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Mar 29, 2007 11:11 AM

Ex-Manhattanite in town for Cantonese


What do you all consider to be the best Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown? My husband I used to eat all the time on Mott St. at the wonderful divey Sun Lok Kee, which removed to Flushing (or maybe it was Jackson Heights) some years back. We're looking for one of these cheap, hole in the wall serving fresh and savory foods of the kind you just can't get in the southwest.

Thanks for all your help!


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  1. You should probably start out with this thread from Brian S. Most, though not all of the
    Chinese restaurants in the historic core Chinatown are Cantonese.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Thanks, I did visit that thread, but am looking for more current specifics.


      1. re: jillita

        P.S. Sorry... that was a lazy and snotty sounding response, I was just pressed for time and feared that the good places of last year were probably out of business by now. I've looked into some of the recommendations and they're still there. Thanks for the link. J

    2. I never made it to Sun Lok Kee, and haven't yet been to their new place in Flushing. (you might want to go there, you might recognize the waiters!). But from your description (on the Forgotten Restaurants post) it sounds like an old-school place run by people from Toishan, near Canton, and serving a mix of Chinatown crowd-pleasers and old-fashioned Toishan dishes. There are two places still around that do that really well. The restaurant at 9 Chatham Square and also Hop Lee, 16 Mott St You might also like Amazing 66 on Mott. I hope you enjoy and relive old times.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Brian S

        Thanks so much. Judging by the responses on Amazing 66, I've put that at the top of the list. What struck me about Sun Lok Kee, was that the waiters were hard bitten, dismissive, and sometimes even rude, but that was okay because the food was so stellar, and two could feast for $13, but once we took our son there and the staff made a bee line towards him and smiled broadly and carried him around and they were just brilliant, and after that they even liked us okay --which was so important to us, because the food was so good we never felt worthy! I can still taste the ginger and scallion lo mein, just the right amount of oil-burnt on some noodles, aromatic with garlic, and the pungent and earthy black bean chicken, and crisp salt and pepper squids on the late, rainy Saturday afternoons after walking there from Brooklyn.

        1. re: jillita

          But it's love and happy memories you are tasting! I bet if the best chef in China prepared the most elaborate banquet for you, it wouldn't taste as good as those noodles at Sun Lok Kee.

          Though you're not alone in liking that place. A NY Times reporter wrote how much he missed it after it closed (and before it reopened in Queens)

        2. re: Brian S

          P.S. I may have to try Amazing 66 AND Fuleen. Poor me!

        3. I grew up with Sun Lok Kee as our regular destination with my family. We now go to Fuleen neaby on Division St. It's Cantonese cusine and specializes in fresh seafood.

          8 Replies
          1. re: censorone

            This tip sounds very promising. As I recall there was another excellent rest. on Division Street called the Great Shanghai. Ever eat there?


            1. re: jillita

              They're closed. But, if you want good seafood Fuleen Seafood on Division Street is good.

                1. re: jillita

                  I havent been to Fuleen in ten years. I used to go there with my dad and it was excellent. I should go back.

                  1. re: Brian S

                    I missed your ealier, post, Brian, about tasting happy memories. So true! My on going love affair with Chinatown and its food started some 36 years ago, when my parents took me and brother down from our home on the lower eastside, once a week, to "learn table manners and to learn to eat with chopsticks" in Chinatown. I recall many savory dishes of moo shu pork, and steamed buns, shrimp toasts, and egg custards, and then watching the tic tac toe and dancing chickens at the Chinatown carnival. Not sure if the food c. 1971 and pre American culinary revolution, was extraordinary, but to me it was the best in the entire world.

                  2. re: jillita

                    Personally I prefer East Seafood, a couple of doors down from Fuleen. But I don't want to complicate your choices any further.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Hi Chandavki,

                      What do you recommend at East Seafood?


                      1. re: jillita

                        Ended up at Amazing 66 on Mott. It's a lovely family style place, popular with 'locals' and the occasional business lunch and tourist looking for authentic budgetary Chinatown experience. It was a rainy and cold day, mid-week, after one in the afternoon. The place was jumping with many waiting. Despite the renovated pink granite-linoleum/large plastic covered banquet tables, high 80s decor appearance, place redolent of hot wok oil and the hint of fresh fish on the air -- as I associate with great C'town budget dining! Son and I were seated with a Chinese family at a large round table. They objected strongly to sitting with us at first, but when they saw we were there for chow and not chat, accepted our presence with equanimity and warmed up as time went on. Son and I had sauteed spinach braised in broth and garlic, which was sublime. The won ton soup broth lacked subtlety and was overly salted, however, the dumplings were delicate, savory, and perfectly done. The dough was thin and shivery and the pork was beautifully cooked and tender and not overly saturated in broth. We had general Tso's chicken which was done to perfection in jackets laden with a sweet and sour sauce. Served with hot chilis, you could add those to give the just-fried pieces a needed heat. The tea, when steeped, was welcoming and soothing. The rice was perfect and sticky. We paid a little over $20 and our overall impression was that the meal was comforting and "medicinal". The service was expert. We'd definitely go back and I would like to be more adventerous next time. All the diners seemed very happy with their choices. Shark's fin soup can be had here for a premium. All of the choices, to the eye, looked fresh and perfectly prepared. Amazing 66 was the family style restaurant I was looking for. Thanks, everyone!