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Comforts Cafe's Chinese Chicken Salad

The dish:

The Chinese Chicken Salad consists of strips of marinated and barbecued chicken breast with a mix of shredded romaine and iceberg lettuce, crispy rice noodles, scallions, toasted almonds, sesame seeds and a slightly sweet sesame rice vinaigrette.

How it got on the menu:

​Founder of Comforts Café Glenn Miwa used to make a version of his mom's salad and bring it in for his staff at various photo shoots when he owned a graphic design shop in LA. It became so popular amongst his friends and colleagues that it became a staple at all kinds of social gatherings. When he and his wife Laura opened Comforts in 1986 in San Anselmo, he put it on the menu and it became an instant hit.​

MM: Why do people love it so much?

Erin Miwa: The variety of textures, such as the crispiness of the noodles, the crunch of the iceberg and toasted almonds. People also love the dressing. It's sweet and slightly tangy. Comfort Café bottles it in-house and it flies off the shelves!

MM: Claim to fame?

Erin Miwa: The café was closed for one week to do an annual cleaning/renovation. A customer came pounding on the doors, screaming through the tiny crack, "My wife is in labor and all she wants is a Chinese Chicken Salad. You've gotta help me out!" Of course, the kitchen had been closed for a week and so there was no salad to be had, but the story is a testament to how much locals crave it.

MM: How much of the dish is sold or served?

Erin Miwa: During the busy summer months, including our sit-down cafe, catering and take-out department, we sell approximately 500 a day.​

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