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Forget takeout. You can make Chinese food at home.

Your guide to whipping up first-class dumplings, fried rice, scallion pancakes, and more

American Chinese food is incredibly good at inspiring nostalgia.

Every time I see a white takeout box and a menu with poorly photographed photos of food, I start to reminisce. I think of how date night with my high school boyfriend usually involved going to our local mid-level restaurant for General Tso's chicken. I get a little misty-eyed about the place in Boston (with metal bars protecting the ordering window) that'd serve my college friends and me steaming hot scallion pancakes at 3 a.m.

But it's easy to forget how the food can make you feel — an MSG hangover is no joke. So avoid it — and save some money — by making your favorite takeout dishes at home. Chinese grocery stores are also one of the best places to shop on a budget: You can stock up on all sorts of sauces, pickled things, and fun snacks with minimal damage to your wallet. Just make sure you pick up chopsticks and fortune cookies to complete the meal.

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