Sang Kee or Lee How Fook
I ate at Lee How Fook last week for the first time and got two of my standard comfort food favorites: Singapore noodles and hot and sour soup. Both were as good as I've had anywhere, and the best I've found in Philadelphia to date. I've gotten both dishes at Sang Kee in the past and they were terrible. I've gotten several other dishes at Sang Kee that were mediocre as well. The only thing I remember liking is the roast pork and the shrimp dumpling soup. I havn't tried the duck.
Lee How is my choice. I don't think there's a comparison. The duck at Sang Kee is excellent, but everything else we've had there has been exceptionally mediocre. I'd also have to agree with joypirate about the soup broth. I've had a bunch of their noddle soups, and they're generally disappointing. I'm not sure if there's a better Chinese noodle soup I've had in Philly, but that doesn't make it any better.
Perhaps one explanation for why we've had uniformly excellent meals at Lee How is that we usually ask the waiter to order for us. All of the salt baked dishes are terrific, with shrimp probably being the favorite (must get with shells on and eat the whole things!). Sea bass with blank bean sauce is also really good. The roasted pork appetizer is the best version I've ever had. They also brought us a fantastic chicken dish once when we had them choose the food. It was boneless chicken filets fried to perfection, incredibly moist, and in an orangey sauce of some kind. Maybe orange chicken, if that's on the menu?
Lee How Fook is great -- their turnip pork soup (and any soup for that matter) is amazing. I have a weakness for their salt baked cod, perfect balance of crispy filling with just the right amount of salt, and fresh scallions to offset the salt. They will prepare almost anything steamed so it is a good spot if your watching what you eat, without sacrificing quality or flavor. The beef with mushrooms is especially good as well.
I tend to agree about Lee How Fook. Maybe I haven't ordered right, but I've not found it to be as exceptional as many seem to think. By far my favorite chinatown restaurant is Shiao Lan Kung, but I'm not sure they are open on Sunday.
I've always loved the Peking duck at Sang Kee, but haven't been there in quite a while.
What do you typically like to order? They're pretty close, in my opinion.
I get slightly less excited about Lee How Fook than some of my chow-brothers and sisters. I've ordered about 3 things that had an overly sweet sauce and I've cooled to them a bit.
If you're doing Sang Kee, duck is the way to go, though in a soup their broth can be sort of lacking.
joy, i'm surprized by your review. Please share with us a better noodle soup broth then at sang kee. i find thier broth awesome, had some today. Lee how is also amazing besides the normal favs (h&s soup, salt baked anything) just about everything except the duck is a step above the rest except shiao lan kung
The salt baked squid I had was good, but I prefer a spicier version with more thinly sliced jalapenos (if you're ever in Boston, like Peach Farm). Also, the broth is a straight chicken broth, not a duck broth (I asked). Though sometimes it's a wonderfully ducky soup (I think duck meat/bones steeps in it for awhile on occasion), and sometimes just ok duck pieces in chicken broth. I'd give it 60% tasting really ducky, but that's it. I'm always on the lookout for anyplace that does a true duck broth but I've yet to come across one in Philly.
In terms of broths in general, including chicken, I'd recommend the Pho at Pho Cali.
Specifically, the dishes I had at Sang Kee that disappointed me were the duck w/lemon sauce, and a spicy black pepper duck (my menus are at work so I'm going by memory) and one other dish (which was probably a duck dish, lets be honest).
Also, I think for roasted duck, HK Peking Duck house does a better duck though I would certainly say it's a close call. If I ever want a Honk Kong style meal of roasted meat over rice I'd hit HK Peking Duck house though they stopped serving lunch because they were doing such good banquet business. Also, their chicken w/scallions over rice is pretty frickin delicious as well.
Clearly I spend too much time thinking about duck.