should be the case, however — perfectly fine food is eaten every day by people waiting to hear the boarding call for Flight 504 with service to Kansas City. For example: If you step up to the Wok & Roll restaurant in the Lindbergh Terminal, you can order a perfectly edible, wokked-to-order container of chicken fried rice. Overpriced? Yes. Uninspired? No doubt. But absolutely fit for human consumption. The suspiciously tender chicken and unremarkable fried rice make for a harmonious if workaday duo.

Therefore, the crab rangoons at Wok & Roll are fair game for commentary. $2.25 buys you a pair of the most tragically wretched fried appetizers you’ve ever had the misfortune to put in your mouth. These are fried dumplings that will break your heart — they’re sad like a dachshund puppy abandoned by accident on the international space station, just as the air supply runs out. Starting from the exterior, and working our way in:

The outer wrapper is chewy, not crunchy, stale as though it had been sitting out since dawn. As it probably was.

Filling leaks from the bottom of the squashed-octopus looking dumpling.

The wrapper, even if crispy, would be too thick.

Then the filling. Gummy. Cold. Vaguely fish-smelling. It’s a challenge to be less appetizing than the wrapper, but the filling accomplishes this sorry task with gusto. The filling… oh, the filling. If there is a straight-up polar opposite to what the Salty Tart puts into its heavenly pastry cream-filled brioche buns, here it is: savory instead of sweet, leaden instead of light, dag-nasty instead of deee-licious.

There is no photo of these rangoons because, immediately after biting into the first of two, I was overcome by the humanitarian impulse to immediately throw them into the nearest trash can. Beyond that, natural instinct suggested burning the trash can and then burying it, but both of these reasonable ideas were incompatible with the modern aviation environment.

Ordering the crab rangoons at Wok & Roll’s airport location is not recommended.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of a book about Minnesota sandwiches and the people who eat them, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a daily video blogger for CHOW. His latest book is a guide to the food and restaurants of Minneapolis and St. Paul called the Food Lovers’ Guide to the Twin Cities. Norton has written about food for Culture: The Word on Cheese, Salon, Gastronomica, Popular Science, Saveur.com, Minnesota Monthly, and City Pages (as a weekly restaurant reviewer).

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6 Comments

  1. Dedicated Reader04/08/2009Reply

    Tell us how you really feel.

  2. Dedicated Reader – Ha!

    That said, I got thinking about airport food that I’ve enjoyed and couldn’t come up with much. Recently had travelled, I guess I had an Annie’s Pretzel and a VitaminWater. There’s a Houlhan’s at MSP that’s outside of security. I wonder if that’s the best bet over there now?

  3. Author

    On a less local note, I got a Gold Coast Chicago jumbo char dog at O’Hare on my way back — really pretty decent. Middle of the pack for Chicago dogs overall, which is great for an airport.

  4. For the Mpls airport, I personally always go for the D’Amico salads (their turkey and dried cherry salad is dreamy) either at the food court just inside security or sold at the Caribou’s in the concourses.

  5. I like the Cincinnati airport because you can get a five-way chili.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. [...] Smoked salmon and lime-flavored rangoons ($6) are outstanding, and probably worth a visit on their own merits. They could serve as a template for how to make rangoons correctly: cooked to order, a crisp, delicate exterior skin, light and creamy filling with a perfectly balanced blend of cream cheese and slighty musky flavoring, tag-teaming it with a sweet chili dipping sauce. [For a template on how to make rangoons incorrectly, see our recent story on the wontons at the airport Wok & Roll.] [...]

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