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ISO Hong Fat's Noodles with Gravy

If anyone out there remembers Hong Fat's noodles with gravy, can you please advise where to get a good version of that dish in NYC? My cousin was a Hong Fat devotee and has been searching for a worthy rendition of these noodles since the restaurant closed.

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  1. I was trying to reconstruct my family's history and came across this blog. My grandfather was one of the original onwers of Hong Fat restaurant and was the chef there until he passed away in 1974. Can you tell me what the restaurant was like back then?

    26 Replies
    1. re: hwun

      I was only there a few times and it was in the 90s. I've shared your post with my cousin and hope he replies to your inquiry.

      1. re: hwun

        I remember it well and I loved the noodles with gravy. It may not answer all your questions but I wrote a bit about Hong Fat in my blog: http://bmj2k.com/2011/06/03/forget-it...

        I know this is a 2 year old post but I hope you see this.

        1. re: bmj2k

          bmj2k -

          Loved your blog post. I can't tell you how many times I've had the same experience of going on autopilot to a longtime favorite only to find it has vaporized. By any chance have you tried the noodles with gravy at 69? If so, how do they compare to Hong Fat's?

          1. re: Velda Mae

            I have not been there recently- it has been a few years. I liked their food a lot and it was very similar to Hong Fat but I'm not sure if I ever had the noodles with gravy. I probably did and I am sure it was good but I can't say for certain.

            1. re: Velda Mae

              Did the gravy have meat in it....or was it simply brown gravy? also, were the noodles similar to lo mein egg noodles.....or were they flat white, wheat or rice flour?

              1. re: fourunder

                fourunder, I think the dish they are referring to is an old American-Chinese (Cantonese) dish called Yat Gow Mein 一個麵. Sometimes spelled Yat Gat Mein, Yat Gai Mein, Yokamen, Yakamein etc. I am sure there are other variations. It was once part of the holy trinity of early American-Chinese fare along with Chop Suey and Chow Mein.

                The noodles are usually thick, made from wheat and served in a broth or brown gravy. 69 on Bayard and Hop Kee still serve it. Too pedestrian for Wo Hop!

                There was an old menu from York's Chinese Tea Garden & Ladies Lounge in Phlladelhphia (1917) seen on Ebay recently that had the following:

                "Yock Ko Mein noodle soup 25 cents
                Noodle soup with half-boiled egg, chicken and roast pork; Raw Onions 5 cents extra"

                Hangover cure in New Orleans:
                http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Ya-Ca-...

                Also:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/506994

                -----
                69 Chinese Restaurant
                69 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: scoopG

                  scoop,

                  Yat Gow Mein from my memory was Red Roast Pork Or Chicken slivers with shredded vegetables, noodles and Soup Broth(Won Ton).

                  In New England/Boston, I distinctly remember deep fried chow mein noodles covered in brown gravy.

                  Like Cantonese Chow Mein, I have also seen Deep Fried Lo MEin or Shanghai Noodles covered in Brown Gravy

                  Both Brown Gravies were the same used for Egg Foo Young.

                  Noodles with Gravy and Ground Pork is a pretty common dish.....sometimes with peas over rice.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Yeah that brown sauce found its way everywhere! 69 and Hop Kee each serve 2-3 kinds of it.

                    -----
                    Hop Kee
                    21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                  2. re: scoopG

                    Yat Gaw Mein a.k.a. Yetcamein and a bunch of other aliases took different forms in different parts of the U.S. I never saw it in California and only when I started traveling in the Midwest and East Coast did I run into a dish with that moniker. The term also meant different things in different cities. My first encounter was in Sioux City, Iowa, where it took the guise of boiled soup noodles, where it became the subject of my first and only published restaurant review. In other cities it resembled what is often called lo mein (though, of course, lo mein also has taken a different meaning in different cities across the U.S.).

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      I think that's exactly right - the dish morphed over time and space. Was that review for the Sioux City Journal?

                      1. re: scoopG

                        No, it was for an English language Chinese-American newspaper out of San Francisco that covered anything to do with Chinese-Americans.

              2. re: bmj2k

                bmj2k: thank you for your response and for the link, it was very informative. As I said above, my grandfather was the original chef in Hong Fat and passed away in 1974. My dad and his brother were waiters in Hong Fat until my grandfather's passing and subsequently opened up their own restaurant on Elizabeth Street named Hong Wun, which closed in the early 1980's. I asked my dad about Hong Fat's apparent popular gravy on noodles so all of you posters can try and make it for yourselves. He said my grandfather would make a broth by boiling pork and chicken with salt (meats should be attached to bone), then once the broth was done, he would add brown sugar, corn starch and oyster sauce until it thickens. Then obviously he would pour it over the noodles. He also mentioned there were variations of this dish by adding bits of meat.

                1. re: hwun

                  hwun - Do you know what the dish was called on Hong Fat's menu?

                  1. re: hwun

                    I remember this dish (I hope I'm recalling the right one) served with small (beef?) ribs mixed in, bite size.

                    I wish I was the chef that so many others of you are, I'd love to make that dish just to bring back some memories. If nothing else, I now have another trip to Chinatown in my future!

                2. re: hwun

                  I was recently in the Hong Kong Guangzhou area and I found a restaurant that made sweet and sour pork the way your grandfather did!

                  Believe it or not, I have a Hong Fat menu from the mid-1970s (maybe 1974?). I hope this helps you in your family research "hwun." I've uploaded a photo but chow.com reduced the resolution so much that it is nearly impossible to read. If you want a high-res image, please let me know your email and I will send you one.

                   
                  1. re: vmaksym

                    Gravy noodles would be lu mian in Mandarin. Unfortunately I don't have Chinese characters on my IPad, but another Hounder will surely supply it.

                        1. re: diprey11

                          Perfect! Lots of recipes in the article, too

                          1. re: swannee

                            just as an fyi, its probably not the same dish as the hong fat dish, but sounds very similar, there is a hokkien dish that is quite common in singapore called lor mee, which translates in mandarin to 鹵麵 lu mian. i'm not a huge fan of it, but its reasonably popular in singapore; i was at a hawker center called old airport road about 2 months ago that has a famous lor mee place and no joke starting at 10am there was a line of 20+ people the whole time and it was consistently like when i left 3 hours later

                            its quite thick broth with wheat noodles
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lor_mee

                            this is in mandarin, so most of you won't understand it, but this is a video of a famous lor mee place in singapore that has been around since the 50s and they'll show you making it etc. basically they just talk about how it was founded by the guys father, what makes the lor mee special, how it tastes / how much they like it, then ask customers why they come there
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Ivos...

                      1. re: vmaksym

                        Hi.....I found your post and the picture of the old Hong Fat menu and I would love a copy....if you can send me a high res one, that would be great, thanks, bob

                        1. re: outtolunchatty1

                          Please email me at <vam@tandm.us> and I will send it to you. -- Virginia

                      2. re: hwun

                        I have the vaguest memories of hong fat from that time but I was there about five times with friends, one of the first chinatown restaurants I tried. I recall it was absolutely packed every time we went, we waited on line a couple of times. the atmosphere was fun, all the customers were happy to be eating the food.

                        I recall thinking it was good but wanting to explore other places where my friends were perfectly content with hong fat. the stand out dish for us was some sort of fried butterflied jumbo shrimp with a red sauce. Also, I think it was the first place I had clams with black bean sauce.

                        1. re: hwun

                          After several decades, we still remember the wonderful egg rolls. Helpers sat at a table in the back making them as fast as they could. The place was small and fairly long and every table always full. Best Chinese food we ever tasted. In fact, it might be the best Chinese food we ever. Always said we would choose to go to Hong Fats if we ever visited NY again. janice from Dallas

                          1. re: hwun

                            My wife and I had our first date at Hong Fat in 1965. Great food and two couples could eat their fill for $10. We are still married and were disappointed on a recent trip to find that it had closed. We went often enough that the waiters all knew us. Once we went with a Chinese friend and said to her "they love us here!" "You idiots", she replied, "they are saying 'Big tippers. Sit at our table'."

                            1. re: rclay1

                              Haha...yes I miss it too on return trips to NYC.....Our waiter back then was an asian gentleman named Kevin.....He left around the early seventies with some other staff to go to a restaurant around the corner which I believe was then called New Lin Heong, but I think has now morphed into 69 Chinese restaurant (69 Bayard)..Can't speak to the food lately tho........