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Sep 7, 2007 02:03 PM

Is Hop Kee the best cheap Chinese in NY?

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?


Hop Kee
21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

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    1. re: TBird

      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

        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

          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

            no its because wo hop serves repulsive garbage

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

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. 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

                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

                  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

                    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. 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.