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5513 Harford Road. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (410) 426-8282 or (410) 426-8288.

We knew, the minute the sign went up, it was the start of something good. "Coming soon," it said, "Chinese carryout."

Sure enough, when Fast Wok opened a year or so ago, it was everything we hoped for and more. Talk about location -- it's right next door to the major video-rental store in Hamilton. You can place your order, pop over and pick out a movie, and return to pick up a steaming, fragrant and very reasonably priced meal.

Once recent evening we sampled a tasty and spicy hot and sour soup ($2 for a quart), Shanghai egg rolls (shrimp, chicken, mushroom, bamboo shoots wrapped in crispy rice paper -- $2.10 for two) and shrimp with mixed vegetables ($7 for a quart). There were lots of shrimp and a wide array of vegetables. The spicier entrees really are not for the timid -- Mandarin chicken, for instance -- but the bite is not deadly, it's just right ($6.25 a quart).

Regular entrees come in pints or quarts, with rice and fortune cookie and plenty of condiments. Choices are wide-ranging (minced chicken sweet corn soup, for instance, or Sichuan-style double-cooked pork or chicken with almonds) and include two ** duck dishes. There are also chef's specials -- pineapple duck and orange beef or chicken, as well as the more familiar triple delight and sesame chicken. And, of course, there are chow mein, fried rice, egg foo young and lo mein choices as well.

For those who want to eat in, there are a half-dozen tables in an austere but spotless dining area. You can also call ahead and your meal will be waiting when you arrive to pick it up.

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