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Forgotten restaurants of Chinatown

Brian S Sep 7, 2006 01:56 AM

So many restaurants... it's easy to stick to your faves and pass the rest by. Here are a few, never mentioned on Chowhound, that you might have passed by. All are in the most touristy part of Chinatown, though all are patronized by a predominantly Chinese crowd. None is a contender for best in the nabe... but if you placed any one of them in any American city between NY and California, they'd be the best in 500 miles. Here they are, from south to north.

Lucky 11 11 Mott This used to be a Taiwanese place, but new owners added on some Shanghainese and a few Cantonese dishes. You can have a great Taiwanese chicken-basil casserole accompanied by Shanghainese dishes such as intestines in brown sauce. I havent been there this year, and on my last visit the quality had gone a bit downhill. I'm hoping that that's temporary, this was one of my faves.

Sing Wong, 13 Mott I like their casseroles, e.g. grouper, lightly breaded, with mushrooms and tofu in a lovely brown sauce. Havent been this year.

Danny Ng Pell St My first time at this old Cantonese standby tonight. I ordered pork belly with preserved veg from the Chinese menu. I've had better... but, judging from the procession of elaborate, elegant fish and seafood dishes that went to the other tables, the kitchen has too.

Mr Tang 50 Mott St. Yes it looks like a tourist trap, but you can get good Cantonese stuff if you stay clear of the tourist fare.

Asian Cafe 51 Bayard I love this place. Yes they offer weird stuff to entice a younger, American born Chinese crowd, like spaghetti with ham, chicken and corn, but they do the traditional stuff really well... I like the casseroles. The service, which when they opened was like something from the three stooges, has vastly improved. Always crowded.

Dragon, 200 Centre. A new place just north of Canal. I've been once, had the stewed chicken casserole, and it was very good though not the best I've had. (I cant remember the full name.)

Does anyone know any others? I've omitted those known on this board, such as New Big Wang at 1 Elizabeth, Cantoon Garden, and East Ocean.

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  1. designerboy01 RE: Brian S Sep 7, 2006 02:16 AM

    I think you need to take another visit to Danny Ng. They have a bunch off dishes on their chinese menu that are worth trying. They have a good salted cabbage and chicken dish. They do have a duck and veggie dish on their regular menu that is good. They got some other stuff that I didn't get to try. They have a chicken stuffed with sticky rice but you should go with more people.

    The forgotten one is Yuen Yuen which I still like going to because they got some old school stuff.

    7 Replies
    1. re: designerboy01
      Brian S RE: designerboy01 Sep 10, 2006 05:13 PM

      Ah yes, Yuen Yuen. I tracked it down (it's on Baxter near Elizabeth) and had a look. It's very easy to overlook if you dont know its there. The menu is written in Chinese. The people eating there looked like successful businessmen from the suburbs returning for a Madeleine-like taste from their childhood. I'd heard they are famous for their medicinal soups, so with help from one of the businessmen I found that section of the menu. It's a white poster on the wall, and lists several soups including turtle. I'll have to return and try it.

      Question: is it dangerous to eat medicinal soups? If it's really medicine, even herbal, I'd no more want to eat one than I'd want to sneak into a stranger's medicine cabinet and pop pills at random.

      1. re: Brian S
        Pan RE: Brian S Sep 11, 2006 03:35 AM

        Baxter doesn't intersect with Elizabeth. From what I can gather, it's at Bayard and Elizabeth.

        1. re: Pan
          Chandavkl RE: Pan Sep 11, 2006 04:50 AM

          That sounds about right. Address is 61 Bayard. I believe Yuen Yuen is best known for snake soup. From what I can tell, medicinal Chinese restaurants (at least the very few that have popped up in the U.S.) are geared more for a person's general well being, as opposed to going to a herbalist to address a specific medical condition.

          1. re: Chandavkl
            Brian S RE: Chandavkl Sep 11, 2006 03:10 PM

            Yes, it's Bayard and Elizabeth. Sorry about the mistake I would have eaten there last night, but it was full! So I ate at nearby Cantoon Garden, which I've loved ever since it opened 10 years ago. It has improved over the past year, by the way.

        2. re: Brian S
          designerboy01 RE: Brian S Sep 29, 2006 12:59 AM

          Brian they got an English menu there too. Just ask for it. It doesn't have all the items there. The medicinal soups are more like tonics and they are not harmful. Just think of it like taking vitamins. These soups are steamed. But the ones you get there are probably cooked, refridgerated, and then reheated. Normally they take a long time to cook. That place has probably been there for more than 40 years. When I go I go for the lamb on rice. I do see the older generation ijn that restaurant and brings back memories when I went there as a kid. It was that place and mei lei wah that was there back then. They got desserts there too, so don't miss out on that too. They got some rice dessert there and soy custard. The food here is Cantonese...my favorite out of all chinese cuisines.

          1. re: designerboy01
            Polecat RE: designerboy01 Sep 29, 2006 01:48 AM

            My mother-in-law, a Korean who lives in Tokyo, recently visited and cooked us a medicinal soup using black chicken, dates and brown rice as the main ingredients. Are you familiar with this recipe, and, do they serve it at the place you are talking about?

            1. re: Polecat
              designerboy01 RE: Polecat Sep 29, 2006 01:55 AM

              Koreans usually cook that with gingseng. Black chicken is normally used for medicinal soups. The Korean name for the soup sounds very close to the chinese cantonese prononciation Samgyetang. Sam=ginseng gye=chicken tang=soup. They serve the black chicken at Congee on Bwoery for about $4 a jar. My japanese friend freaked out when there was a chicken food coming out of her soup. I thought that was funny. I don't think they have the black chicken. They got about 6-8 soups if I recall. I had the water duck soup. The other soup I don't remember but it tasted like medicinal bark...not sure. I had the turtle there. They also got softshell turtle soup at the old Congee Village and at Jazzi Wok. I took my non-chinese friends there and they really enjoyed the soup and asked me what I ordered. I told them it was soft shelled turtle (which is like fish) and there was an uncomfortable pause...thought that was funny too.

      2. s
        sashimi RE: Brian S Sep 7, 2006 03:11 AM

        Danny Ng is my favorite place.

        You definitely have to give it another try. They're famous for their prime rib with spinach dish - everyone that I have taken to the rest. raves about it. If you like pea shoots, they have a good one in a soupy broth.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sashimi
          Brian S RE: sashimi Sep 7, 2006 02:25 PM

          Oh I agree. When I saw the elaborate, delicious-looking dishes that every other table got, I decided to give it another try. Also, someone taped a great review by Sietsema on the wall next to the toilets, and that convinced me too. http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0...

        2. Chandavkl RE: Brian S Sep 8, 2006 06:03 AM

          I'll throw out a couple cheap dumpling houses that I haven't seen mentioned. At 7 Allen St. is a place that should be mentioned if only because of it's name, or more precisely its names. The front and the side of the awning have different names--one says Dumpling Kingdom and the other says Kingdom of Pancakes. Anyway this is your place for good, cheap onion pancakes. At 25 Henry St. is a place called Fried Dumpling. I don't know if it's related to the other Fried Dumplings, but the menu seemed to be quite different from the Fried Dumpling on Mosco. A featured item is a soup dish containing 8 dumplings for $2. Order it to go and they put it in this really nice plastic container, possibly the nicest I've gotten at a Chinese restaurant.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Chandavkl
            Peter Cuce RE: Chandavkl Sep 8, 2006 03:08 PM

            Kingdom of Pancakes is now called Taipei Noodle House or something like that. I'm glad I got a shot of the sign before they changed it. That was my favorite NYC restaurant name of all time. I guess I should have tried their namesake -- the noodle soup I tried was insipid. The time I was there a guy came in looking for American-style pancakes, but they couldn't understand what he was saying, so it was a pretty amusing conversation.

            1. re: Peter Cuce
              Chandavkl RE: Peter Cuce Sep 9, 2006 12:34 AM

              Wow, that was fast! I was at Kingdom of Pancakes not that many weeks ago. Should have brought my camera, too.

              1. re: Chandavkl
                Peter Cuce RE: Chandavkl Sep 9, 2006 01:20 PM

                Pictures of their sign

                1. re: Peter Cuce
                  Chandavkl RE: Peter Cuce Sep 17, 2006 05:19 PM

                  Thanks for the pictures. I'm going to print them out and put them in my photo album--nobody will know I didn't take them!

                2. re: Chandavkl
                  Peter Cuce RE: Chandavkl Sep 18, 2006 01:52 AM

                  If you really want to print them out, shoot me an email (it's in my profile), and I'll send you a link to the original size pictures, or even the photos themselves.

            2. Polecat RE: Brian S Sep 8, 2006 01:48 PM

              Anyone ever go to the ancient Nam Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers? I've never seen it mentioned anywhere - kind of like "personna-non-gratta", the tea parlor that time forgot.

              Went there with my wife a few years ago for dim sum; the curiosity was killing me. Very old, atmospheric, kind of like walking through a time warp. Seemingly hundreds of beautiful, dusty old tea tins lining the walls up to the ceiling. We were the only customers on a late Saturday morning. The wait staff was friendly, but kind of slow-moving, like they were walking through light shafts under water. It truly felt like David Lynch via Chinatown, only in an amusement park vein, not sinister.

              Anyhow, I guess because I'm a sucker for atmosphere, I kind of liked the place, found the jiggly, gelatinous par-for-the-course dim sum items middling to decent. I had a smile on my face the whole time. My wife, however, is probably more objective - she found the food to be "greasy" and stomach churning.

              Before that time and since, I have often passed by Nam Wah, at various times of day, and never seen anyone inside, no customers.

              I stopped by again, around a year ago, to sample one of their almond cookies, which they sell in bags or individually as you walk in.

              Anyone else ever venture into the Nam Wah?

              12 Replies
              1. re: Polecat
                twiggles RE: Polecat Sep 8, 2006 04:57 PM

                My husband and I were in there once, we just had tea and almond cookies. one other couple came in after us. it is totally old school, and dusty. i liked the atmosphere. there is an older man that sits and reads the paper towards the back. The woman that served us was very nice. We'd go back for tea and cookies, if the mood ever strikes. but i don't know if i'd actually eat anything else there.

                1. re: twiggles
                  mrnyc RE: twiggles Sep 8, 2006 05:05 PM

                  yes, tea and cookies, thats what its best for. they also have dim sum kind of dishes too like har gau and shu mi and the like that i also enjoy. nothing great foodwise tho. however, yes the place has atmosphere in spades and it is a treasure for what it is. in fact i think it is so old that it was the very first tea parlor or first place to serve dim sum or something like that if i am not mistaken.

                  1. re: mrnyc
                    Polecat RE: mrnyc Sep 8, 2006 05:21 PM

                    "...the very first tea parlor or first dim sum..."

                    This would definitely not surprise me. It's worth checking out online or asking other chowhounds. I would have to agree that there are far better places to eat, but, as you both say, it's a nice after-meal place to hit for tea and cookies.

                    Let's appreciate it while it's still there.

                    1. re: Polecat
                      Ike RE: Polecat Sep 8, 2006 06:41 PM

                      Yeah, the big Chinatown information board (on the triangular traffic island on the south side of Canal St. where it intersects with Baxter and Walker Sts.) identifies this place as Chinatown's first dim sum restaurant and tea parlor (although it doesn't specify it by name), IIRC. I rarely see anybody in there either. It doesn't give off a very attractive chow vibe to my senses, but I'll have to try the cookies and tea ("brewed in ancient tea canisters" or some such, according to one website).

                      The board also says the legend about Doyers Street's unusual angle is that the merchants wanted to keep out "straight-flying ghosts." Hmmm, that's awesome. I guess ghosts like tea and dim sum and cheap barbers.

                      See also:

                      1. re: Polecat
                        mrnyc RE: Polecat Sep 8, 2006 09:36 PM

                        no, as i say it's not chowy at all i'm afraid.

                        otoh, vibey its got!

                        thx for clarifying its rep, i had read that somewhere long ago.

                  2. re: Polecat
                    Brian S RE: Polecat Sep 8, 2006 07:21 PM

                    About old-school places like this, a post I made last year on the history of Chinatown might be relevant.


                    1. re: Brian S
                      Polecat RE: Brian S Sep 8, 2006 08:02 PM

                      Ike, thanks for the link. I'm pretty sure the "straight flying ghosts" have found their way into Nam Wah. one can only hope. there's also a Vietnamese place right next door that I've often wondered about. Never see anyone going in there either. hmmm...

                      Brian, I just bookmarked your thread, am looking forward to reading it. thanks.

                      1. re: Polecat
                        Ike RE: Polecat Sep 8, 2006 08:34 PM

                        Hi Polecat. Always good to see your postings. If you mean Doyers Restaurant, it was formerely called simply Vietnam Restaurant. There are lots of older threads mentioning it, but hardly any newer ones:


                        Many feel it's one of the top Vietnamese places in NYC, although I've gathered from one or two experienced hounds that Little Saigon in Montclair NJ (formerely in Nutley NJ) is better than any Vietnamese place in Manhattan. (Many hounds feel that NYC's Vietnamese is kinda lame overall.) I've been to Little Saigon -- that's my neighborhood -- and it's very very good indeed.

                        1. re: Ike
                          Peter Cuce RE: Ike Sep 8, 2006 08:51 PM

                          I never thought it was the top Vietnamese place in NYC. Many better places in Brooklyn (or Manhattan even).

                          1. re: Ike
                            Pan RE: Ike Sep 8, 2006 10:08 PM

                            I agree with Peter. In its former incarnation, at least, it was mediocre. I don't know if I've tried it since the latest name change.

                            1. re: Pan
                              designerboy01 RE: Pan Sep 29, 2006 01:09 AM

                              I used to get take out delivered from there. First thing I really noticed from my takeout food that I can really taste the wok air in the food. I have been meaning to go try that place for dinner. I enjoyed my takeout lunches from there very much.

                        2. re: Brian S
                          Chandavkl RE: Brian S Sep 10, 2006 08:19 PM

                          Thanks for the link. Having written about the Chinese Exclusion Laws in a prior life I'm glad to see the word getting out on this episode of American history. This ties in directly with the type of food found in Chinatown over the decades. American Chinatowns as discovered by tourists were enclaves established by early 20th century illegal immigrants (almost all of my ancestors were illegals) from a small rural area of China (the villages of Toishan, outside of the city formerly known as Canton) and their progeny. Interestingly, this culture was frozen in time here in Chinatown while the original motherland itself continued to evolve. For example, Toishanese Americans use still words that are considered as archaic and haven't been used in China in decades. Likewise, much of the food found in throwback Chinatown restaurants today probably doesn't exist anywhere else in the world today, as it reflects the old Toishanese/Cantonese diet from that particular time period as adapted for American tastes.

                      2. Peter Cuce RE: Brian S Sep 8, 2006 03:12 PM

                        I like this thread, because I feel that even on a site such as Chowhound, where people are supposedly exploring the far corners of every neighborhood, the Chinatown restaurants that get talked about are a small subset of the hundreds available. I've been working my way through a lot of places, but I usually like to do a lot of ground work before I post.

                        1. j
                          jimmyjazz RE: Brian S Sep 9, 2006 01:46 AM

                          Happy Joy on Essex/Canal. great, cheap Malaysian and Chinese. the Malaysian is the way to go, in general. lots of spicy noodle soups and an addictive, though greasy, curry chicken.

                          1. csw RE: Brian S Sep 9, 2006 03:58 PM

                            1.mee sum cafe on pell street.
                            2.southwind restaurant on division street.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: csw
                              Polecat RE: csw Sep 9, 2006 04:54 PM

                              Oh, man, the Mee Sum Cafe. Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that almost exactly like the Mei Lei Wah, a kind of tiny dim sum diner with strong coffee and combination buns? If so, I like this place. Definitely a neighborhood underdog. They have a few things that Mei Lei Wah doesn't have, wish I could name them. Same good coffee too - get your heart beating like a jackhammer.

                              1. re: csw
                                Brian S RE: csw Sep 9, 2006 05:13 PM

                                There are a LOT of restaurants on Division Street on that long block east of Bowery. Many offer those trendy new HK dishes I first encountered at Ping's (which used to be around the corner). My favorite, Fortune Garden, which had dishes I'd never seen anywhere else (like rice with meat and spices, cooked by steaming it in a paper bag), closed last year.

                                1. re: Brian S
                                  Chandavkl RE: Brian S Sep 10, 2006 07:03 PM

                                  It is too bad about Fortune Delight which I thought was one the best places in Chinatown. The restaurant that took its place (Hua Du?) seems pretty good, too, though.

                                  1. re: Brian S
                                    csw RE: Brian S Sep 28, 2006 08:33 PM

                                    Alot of NEW restaurants on Division but Southwind is by far the oldest. My mom bought me here when i was still in elementary school. They are known for their stuffed tofu, Dried shrimp rice roll, porkchop rice...actually everything is good.

                                    1. re: csw
                                      SomeRandomIdiot RE: csw Sep 28, 2006 09:59 PM

                                      I like the dumplings there the best. The stuffed tofu and rice rolls come in a close 2nd/3rd.

                                2. Brian S RE: Brian S Sep 12, 2006 01:36 AM

                                  Tonight I ate for the first time at another forgotten restaurant, Hop Lee, 16 Mott St. It seemed an appropriate night to give back a little bit of the business the community lost on 9/11. Hop Lee is not to be confused with the infamous Wo Hop, though a lot of its patrons are the same guys who go to Wo Hop and Little Italy. And much of the menu caters to them. There's a whole section devoted to egg foo young. But there's better stuff.

                                  I ordered a fish head casserole. It was surprisingly good, well above the Chinatown average. The pieces on top were coated with a small amount of a gelatinous sauce, and there was a thin, different brown sauce on bottom. There were tiny pieces of savory pork and even the dofu was good.

                                  It wasnt the best I've ever had but it was good enough to make me want to go back. Also, we sometimes get posts from people who want to revisit the American-Chinese classics of their youth, when Pop took the family on Sunday to eat Chinese. This might be as good a place as any to suggest.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Brian S
                                    SomeRandomIdiot RE: Brian S Sep 12, 2006 02:15 AM

                                    You can also find a dish here I don't think I've seen anywhere else. Fried wontons covered in a sweet and sour sauce with large pieces of char siu and duck and chicken. It's sorta like a wonton in the style you'd find in one of the Wong restaurants, meaty and shrimpy, just deep fried and not boiled.

                                    They do a decent cantonese style lobster and the crispy chicken is good too as far as their banquet food goes. But even their landlord paying 400 a table can't a decent bowl of shark's fin soup out of them.

                                    American chinese might be a different story, their version of General Tso's chicken is gross. Even beef over broccoli which is pretty hard screw up was sorta bleh.

                                    1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                      Brian S RE: SomeRandomIdiot Sep 12, 2006 04:16 PM

                                      Perhaps if someone ordersj American Chinese, the cook thinks, this guy doesn't appreciate Chinese food, I wont waste time preparing it properly, I'll just give him some glop. Which might be why I've never been able to find a wonderful version of sweet and sour pork I once had in Canton. It had strips of steamed pork covered with a clear sauce.

                                  2. u
                                    UWSFrank RE: Brian S Sep 12, 2006 05:15 PM

                                    I am still mourning the closing of Wong Kee Steak House, on Mott north of Canal. While they called themselves Cantonese, I have never had Cantonese anywhere else that resembled their delicious food.

                                    Any Wong Kee fans out there know of restaurants with similar food? Jonesing here for cold chicken appetizer with that great green dipping sauce, the best pan-fried noodles and singapore chow mei fun, and especially the Wong Kee steak!!!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: UWSFrank
                                      weapong RE: UWSFrank Sep 12, 2006 05:40 PM

                                      Yeah I miss that place too. Nowadays my friends and I go to eat at Hsin Wong. It's on Bayard between Elizabeth and Mott.

                                      1. re: weapong
                                        Pan RE: weapong Sep 13, 2006 05:06 AM

                                        I tried Hsin Wong once - I'm trying to remember what I had, soy sauce chicken noodle soup or roast duck noodle soup? Anyway, it was pretty tasteless and far inferior to Great N.Y. Noodletown. That was at least a year and a half ago. Should I give the place another chance?

                                        1. re: Pan
                                          squid kun RE: Pan Sep 13, 2006 07:11 AM

                                          Not bad for takeout barbecued pork, though.

                                    2. michele cindy RE: Brian S Sep 13, 2006 02:02 PM

                                      It's called Dragon Palace. I think it's been there for just about 1 year now. It's the closest place for Dim Sum to where I work. I think it is good, it's always crowded, but no one seems to write much about it here. I like the staff too. They have a good selection of dim sum. Yesterday I had the turnip cake, something I could only decribe as fried shrimp perogi, eggplant stuffed with shrimp, (too greasy), shrimp rice rolls, steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, the bill came to $14.00. Awhile ago I posted about my duck feet encounter here, but that's another story...
                                      Fu Kee is right around the corner. They have good roast duck on rice, and their soy sauce chicken is decent too, $3.50.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: michele cindy
                                        designerboy01 RE: michele cindy Sep 13, 2006 02:28 PM

                                        Did anyone have dinner at Dragon Palace? I passed by on a Saturday night and saw it empty. Maybe the food has not been discovered. I heard Dim Sum was good from friends but never tried it.

                                        1. re: designerboy01
                                          michele cindy RE: designerboy01 Sep 13, 2006 02:34 PM

                                          I've only been there at lunch time, between 11 & 1, when it is busy. They have dim sum downstairs, but there is also a restaurant that is upstairs, not visible from the St. I've never been up there.

                                          1. re: michele cindy
                                            SomeRandomIdiot RE: michele cindy Sep 13, 2006 03:07 PM

                                            If you're going to have dimsum upstairs, don't go into the rooms that they have. You'll end up having to walk in and out repeatedly if you want to eat. They also have things that need to be cooked so between that and getting the regular cart dim sum you just spend all of your time walking. They have carts but the cart people only occasionally come into the rooms. The dim is passable but I've only been there twice.

                                            1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                              designerboy01 RE: SomeRandomIdiot Sep 28, 2006 10:13 PM

                                              How do you rate the dim sum there? Any good?

                                              1. re: designerboy01
                                                SomeRandomIdiot RE: designerboy01 Sep 29, 2006 12:13 AM

                                                I thought it was average and certainly not worth the hassle if you happen to get a table in one of those upstairs rooms.

                                      2. s
                                        Sweatshirt Guy RE: Brian S Sep 17, 2006 09:02 PM

                                        Happy Joy on Canal and Essex great Malaysian duck soup. The seafood joint on Grand and Essex has amazing fried whiting and the scallops and blackbean sauce are superb.

                                        1. Brian S RE: Brian S Sep 18, 2006 12:16 AM

                                          I just went back to Lucky Eleven. Last year they had gone downhill but I'm happy to report Lady Luck has returned. I ordered duck blood cake with pig (or maybe beef)intestines. It was prepared differently from the last time I had it, but it was very very good. There was a thin but savory brown sauce, and it came in a chafing dish with a flame underneath so it bubbled as I ate.

                                          One thing I forgot to mention. They have a fairly long menu and takeout menu, but they have a much longer menu with all the good stuff on it. If they give you the shorter menu, get the longer one. It's next to the cash register in the back.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Brian S
                                            designerboy01 RE: Brian S Sep 29, 2006 01:16 AM

                                            I like eating blood before but some older folks deter me from eating it saying it was dirty.

                                          2. csw RE: Brian S Sep 18, 2006 02:30 AM

                                            How does Dannys' preserved veg and pork belly rate against new chao chaos 'fat pork with salted vegetables on rice' on mott st? Its not a dish I typically order but only on special occasions when i dont believe my cholesteral exists.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: csw
                                              Brian S RE: csw Sep 18, 2006 03:51 PM

                                              I haven't tried the new chaozhou place, but several restaurants prepare pork belly in a big clay pot, sauteed with delicious veggies that remind me of collard greens. East Ocean does it, Cantoon Garden has it, and so does Congee Village on Allen. Sing Wong has it too. It's not always on the English menu, though. I like this casserole far better than Danny Ng's version. Oh, and you'll love Dong Po pork at a shanghainese restaurant. Shanghai Cafe has it, but not on the English menu.

                                            2. designerboy01 RE: Brian S Sep 28, 2006 10:11 PM

                                              I think new Green Bo has that dish with the pork belly. You don't have to get the whole casserole dish. You can just get it on a plate of rice. Its usually made with salted cabbage or with taro. My family made this several times when I was a kid. It takes some work to really make it right. But the last time we had it cooked in our family is when the pot cover exploded into the air. It can be a dangerous meal to make.

                                              1. sing me a bar RE: Brian S Sep 29, 2006 03:34 AM

                                                Wasn't Wo Fat one of the old classic joints? Did it close long ago?

                                                1. Brian S RE: Brian S Oct 15, 2006 01:10 AM

                                                  I walked down Mott Street today, and continued down East Broadway. It's a walk I do all the time, but I lost count of the restaurants I hadn't noticed before. Most were humble dumpling and noodle shops along Catherine and Henry, but I saw at least three major new places along E Bway.

                                                  I give up, I thought. I'll never be able to eat at every restaurant in Chinatown. I eat out every day but they open faster than I can try them. Actually, I won't give up. I'll never succeed but it is such fun trying.

                                                  The three new restaurants are:
                                                  1. A new Fujianese place at 40 (about) E Bway

                                                  2. Across the street at (about) no. 41, an entrance you barely notice leads to a narrow stairway to a huge and opulent banquet hall (called King's something) Cantonese. If you took a photo of yourself reclining in the padded armchairs near the entrance, you could tell everyone it was taken in one of Saddam's old palaces. It's that over the top opulent.

                                                  3. At 13A Market St, around the corner, is a tiny place which has solved the problem of printing a second secret menu in Chinese. They don't have any menus in English! From what I can make out, it's Cantonese, there are hundreds of dishes I've never seen before.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: Brian S
                                                    Chandavkl RE: Brian S Oct 15, 2006 05:23 PM

                                                    Interesting to me that you share my goal of eating at every restaurant in Chinatown. You have one big advantage over me, though--I live in Los Angeles and only get to New York three or four times a year. At that rate, I'm probably only barely over 100 restaurants. Do you have a feel for the total number of restaurants in New York Chinatown? My rough guess is in the low to mid two hundreds, though I only recently discovered restaurants on places like Henry St. and other streets south of East Broadway, so maybe there are more. Compare this to San Francisco Chinatown, which only has half that number, or Los Angeles Chinatown which only has a few dozen, and you can see what a challenge eating your way through New York Chinatown is.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl
                                                      Polecat RE: Chandavkl Oct 15, 2006 06:15 PM

                                                      Still, though, for an LA resident, 100 restaurants visited is impressive. Admittedly, I'm a Chinatown regular, and you've put me to shame. Alas, I must eat.

                                                      1. re: Chandavkl
                                                        Brian S RE: Chandavkl Oct 16, 2006 03:51 PM

                                                        I admire you for this. But don't forget that NYC has FIVE Chinatowns!

                                                        1. re: Brian S
                                                          Chandavkl RE: Brian S Oct 16, 2006 04:09 PM

                                                          Well I've been a few times to Flushing and 8th Ave. Brooklyn and once to Ave U. Brooklyn, too, for a couple dozen more. What's the fifth Chinatown?

                                                          1. re: Chandavkl
                                                            Brian S RE: Chandavkl Oct 16, 2006 05:41 PM

                                                            Elmhurst. I've been to two good places there.


                                                            1. re: Brian S
                                                              Chandavkl RE: Brian S Oct 16, 2006 08:18 PM

                                                              Thanks. Actually I had been to a couple of Chinese seafood places on Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst about 10 years ago. I guess one of them is a branch of Ping's now. Didn't realize that area had turned into a small Chinatown.

                                                              1. re: Brian S
                                                                ltlevy RE: Brian S Oct 17, 2006 02:28 AM

                                                                If Elmhurst is also considered a Chinatown, then there are 6. According to a special that was run on the NYC PBS station, there is a Chinatown in Staten Island.

                                                                1. re: ltlevy
                                                                  Pan RE: ltlevy Nov 3, 2006 06:26 AM

                                                                  Any more info on its location? Post to Outer Boroughs, if you prefer.

                                                                  1. re: Pan
                                                                    ltlevy RE: Pan Nov 5, 2006 10:24 PM

                                                                    Sorry... No information on where in Staten Island it is. We live in Westchester, so Staten Island is a bit of a schlep. Just know of its existence from the PBS special.

                                                                    1. re: Pan
                                                                      squid kun RE: Pan Nov 6, 2006 12:15 AM

                                                                      Possible clue ... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                          2. re: Brian S
                                                            Brian S RE: Brian S Oct 16, 2006 03:52 PM

                                                            Last night I ate at the place on Market Street. Here's my report:


                                                            1. re: Brian S
                                                              designerboy01 RE: Brian S Nov 4, 2006 06:25 AM

                                                              Interesting report I have to go try that place. Thanks!

                                                            2. re: Brian S
                                                              csw RE: Brian S Oct 17, 2006 04:42 AM

                                                              2 and 3- these places have been here for years.

                                                            3. sing me a bar RE: Brian S Oct 15, 2006 01:44 AM

                                                              I remember wo fat, I think, from childhood. Where was Sun Luck? That was great I think.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: sing me a bar
                                                                michele cindy RE: sing me a bar Oct 16, 2006 12:19 PM

                                                                I remember a place Yun Luck on Doyer St. Popular in the mid-late 70's. They had the best Cantonese Crabs I've ever had. I found this old photo of Doyer St.. Long ago, but the St. still looks like it hasn't changed much. http://www.nychinatown.org/history/ph...

                                                                1. re: michele cindy
                                                                  sing me a bar RE: michele cindy Oct 16, 2006 05:48 PM

                                                                  Great pic, Michelle! I'm beginning to remember that Sun Luck may've been an upper west side place. We also used to go to Shun Lee in the 60's & 70's, and get authentic Szechuan twice cooke pork and such delicacies.

                                                                  1. re: michele cindy
                                                                    Chandavkl RE: michele cindy Oct 16, 2006 08:27 PM

                                                                    Nice shot of where Doyers St. makes the turn. That portion of Doyers was known as "Bloody Angle" in the early 20th Century as more than one gang member was ambushed there during the Chinatown wars of that era.

                                                                    1. re: michele cindy
                                                                      designerboy01 RE: michele cindy Nov 4, 2006 06:29 AM

                                                                      Yun Luck use to have the best duck with monks delight veggies. It later got popular as a restaurant for the post funeral meal.

                                                                  2. j
                                                                    JILLIE RE: Brian S Oct 31, 2006 03:28 PM


                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JILLIE
                                                                      Brian S RE: JILLIE Oct 31, 2006 04:07 PM

                                                                      It's called New Lok Kee and yes it used to be in Chinatown at 13 Mott. Now it's in Flushing.

                                                                      New Lok Kee
                                                                      36-50 Main Street (37th Avenue), Flushing, Queens
                                                                      (718) 762-6048.


                                                                      1. re: Brian S
                                                                        JILLIE RE: Brian S Oct 31, 2006 04:13 PM

                                                                        thanks brian! would have taken me forever to find it!!!
                                                                        my stomach is yearning for their sea bass in ginger sauce, and by tomorrow night, i will have satiated both my belly and my mouth! thanks again!

                                                                        1. re: Brian S
                                                                          jillita RE: Brian S Mar 29, 2007 06:40 PM

                                                                          Thanks for this. My husband and I shared so many meals at Sun Lok Kee while falling in love. we regularly ate salt and apper squids, ginger and scallion lo mein, spinach with garlic, and their fab. won ton soup. Broth to die for. So glad to see they're still around!

                                                                      2. i
                                                                        Info RE: Brian S Nov 3, 2006 02:04 PM

                                                                        Does anyone remember the name a the restaurant that oocupied the second floor of a building on Mott Street about half way between Bayard and Pell on the East side of the street. Was approximately where the store that produces noodles and wonton wrappers is now.

                                                                        The specialty was whole suckling pig.

                                                                        Any help is appreciated.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Info
                                                                          designerboy01 RE: Info Nov 4, 2006 06:32 AM

                                                                          That place use to have a bar and had the best fish head casserole dish. My family use to get that for takeout all the time. Sorry don't remeber it. Did the name begin with a K??

                                                                          1. re: Info
                                                                            jillita RE: Info Mar 29, 2007 06:36 PM

                                                                            Wasn't it called 22 Mott??

                                                                          2. Brian S RE: Brian S Nov 6, 2006 03:26 PM

                                                                            I went back to Lucky 11 last night and it's still a winner. They have changed the menu again. It used to be entirely Taiwanesee with Shanghai dishes thrown in to please the Taiwanese who originally came from Shanghai. Then they put some Cantonese dishes in the menu. Now it's almost entirely Cantonese, with a few Taiwanese dishes left in. I had a casserole of duck (mostly bone, unfortunately, little meat), Chinese sausage and taro. It was very well prepared, and the creamy brown bubbling sauce was unusually good.

                                                                            1. Brian S RE: Brian S Dec 17, 2007 08:12 AM

                                                                              It's been over a year since I wrote this. There have been a lot of meals since then, and some changes, so I thought I'd do a short update.

                                                                              Danny Ng, Dragon, and Asian Cafe have closed. Sing Wong is also closed but that might be temporary. Lucky 11 has changed its name to New Hong Ying, but it's basically the same (with more Cantonese and fewer Taiwanese dishes). I haven't been back to Mr Tang but it's still thriving.

                                                                              There were a lot of replies to my original post and a lot of restaurants were mentioned. I've eaten twice at Yuen Yuen on Bayard. The menu is in Chinese (except for a tiny handwritten English menu with a few selections) and the patrons are too. The food is good though far from spectacular, mostly old Cantonese standbys done well. You can get something like fish and tofu or beef with black bean sauce over rice for around $4. I've looked in on Nom Wah but never eaten there... it still seems frozen in amber. Hop Lee is still excellent. Their casseroles are cheap, huge, and very well made. It's almost always packed and with good reason. I've also eaten at Hsin Wong on Bayard. I had intestines with green pepper and, on another occasion, roast pork with tofu in brown sauce. Both well done, better than Yuen Yuen I think but not as good as, say Cantoon Garden. But my favorite place wasn't around when I wrote this post -- Amazing 66.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Brian S
                                                                                Lau RE: Brian S Dec 17, 2007 08:48 AM

                                                                                fyi, ive never eaten at yuen yuen, but i believe they are known for herbal soup type stuff and some more exotic things like snake...not for standard fare

                                                                                1. re: Lau
                                                                                  squid kun RE: Lau Dec 17, 2007 09:13 AM

                                                                                  Besides the medicinal stuff, Yuen Yuen does nice rice casseroles with various things on top, something like the ones at Yummy Noodles.

                                                                                  Yummy Noodles
                                                                                  48 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                                                                  Yuen Yuen
                                                                                  61 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                                                                                  1. re: squid kun
                                                                                    Lau RE: squid kun Dec 17, 2007 11:06 AM

                                                                                    interesting, yummy noodle for rice claypot casserole is one of my favorites (wrote about it on another post about favorite ctown dishes)...how does it compare?

                                                                              2. c
                                                                                chazzerking RE: Brian S Dec 17, 2007 11:32 AM

                                                                                When I saw the title to this thread, i thought it was going to be about restaurants in C'town that have gone by the wayside or that people remembered as being great, etc. I spent 4 years living just a few blocks from there in the early 70's and can't even remember the names of more than 1 or 2. I remember 456, on Doyer towards the North west end, which had wonderful Seaweed fried fish, and t'ai chi chicken and chicken with chestnuts, and Szechuan Garden and Szechuan Taste accross from each other on the Bowery that did a great steamed Bass with black beans, and Mu shu pork, back when that wasn't available at McChinese takeaway and was a revelation. I also remember Hung Fat on Mott, but not for any great food, but because it was open til 3 a.m. and there was always an interesting assortment of patrons, including, on a couple of occasions, John Lennon. There was also HSF for dim sum, which I believe is still there, although it's been too long for me to vouch for the continued quality. I realize that this post may be just slightly off point as I read the rest, but I felt like sharing. So there it is.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chazzerking
                                                                                  Tay RE: chazzerking Dec 17, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                                  WhenI was a kid we used to go to Szechuan Taste all the time. I doubt that it exists now. I remember thinking it was so cool that they would seat strangers together when it was really busy. I don't know about adult tastes, but as a kid I remember thinking the food was so much better than our neighborhood restaurants. We ordered takeout from there so often, they gave us a few full sized restaurant menu's to take home. It was one of my first introductions to, 'out of the box' dining.

                                                                                  1. re: Tay
                                                                                    sing me a bar RE: Tay Dec 23, 2007 01:44 PM

                                                                                    I think the first time I ate Szechuan in after only having tasted Cantonese, it was like seeing God! I was converted to the joys of Capsicum! Szechuan Taste used to do the job just fine backin the days before Szechuan Gourmet and Grand Sichuan. I remember Bear's Claw (ma po tofu) as being a real eye opener the first time one tasted it.

                                                                                  2. re: chazzerking
                                                                                    Brian S RE: chazzerking Dec 17, 2007 05:46 PM

                                                                                    I'm glad you shared. I've tried to start posts on "restaurants you miss" but it's not allowed on this board. 456, which was on Chatham Square as I recall and not Doyers, lives on as "New Green Bo" on Bayard St and they probably still have seaweed fried fish pieces.

                                                                                    1. re: Brian S
                                                                                      RichardW RE: Brian S Dec 23, 2007 12:24 PM

                                                                                      You are right. New Green Bo does have seaweed fried fish. I think that they now call it yellow fish. At 456 it used to be called green fish. It is essentially the same dish.

                                                                                  3. p
                                                                                    Peter Cherches RE: Brian S Jan 8, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                                    There's a new 456 on Mott. Does anybody know if it's connected to the original?

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                      small h RE: Peter Cherches Jan 8, 2011 11:23 AM

                                                                                      I don't, but I've ordered in from 456 twice and been quite pleased with the food. I had the seafood casserole (standard issue, but generally fine), seafood noodle soup (ditto) and steamed mushroom and vegetable buns (pretty excellent, and a lot of food for the money).

                                                                                      1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                        gloriousfood RE: Peter Cherches Jan 8, 2011 05:15 PM

                                                                                        I've heard that it is the same family, different generation.

                                                                                        My family and I have very fond memories of the old 456. Goodness, we used to go there all the time and had many fine meals.

                                                                                        We were not terribly impressed with our food at the new 456--thought the food could use more seasoning. Service was very attentive and friendly.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        smiley4life25 RE: Brian S May 7, 2012 01:38 PM

                                                                                        In chinatown now, I usually try to see if there are new places that have new dishes but that is few and far between. I usually have a few places just so I know where to eat.
                                                                                        For noodles, I like Boky and gotta have their duck(on Bayard or grand st).
                                                                                        For somewhat family style, I like Congee at 98 Bowery so far, good food with decent portion sizes. Also I don't mind Amazing 66 on mott st.
                                                                                        For little meals Yuen Yuen and New green Bo pretty great on Bayard. What do you guys think? What are some dishes you guys wish were out there that are great or you would want more of? Chinatown now is full of Vietnamese and Shanghai places, just wondering how you guys feel especially if you live or plan to eat around chinatown. If you traveled to China/Hong Kong like me, anything different there that you don't see here that you want more of? Anything you ate thats great there that you find that tastes the same or even better here? I would definitely like to taste it as well.

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