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Is Hop Kee the best cheap Chinese in NY?

p
pork_buns Sep 7, 2007 02:03 PM

Someone told me the Duck Cantonese and the salt n pepper pork chops are amazing there. Anyone been?

My friend originally went there because he saw cops and Chinese people waiting for tables and thought that was a good sign. Sounded right to me.

Any other reccos for other cheap n cheerful Chinese places?

d

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Hop Kee
21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

  1. TBird Sep 7, 2007 02:07 PM

    wo hop!

    4 Replies
    1. re: TBird
      s
      Stuartmc910 Mar 2, 2011 01:19 PM

      Just went through all 58 replies and it appears that Wo Hop is getting the worst reviews. I wonder if it's because the elite snob foodies here can't think that they'd be caught dead in a place that has so many tourists. I've noticed that about other tourist places as well.

      -----
      Wo Hop
      17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: Stuartmc910
        f
        FoodDabbler Mar 2, 2011 05:14 PM

        Just went through none of the replies, but I can't imagine they have anything to do with elite food snobs here. Chowhounders eat happily at Katz's, overrun though it is with tourists, or at Shake Shack (most hounds anyway).

        1. re: Stuartmc910
          michele cindy Mar 3, 2011 04:38 AM

          No snobbery - I consider myself to be pretty humble... just bad food keeps me away. I was a very long time customer, 25+ years. About 3 or so years ago, each time going back thinking it was a fluke. Each time I had repeatedly bad food. Gloppy, greasy beyond what a greasy style of cooking should be etc. I'd love to go back for my favorite Cantonese Crab dish, & duck lo-mein. When were you there last? If you feel you can say the food was great on 3 recent visits, the items you ordered, and give a great review, 100% I'd be there again to give it another try.

          1. re: Stuartmc910
            a
            AubWah Nov 15, 2011 03:34 PM

            no its because wo hop serves repulsive garbage

        2. s
          sea97horse Sep 7, 2007 03:00 PM

          OK, so which Hop gets the Hound vote? I myself haven't been to either since the years of my dissipated youth...

          1. Brian S Sep 7, 2007 05:09 PM

            I've never been to Hop Kee or Wo Hop. I've never heard anything good about them. I like Hop Lee across the street, and also Cantoon Garden and New Big Wang on Elizabeth and Amazing 66 on Mott and the restaurant at 9 Chatham Square.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Brian S
              j
              JFores Nov 26, 2007 03:34 AM

              They're both pretty bad. Just American Chinese done at a slightly higher level and open till convenient hours... like 3am.

              1. re: Brian S
                r
                Renguin Jan 4, 2008 10:00 AM

                I second New Big Wong for cantonese standards. always get some sort of soup with he fen there, and their cha shao is pretty good too. it's dirt cheap too.

                1. re: Brian S
                  Gastronomicon Jan 1, 2010 09:05 PM

                  I second this. Although Hop Lee does serve Americanized Chinese food (there are always hordes of Long Islanders coming here for the same inauthentic crap they can find back in Long Island), the trick is to know what to ask for. Hop Lee's Boiled Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce (Par Wong Gai), Lobster Chunks in the shell Sauteed Cantonese Style with black beans, ground pork and eggs (Gong Doong Chao Loong Har), Twice-cooked Flounder Filets with Winter Squash (Loong Lei Kao), Pea Shoots Sauteed in Garlic (Suen Yoong Dao Miu) and Garlic Chip Roast Chicken are classical standbys. Have it with white rice if you want to include a "base" dish to eat it with (you don't have to but some people feel a meal is "incomplete" without rice). Only the "gwai lo" (barbarians) order the fried rice and other crap here. Even if you can't speak the lingo, they'll know you know your Chinese food if you order dishes like the above here because those are dishes you'll find at the more upscale Chinese households.

                  -----
                  Hop Lee
                  16 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                2. j
                  janbrady Sep 8, 2007 06:29 AM

                  Hop Kee rules! It often gets lumped in with Wo Hop because it's been next door for decades and is similarly divey, but it's excellent. My parents (one of whom is Chinese) have been taking me there for over 20 years. It's still cheap and no-frills, but believe it or not, they've actually cleaned up a little and bumped their prices up a smidge (I guess that's natural over time). Anyway, the food: our faves are the salt and pepper pork chops (perfectly seasoned and moist), the crab (forget the name on the menu, but it's one of their famous items--quartered hard shell crab in a delicious light, non-gloppy brown sauce), and the chicken chow fun (far less greasy and with bigger, drier chunks of chicken than you'll find elsewhere). Great steamed fish, too. I took a friend who grew up going to Wo Hop recently, and he declared Hop Kee the hands down winner. Wo Hop is an institution for late-nighters, I know; Hop Kee has same hours and prices but, I'll wager, far better food.

                  1. bigjeff Sep 8, 2007 08:38 AM

                    hop kee is actually pretty good; I'd also say the upstairs Wo Hop is better than the downstairs although historically, most people like the downstairs one. but for insane value, 69 is the late night place to beat; beef with egg over rice is something like 4 bucks (most of the over rice dishes are good, as well as the chow funs) and portions are huge. good eats after late night drunken karaoke at winnie's.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bigjeff
                      pinkylechat Sep 12, 2007 12:47 PM

                      I grew up in Chinatown but have never gone to Winnie's. What's the draw? Is Winnie still alive and kicking? She's the owner, right? What kind of crowd—aging pensionsers and the like? Are there other Chinatown bars worth visiting?

                      1. re: pinkylechat
                        bigjeff Sep 12, 2007 03:39 PM

                        I don't know who Winnie actually is, but I'm pretty sure it's not any of the bartenders there. as far as bars go, its pretty damn divey but everyone has a good time and they've got comfy banquets. plenty of old chinese dudes at the bar and playing video poker, but the crowd is actually pretty eclectic; lots of after work gatherings, tons of loud drunken karaoke; it's a great time!

                        some people go to asia roma which is on lower mulberry street, just across from columbus park, which is basically a typical looking bar, just with chinese people behind the counter. downstairs is a small basement which also has karaoke so if you get down there early, you can pretty much take it over. yello, also a karaoke place, is a few doors down, and, terrible. and of course there's double happiness just north of canal on mott street, but the scene is pretty tired. there is a pretty crazy bar just upstairs though, forget the name but it's very loud and fun and good DJs occasionally.

                        for me, Winnie's is low-key enough to be a great meeting place for some drinks and best in either large groups of friends, or a little one-on-one if you want some relative privacy.

                        1. re: bigjeff
                          s
                          scythide Nov 26, 2007 06:59 AM

                          Winnie doesn't bartend but she does show up at the bar a lot. Stare at the pictures behind the bar enough and you'll recognize her when she comes in. Doesn't speak too much English though.

                    2. Deenso Sep 8, 2007 01:46 PM

                      Hop Kee is our favorite Chinatown spot for crabs Cantonese, snails in black bean sauce and, my number one choice, pan-fried flounder. They also make a mean pork chow fun.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Deenso
                        k
                        KTinNYC Sep 8, 2007 05:42 PM

                        I'll second the snails at Hop Kee.

                        1. re: Deenso
                          j
                          janbrady Sep 9, 2007 07:33 AM

                          Crabs Cantonese. Thank you. Thought that was the name but couldn't be sure. And forgot to mention the snails--we didn't order them but were jealous of the folks across the aisle that did.

                          1. re: Deenso
                            s
                            sjjn Apr 13, 2011 10:53 AM

                            These dishes as well as salt and pepper squid and Peking Pork chop are the staples of my visits. Just change that chow fun to Roast Duck instead of pork and you're good to go.

                          2. Brian S Sep 8, 2007 05:02 PM

                            I just got back from Wo Hop and it was dreadful. I looked in on Hop Kee and from the menu it looks better. They even have a second menu, with a red cover, entirely in chinese.

                            1. Nick F. Sep 8, 2007 06:40 PM

                              I've always liked 69 Bayard in Chi-town, personally. Right down the block and dependably very good and very cheap.

                              1. f
                                foodluvngal Sep 9, 2007 08:22 AM

                                For those of you old enough to remember, we used to go to a place called Hong Wah at #8 Bowery. When it closed down 20+ years ago, we scoured Chinatown looking for comparable old-style NY Cantonese. The best, as far as I'm concerned, is, by far, Hop Kee. For a while there was Hong Ying Rice Shop, but they're gone too. The snails, crab, chow fun are terrific at Hop Kee. I also love their spareribs in black bean sauce. Having heard from others that Wo Hop is also good, I tried both up and downstairs and was terribly disappointed. During her trial, Martha Stewart ate at Hop Kee several times, but don't let that stop you - it really is terrific.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: foodluvngal
                                  funkjester Sep 9, 2007 08:28 AM

                                  yeah, back in the day, the Hunan House at 45 Mott St. was an awesome walkdown for great Szcheuan...ain't dere no mo', as they say in N'Awlins...last time I went, I was very disappointed to find a karaoke bar in it's place.

                                  1. re: foodluvngal
                                    Brian S Sep 9, 2007 09:45 AM

                                    Have you tried Hop Lee, across the street? It's very good. 9 Chatham Square is also a good old Toishan place.

                                    1. re: Brian S
                                      DarthEater Sep 9, 2007 10:23 AM

                                      I love chatham 9! I have fond memories of my grandparents sunday visitations along with a box of Dim Sum and baked goodies back in the 80's.
                                      New southwind is another on my list of cheap lunches. They close at 6 I believe.

                                      1. re: DarthEater
                                        Linda Sep 9, 2007 07:54 PM

                                        i had to chime in for one of my favorite spots, a place my family and i have been going to for nearly 30 years. yes, there are cheaper chinese restaurants in chinatown, but this continues to be a mainstay.

                                        there are 2 types of crabs - one is crabs cantonese style, which has a sauce. then there's another that we generically refer to as crabs chinese style, which has no sauce at all, but is filled with that addictive "stuffing" they mix in with the crabs. they've raised the prices quite a bit over the years, but not enough for it to be a bad deal.

                                        also want to third, fourth... the snails, the flounder, and the (beef) chow fun. i can usually eat an order of beef chow fun myself. i think there's crack in it.

                                        you will come out stinkin' of crabs, but it's so worth it.

                                        remember the hong kong cake lady that had the stand right above hop kee's? gosh, i'm still so upset that she's closed. can anyone suggest a similar replacement?? THANK YOU in advanced.

                                        1. re: Linda
                                          Brian S Sep 10, 2007 10:05 AM

                                          Linda which restaurant are you talking about? 9 Chatham? And I wish someone would tell me how to eat those crabs!

                                          1. re: Brian S
                                            michele cindy Sep 13, 2007 05:08 AM

                                            Eating Cantonese crabs. (My favorite pastime) Leg and body pieces: suck off all the sauce, pull each leg out, twist and gently turn them, do it carefully so that you get a large piece of meat where the leg meets the body. Eat the big piece. Take tiny leg and place in your mouth, pull and chew to get all of the tiny meat out. After you eat the legs, pull the body apart, you can use a large claw as a tool for scooping out the meat, or just dig in with your finger. For the hard shell tops, take some rice, place it into the shell, add a tad more sauce from the dish, and scrape around with your chopstick, now eat the filling. As far as the large claws go, I personally hate them, but will eat them rather then waste it. If you can get a cracker get one, otherwise you'll end up at the dentist, as I have until I learned my lesson.
                                            Maybe you can help me to find the best place for Cantonese crabs these days. Long ago my favorite spot was Yun Luck, (I really miss that place) which is not there anymore, then Wo hop, which I won't go to anymore. Thanks

                                            1. re: Brian S
                                              Linda Sep 13, 2007 11:01 AM

                                              hop kee's, in the basement. it's the one on mott & mosco, on the corner. the hong kong lady's stand is still right above the restaurant, but it's gate permanently closed. sigh.

                                              1. re: Linda
                                                michele cindy Sep 16, 2007 05:42 PM

                                                I went to new greeb bo about 2 weeks ago, when I was there the place above hop kee they were putting a huge neon sign above it. Any idea what it was? I was just passing as they were raising it.

                                                1. re: michele cindy
                                                  j
                                                  janbrady Sep 17, 2007 07:18 AM

                                                  Michele, best post ever. Run, don't walk, to Hop Kee for the crabs Cantonese.

                                                  I also wonder what that place above Hop Kee will be. Used to be a little dim sum place.

                                                  Linda, I didn't realize the cake lady was permanently gone! I have such fond memories of stopping for a hot bag of egg cakes with my parents on our way out of Hop Kee.

                                            2. re: Linda
                                              g
                                              Greg Sep 17, 2007 12:52 PM

                                              Linda, if you're talking about the egg cakes, there are several people in little carts that sell them. My favorite is an older man who usually has his cart on the southeast corner of Grand and Bowery. I've also seen a couple who sells out of a cart on Bowery just south of Pell, but they weren't quite as good.

                                              1. re: Greg
                                                Linda Nov 26, 2007 06:23 AM

                                                yes! the egg cakes. thank you for your tips, i will have to check them out. as you mentioned in the latter cart, i've seen some but they were such poor substitutions of the hong kong egg cake lady of yesteryears.

                                                thanks!

                                              2. re: Linda
                                                c
                                                chenhouse Dec 17, 2009 01:40 PM

                                                I miss that hong kong cake lady myself. I was back in town from LA and went to Hop Kee on Monday night, and just thought to myself what does that lady do now? Used to get at least 2 bags from her after Hop Kee. The first bag was usually devoured while waiting for the 2nd bag.

                                                I also want to 19th the vote on the snails, flounder and Cantonese crabs. But I'd also like to add my vote on the winter melon soup there as well.

                                                Been going there as well for over thirty years and I remarked on Monday how the place did look way cleaner. Always remembered some kind of film or grease on the floors. Especially in the bathroom. If I remember correctly, they used to have the cloth towel roll in there. Now they have some xcellerator dryer.

                                                In terms of the cake lady replacement, there are people with carts, but just not the same.

                                            3. re: Brian S
                                              m
                                              moymoy Sep 10, 2007 10:57 AM

                                              Hop Lee's (not to get confused with Hop Kee) is great. That's my family's go-to-place for old school Cantonese. The pan fried flounder with golden tofu squares is to die for.

                                              1. re: moymoy
                                                t
                                                Ted in Central NJ Sep 12, 2007 03:48 PM

                                                I agree!

                                                Hop Lee is terrific, especially for their Pan-Fried Flounder with Tsing Gwah (sp?) My former SO, who is Chinese, introduced me to the place years ago, and it is still excellent.

                                                Also, if you really want cheap and authentic, try Noodle Town on The Bowery (Chatham Square). You have to share a table with others, but it is really authentic and cheap!

                                          2. via jon Sep 12, 2007 02:29 PM

                                            can someone tell me where Hop Kee is? Seems like everyone in my company has been talking so highly of it, but no one is able to tell me where it is...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: via jon
                                              s
                                              sea97horse Sep 12, 2007 03:47 PM

                                              21 Mott, off of Mosco,downstairs. I was there for lunch today and had an insanely good dish: fried wontons (totally non-greasy) in an oyster sauce with strips of roast duck, chicken, and pork, plus a quantity of shrimp, plus a heap of bok choy and various other vegetables. YUM! It was enough for a family of four, but it was so good I coudn't stop eating. An unassuming, clean, place, and the waiters were quite nice. Go!

                                            2. f
                                              foodwhisperer Sep 16, 2007 05:59 PM

                                              wo hop downstairs at 17 mott ,, best cheap low mein , chow fun, and congee .. thats all i recommend there . It's cheap its good and cops eat there too. Even chinese cops.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                michele cindy Sep 17, 2007 04:23 AM

                                                When was the last time you were there? http://www.chowhound.com/topics/439410

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                  f
                                                  FLnow Mar 6, 2008 02:49 PM

                                                  Excuse my ignorance, but what is chow fun? Menu selections are few at the Chinese restaurants in N. FL and I've never had this.

                                                  1. re: FLnow
                                                    fgf Mar 6, 2008 03:33 PM

                                                    It's a broad rice noodle.

                                                    1. re: fgf
                                                      f
                                                      FLnow Mar 28, 2008 11:49 PM

                                                      Thank you!

                                                    2. re: FLnow
                                                      Chandavkl Mar 6, 2008 05:59 PM

                                                      Note also chow fun is a fresh noodle which probably doesn't have a shelf life of more than a couple of days. Consequently restaurants that serve it must be within a reasonable distance of a Chinese noodle factory. I'm guessing the closest to you would be in Orlando.

                                                      1. re: Chandavkl
                                                        f
                                                        FLnow Mar 28, 2008 11:49 PM

                                                        Well, that would explain why I've never seen it on a NE FL menu! Thanks!

                                                  2. LIfoodie Sep 16, 2007 06:10 PM

                                                    I have had a few excellent dishes at New Chao Chow, 111 Mott. Very inexpensive. Anyone else have experiences there?

                                                    1. m
                                                      mahalan Sep 17, 2007 08:41 AM

                                                      Went there the other day after reading about it here. Was very disappointed. The sauce for the crabs cantonese was a bland lobster sauce while the sauce for the snails was too salty. As far as cheap goes, no way. Our bill for the two of us was almost $40 - by no means expensive but certainly not cheap.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: mahalan
                                                        Linda Sep 17, 2007 08:50 AM

                                                        lobster sauce? you mean like that white-ish creamy lobster sauce blobs served at local chinese takeout joints???

                                                        hmm, that doesn't sound right. it's a more soy sauce based, dark sauce?

                                                        1. re: mahalan
                                                          m
                                                          mahalan Sep 17, 2007 09:50 AM

                                                          Not the other night, unfortunately. It was a white-ish creamy sauce w/ scrambled egg and ground meat. Definitely not a dark, soy sauce based sauce.

                                                          1. re: mahalan
                                                            michele cindy Sep 17, 2007 10:43 AM

                                                            That sounds like lobster cantonese.

                                                        2. s
                                                          sukmon Sep 17, 2007 12:35 PM

                                                          def not New Green Bo has great soup dumplings and other schezhuan style food, there are some lines though.

                                                          g

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: sukmon
                                                            j
                                                            JFores Nov 26, 2007 03:36 AM

                                                            They have bad Szechuanese and Shanghai food actually.

                                                          2. Brian S Nov 25, 2007 04:22 PM

                                                            I went to Hop Kee tonight for the first time. I ordered a dofu dish from the Chinese menu. (Almost all the dishes on the Chinese menu are also on the English menu but this was an exception.) It was pillowy cubes of bean curd fried on the edges with pork strips, onions and a few mushrooms, with a bit of thin brown sauce. It was oddly flavorless, maddeningly so, and finally in desperation I put in a bit of soy sauce when the waiters weren't looking. Based on that one dish this place is well below the Chinatown average. (In food quality; the service is good.) But it is far FAR better than Wo Hop.

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

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: Brian S
                                                              fgf Nov 25, 2007 04:50 PM

                                                              Brian, you've inspired me to go to Amazing 66 for lunch tomorrow (Haven't tried it yet and I need to experiment more). Any recommendations? I eat everything.

                                                              1. re: fgf
                                                                bigjeff Nov 26, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                                others may report the same thing; good for group meals because a lot of the good dishes (short ribs in pumpkin, chicken stuffed w/ sticky rice, and a bunch more) are definitely not for 1 or even 3, but there were extensively posted lunch specials and single meals I think by Brian S, early on.

                                                                1. re: fgf
                                                                  Brian S Nov 26, 2007 08:14 AM

                                                                  I've never been for lunch but they serve $5 meals until 3:30PM. Let me know if it's good! I posted a lot of dinner recs in my replies on this post (my favorite is braised duck)
                                                                  www.chowhound.com/topics/340879

                                                                  1. re: Brian S
                                                                    fgf Nov 27, 2007 02:39 PM

                                                                    Today was my Amazing 66 lunch (yesterday was my main stay, Szechuan Gourmet, crispy braised bean curd with pork belly, chili and leeks. Very good). Amazing 66 was a great experience.

                                                                    After a nice long walk around Chinatown I walked to the restaurant then did what I almost always do when having lunch alone, look for a place to buy a NY Times or other suitable reading material. Here things got a little complicated as every news shop for a few blocks had only Chinese language newspapers (what dialect I have no idea). I might have been able to get a racing form but wasn't interested. About four blocks north into Little Italy I was able to secure a Daily News which proved adequate and headed back to Amazing 66.

                                                                    I was seated at a communal table which was perfectly fine but outside the norm for me and handed the regular menu. Very nice menu, but it didn't include a lunch menu which I noticed other people (Chinese people) had. I asked for one and it was provided. I have been eating a lot of meat lately so I ordered the Pan Fried Butterfish with Soy Sauce, it sounded innocuous enough and pretty simple. While I enjoyed my included hot and sour soup (it seemed as if most others were enjoying some other soup, just broth) the diners at my table received their dishes and boy did they look good: fatty pork and what looked like caramelized onions, battered and fried shrimp, some stew looking thing with beef, carrot and potato.

                                                                    Then came the Butterfish, not what I expected but very good. A plate full of small whole fish - maybe freshwater fish which I hardly ever eat - head, fins, bones and skin. What was great is that I really enjoyed it but might not have ordered it had I known the presentation. A lot of little bones to deal with and a little labor intensive. But subtle flovors, nice meat and great textures. It seems I could spend weeks working through the five dollar lunch menu, a better deal in Manhattan would be hard to find. Next time I'm getting that fatty pork dish with the caramelized onions, at least I think they were onions.

                                                                    1. re: fgf
                                                                      Brian S Nov 27, 2007 05:18 PM

                                                                      Thank you so much for posting this. I haven't had lunch in Chinatown since the day ten years ago when I ordered lunch in my favorite restaurant and what I got, which was always carefully and perfectly cooked at dinner, was just slopped together in a wok, and was horrible. When I mentioned it to the waiter, he said, of course! You can't expect it to be made well for five dollars! Well at Amazing 66 I guess I can. I will link this to the main Amazing 66 post.

                                                                      The Chinese written language is the same for all dialects! That's the great thing about having ideographs. Those used in mainland China are slightly simplified and thus slightly different from those used in Taiwan, but they are similar to the Japanese kanji

                                                                      1. re: fgf
                                                                        s
                                                                        SomeRandomIdiot Nov 28, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                                        For the pan fried butterfish, if its crispy enough, you can eat the whole thing. Just crunch through the head/bones/tail so it's not labor intensive at all. My favorite part of the fish when its crispy like that is the head. I wish I could get there for lunch on weekdays. I only have access to the places by Grand and Chrystie because I can get there and back within 35 mins or so.

                                                                        1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                                                          fgf Nov 28, 2007 11:24 AM

                                                                          Dear SomeRandomIdiot,

                                                                          Oh, I ate some bone allright. You're absolutely right, the whole fish is edible, and the bones offer a nice texture. However, the spine is a little much for my delicate sensibilities so I basically pulled the meat from the carcass with my teeth (not fully clenched) leaving the spine but eating whatever bone came along with the flesh. I ate three heads out of six or seven fishies. Very crunchy, better than fritos. I tried to take a look around and see exactly how much of the little suckers other people were leaving uneaten but couldn't tell (though it is a popular item). I don't feel guilty leaving a few heads, tails and a bunch of fish spines. I got my $4.95 worth. From Grand and Crystie (I walked there after for the subway) it's about two and a half minutes to Amazing 66. Less if you run. It's worth the run.

                                                                          1. re: fgf
                                                                            fgf Nov 29, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                                            Correction: Amazing 66 is about a six to seven minute walk from Grand and Crystie.

                                                                2. s
                                                                  suprakent Jan 4, 2008 07:39 AM

                                                                  It all depends on what time you are going to eat. Before 10 Amazing 66 is pretty good for innovative food at a decent price. If you have been drinking all night it would either be 69 of Wo Hop because I beleive that Hop Kee is closed at midnight now. If you go to Wo Hop be sure to go upstairs. The place in the basement is different owners and there food is terrible. I wouldn't eat in Wo Hop basement if it was the last thing on earth and they were giving it to me for free. Noodle Town is cheap but it just doesn't taste as good as it use to and the lady at the counter is just a b*tch especially if you are ordering take-out. Wo Hop closes at 5 a.m. and probably is the best food after a hard night of drinking.

                                                                  1. menton1 Feb 28, 2011 03:37 PM

                                                                    Does this place have Shrimp in BROWN lobster sauce? Or is that Hop Lee?

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Hop Lee
                                                                    16 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: menton1
                                                                      z
                                                                      Zabar Apr 9, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                      I have been reading many of the older Chinatown threads since I finally decided to join Chowhound a couple of days ago.
                                                                      I'm surprised that no one has mentioned two of my very favorite historic dishes at Hop Kee. I was introduced to Hop Kee back in 1966 by a Chinese fishing buddy (Herbie) and I've been totally hooked ever since.
                                                                      Okay you foodies.... how about the "Steak with Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce" or my wife's favorite thing in the world to eat... "Wor Shui Kau Soup". I used to have a Hop Kee menu at home, and, I'd call them with our list of take-out food selections while I was enroute from New Jersey. By doing this, I didn't have to worry about finding a parking space on Mott Street which was always impossible. I'd also ask the cashier for the exact price of the food that I had ordered, so that I could get the correct amount of cash out of my pocket (while I was stopped at traffic lights) and then be able to immediately park at the fire hydrant that's right out in front of 21 Mott Street, dash downstairs, put the money on the counter, grab the food, and run back to my car with the two overflowing shopping bags, well before any "brownie" could put a ticket on my illegally parked car.
                                                                      I'm such a fan of Hop Kee's cooking that I eventually realized that I had to specify that I did NOT want any salt in the oyster sauce that was drizzled on top of the “appetizer” version of Shui Kau. (Shui Kau are huge dumplings filled with pork and veggies - amongst other things). For those of you that are also very fond of the Steamed Shui Kau appetizer, you must know that the chefs add way too much salt to the oyster sauce. I would normally get an extra order of the steamed Shui Kau and devour them on the way home to New Jersey.
                                                                      By the way, the "Cantonese Sea Snails in Black Bean Sauce" have also been a perennial favorite, although the recent crew of chefs that Hop Kee has imported from Taiwan cannot even begin to duplicate (IMO) the quality of the spicy (with hot green peppers) black bean sauce that was served with the Sea Snails many years ago. The petite lady cashier is also now departed, having retired a couple of years ago. Oh, and another great Hop Kee dish that no one had mentioned is the "Steamed Whole Sea Bass in Black Bean Sauce".
                                                                      It's really fun to reminisce about the good old days.
                                                                      The very first time that I tasted Shui Kau was in the early 60s in a restaurant on the Bowery (between Pell and Canal) that was known as "New Pine Garden Restaurant", and, the very first time that I ate in Chinatown was in 1960, at "Wah Kee Restaurant" that was located right off of Pell Street, at the back corner of Doyers Street. Zabar

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

                                                                      1. re: Zabar
                                                                        menton1 Apr 10, 2011 07:00 AM

                                                                        Nice memories-- My favorite place was Kam Bo on Bayard St. However, I never liked to take out, for whatever reason the food didn't taste quite the same and the experience of the retro feel of these places just didn't translate well to takeout.

                                                                        Did you NEVER eat in at the place? I mean, parking was daunting, but if you had patience and were willing to walk a few blocks, it was possible.

                                                                        1. re: menton1
                                                                          Chandavkl Apr 10, 2011 11:49 AM

                                                                          Kam Bo taught me an interesting lesson about Chinese food. I was used to hearing people saying that if you were unfamiliar with the area, choose the Chinese restaurant with the biggest crowd of Chinese diners. So when my wife and I made our first visit to NY Chinatown long ago we followed that rule to take us to Kam Bo Rice Shoppe. That's where we learned the corollary to the main rule, that a large crowd of Chinese diners could also mean big portions at a cheap price that wasn't especially tasty.

                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl
                                                                            menton1 Apr 11, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                                            I thought it was very tasty-- loved their "Iron Steak", which is not be be seen on any menus anywhere again. Sad. That was a fabulous dish! Even had melodrama, it came out sizzling and noisy!

                                                                            1. re: menton1
                                                                              z
                                                                              Zabar Apr 11, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                                              Dear "mentio0n1":
                                                                              We've eaten at Hop Kee 100s of times over many years. It became somewhat inconvenient to eat there when we moved out of Manhattan.
                                                                              However, whenever we come into the city to a museum, etc., I will take the time to find a parking spot, rather than do the take-out. FYI, the Wor Shui Kau soup travels very well, as does the "Steak and Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce". The "Sea Snails in Black Bean Sauce" tastes much better when it is eaten straight to the table at Hop Kee, but I'd rather eat that dish when it is not at the top of its form, instead of eating at ANY of the zillions of Chinese restaurants in New Jersey. Zabar

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

                                                                        2. re: Zabar
                                                                          h
                                                                          HippieChick Feb 16, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                          I remember Hong Hing, I think it was called. on Mott right at the intersection with Bayard? We would have duck congee at Wo Hop (it was really the best we could find), or wonton soup (the mustard greens gave it a nice flavor), then move along to Hong Hing for fung won gai (chicken wrapped around ham and deep fried). Maybe not so Chinese, but it was dee-lish. Long gone...

                                                                          1. re: HippieChick
                                                                            penthouse pup Feb 16, 2012 03:01 PM

                                                                            Hong Ying was the place, at 11 Mott. Very much missed and gone a long time...

                                                                          2. re: Zabar
                                                                            z
                                                                            Zabar Feb 16, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                            Sadly, my family recently visited Hop Kee and we were all very disappointed in the quality of the following dishes that we ordered:
                                                                            Cantonese Crabs
                                                                            Steak with Chinese Broccoli (in oyster sauce)
                                                                            Sea Snails in Black Bean Sauce

                                                                            However, the Wor Shui Kau Soup continued to be superb! Zabar

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

                                                                        3. Motosport Feb 17, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                          The new 456 on Mott St

                                                                          -----
                                                                          456 Shanghai Cuisine
                                                                          69 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                                                          1. m
                                                                            Madame_Bijou Apr 20, 2012 11:12 PM

                                                                            4-20-2012

                                                                            After reading several positive reviews on Hop Kee posted within the last 3 months, we decided to try it today, and found the reviews were very accurate... with one exception.

                                                                            The menu prices have dramatically increased.

                                                                            The reviews advised us to ignore the humble ambiance and the stone faced waitstaff and concentrate on the great food, and that was great advice. The decor is extremely basic and though the waitstaff were not warm and friendly, they were polite and helpful. The dining room reminded us of the basic decor of a McDonalds's but we hardly noticed it once were were seated because we had a birds-eye view of two employees seated at a large table in the back corner, trimming bok choy as they removed it from enormous shipping boxes! (That was kind of different!).

                                                                            Following the advice of the reviews, we ordered the chicken and broccoli, pork fried rice, and pork egg roll and all were ultra-fresh and delicious! The egg roll was not saturated in oil, and the chicken was all white meat chicken breast. One 3-month old review advised the chicken and broccoli was $8.95 but it was priced $13.95 and the pork friend rice was $7.95.

                                                                            Still... it was a bargain for a clean restaurant with excellent food! Chinatown isn't known for particularly clean restaurants, but Hop Kee is the exception to this rukle... even the restrooms were clean!

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

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Madame_Bijou
                                                                              p
                                                                              Pan Apr 21, 2012 02:00 AM

                                                                              "the chicken was all white meat chicken breast"

                                                                              That's not a recommendation for me. :-) But they might well use dark meat or a combination if I asked. I don't always remember to ask.

                                                                              1. re: Madame_Bijou
                                                                                michele cindy Apr 21, 2012 04:16 AM

                                                                                Just curious if you saw Cantonese Crabs, or Crabs in black bean sauce on the menu, Thanks

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