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Lin's Garden memories

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  • Joyce Kaye Apr 23, 2001 02:26 PM
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Does anyone remember this fantastic hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Bayard? It closed at least 8-10 years ago, and it was a favorite of mine. It had the best Kung Po chicken and Chow Fun I think I've ever had in New York. Great service, too. It was also open 24 hours, perfect for a cheap Chinese food feast after a night of drinking. If anyone knows of a reasonable facsimile I'd love to know about it.

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  1. I certainly remember it -- though I haven't thought about it in years. As a kid we would head over for an excellent shrimp with black bean sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shemmy

      I remember it well. We used to go there for beef in oyster sauce when I was in high school in the swinging 70s.

    2. Not really but it seemed like it. Played in a rock band back in those days and used to visit Lin's after almost every gig. Had lots of great meals there and I basically cut my teeth on their Chinese food. Spotted Paul Simon a number of times (he made their Chow Fun famous.) Two of the original owners still work in Chinatown. Wang works at the coffee shop across Bayard and on the other side of Elizabeth street from the old Lin's. Wan who was the main boss works the night shift at Hong Fat.

      1. I don't remember Lin's Garden, but Foo Joy, on Division St. between Bowery and Market, was a favorite place for family outings when I was a kid. Fujianese cuisine was very unusual in New York at the time, and they served banquet cuisine: Ironside steaks or something were broiled and came with pineapple slices on them. I don't really remember what else we got, but we enjoyed it.

        We also used to go to the Nam Wah Tea House, which is still there on Doyers St., for dumplings and such. There was a boy there who I liked to play with. Since he was around the same age as me, he's probably married with children now. :-)

        By the way, is Nam Wah any good nowadays?

        By the way

        5 Replies
        1. re: Michael L.

          My dad used to take us to Foo Joy (I'm guessing it's the same one) for these huge bowls of fish ball soup. The waiter used to always insist that we, as small kids, wouldn't be able to eat the whole thing, and my dad had to be pretty insistent to get the order placed. And of course, we always managed to finish...

          1. re: Michael L.

            Nam Wah Tea Parlor was my first experience of dim sum--when I was in my teens. Dim sum was exotic then. But everytime my curiosity (and nostalgia) takes me past Num Wah (about every two months--lunch times,) it seems empty, sad and lonely. Does anyone eat there anymore?

            1. re: Lynn

              I ate there sometime last summer with some friends and their kids. We all liked it - we ordered a bunch of stuff - I'm remembering the chicken feet and an eggplant dish as standing out. The kids weren't adventurous, but were happy with the scallion pancakes. It was pretty crowded on a weekend afternoon, actually.

            2. re: Michael L.

              Nam Wah is indeed very popular in its new incarnation (in the same location, now run by the son and grandson of the original owners): it serves traditional and "updated" dimsum from a menu, not with the usual trolleys. Quite good, with an upscale tilt and clientele. Expect to wait, especially on weekends.
              My favorite oldtimer which has sadly closed after 50 years in business is Yuen Yuen on Bayard St. They were astoundingly cheap, never had a menu in english until the very last years, and served the most wonderful, addictive old favorites, along with an assortment of medicinal dishes. Sigh.

              1. re: swannee

                yah that sucked, i was actually writing a review on them when they closed...oh well

            3. I used to live on Canal St.,and miss the old funky teahouses.Two favorite dishes were sam bo fan;hacked chicken,fried egg ,chinese sausage and rice.and the gnow cheung wrapped around fried dough.Very inexpensive and satisfying.Are these still served anywhere?

              1. Lins' Garden on Bayard Street.
                their beef Chow Fun with Black Bean Sauce.
                I recall it went for $1.65 a plate. pure heaven.
                best ever and nothing comes close.
                still miss them.

                general favorite WO HOP's downstairs at 17 Mott Street. discovered as undergraduate, anything they cook-- and their
                tea out of simple water glasses was the best.
                still love them, after 42 years.

                1. I used to go there often. There were 4 places open all night. Only one is left. 17 Mott Wo Hop downstairs is still there. Sum hay Rice Shoppe is gone, and so is 69 Bayard I think.
                  Lin's Garden had good food and cheap, you are right. At least I thought so back when I ate there. The lo mein and chow fun were good , so were the clams in black bean sauce, snails in black bean and whole sea bass. That's in the days when the Chinatown Fair still had the live chicken telling fortunes on Mott St.

                  1. Thank you for reminding me of a place I haven't thought about in years.

                    1. Lin's Garden has been closed for over 20 years. I miss them dearly!!
                      I drove a taxi back in the day and Lin's was my favorite stop at 2 -3AM after my shift ended.
                      It was a scene in the wee hours, detectives, clubbers and families of gypsies with their young kids in tow.
                      I miss Lin's Garden chow fun the most. No one else seems to make it. Their sweet and sour soup was unique too.
                      No matter what time I went there the same guys were working. WTH????
                      Paul SImon immortalized Lin's Garden in his song "Paranoia Blues" "Once I was down in chinatown
                      I was eating some Lin's chow fon
                      I happened to turn around
                      And when I looked I see
                      My chow fon's gone"
                      Foo Joy is also a fond memory. I loved the red pork chops. Their gambling hall in the back got busted and they closed.
                      I often wondered why so many "cooks" were going into the kitchen and never leaving.

                      1. I loved Lin's, and still miss it vey much even after all these years. Their chow mei fan was the greatest, and its seems that none of the places in Chinatown seem to make it quite the same way. I've learned to make a pretty convincing version of it at home since they closed, but it still lacks that intense "wok hee" character that Lin's dishes had.

                        Places like Lin's are disappearing at an alarming rate, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: The Professor

                          Ah Lin's!!! Such great memories!!

                        2. I'm pretty sure I saw a "Lin's Garden" when I went climbing at BKB. Next to Zuzu Ramen? Not sure if there's any affiliation there (yes I realize that's in Brooklyn :P).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kyph0515

                            I wish. But since it has been probably at least 30 years (or close to it) since Lin's on Bayard St. closed and since I'm guessing that "Lin" is a fairly common Chinese name, it seems doubtful that there's any connection to our old favorite. :-(

                            So many memories of the food, the late night drives to Chinatown from central NJ, not to mention the parking tickets...

                            1. re: The Professor

                              its a very common surname