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Apr 11, 2009 02:28 PM

Chinatown Review: East Corner Wonton

On the corner of Market Street and East Broadway sits East Corner Wonton. Inside the décor is decidedly a throw back to the 1950’s: plenty of chrome and mirrors, lime green Formica table tops and 2-3 waiters in white shirts and black bow ties. The clientele is young and old; mostly Cantonese, Mandarin or English speakers and the waiters speak all three. Near the entrance a profluent stream of take-out customers enter and leave from 8 am to 8 pm. ECW has about nine tables and seats 32. I stopped in here by chance a couple of weeks ago and settled for a dose of much needed vitamin wonton soup. It hit the spot. I then discovered a 19 month-old post by Lau where he had a less than satisfying bowl of wonton noodle soup (link below.)

I then decided to check out a few more wonton soup joints to see how they measured up to my $3.50 ECW bowl before returning. Well, ECW holds up very well. Lau must have hit them on a bad day, as he surmised. Their broth is clear – not as dark or as good as New Chao Chow’s. Better than Dining Room Management Group, Noodle House or New Wonton Garden. Hotter broth than Yummy Noodles but no garlic pieces. Almost as good as NY Noodletown and Big Wong.

Over the course of subsequent visits, these dishes were tried:

* Chiang Fun with Fried Dough – Rice noodle wrapped around a cruller stick in a base of soy sauce. Who’d have thunk it? Perfect with soup or congee.
* Roast Duck Noodles – 5-6 pieces of juicy duck meat over noodles with broth.
* Pan Fried Seafood Noodles – tender pieces of squid, scallop, shrimps and fake crabmeat
over crispy noodles.
* Sliced Roast Pork – not as good as Big Wong but better than Sun Say Kai.
* Soy Chicken – hard to do this wrong and they didn’t.
* Marinated Cuttlefish – not bad, a little chewy.
* Beef Stew – good rendition, 5-6 pieces served up on a small plate.
* Beef Tripe Noodles – tender tripe pieces over noodles.
* Wonton Noodle Soup - perfectly cooked noodles with a good bite.

Make no chicken bones about the place – ECW is not a first date kind of place to visit. More like the kind of spot you take an old flame. You’ll be sharing a table unless one of the waiters recognizes you as a regular and steers you to one of the 2-3 tables for two. A solid, old-style Cantonese joint in the heart of Fuzhouland.

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  1. My Chinese friends love ECW

    1. Maybe we Hounds aren't supposed to talk about it, but on top of everything this place is extremely reasonable. (One might even use the term "cheap.")

      1. Thanks for the review. Their tripe is tender? Do they use honeycomb tripe? Because I usually find that Chinese tripe dishes (except in Dim Sum Go Go) in New York tend to be overly chewy and plastic-like, in part because of the type of tripe they tend to use.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pan

          Honeycomb tripe cooked for hours in the Five Spices (star anise, cinnamon, fennel seed, clove and prickly ash) and radishes. Tender? Yes. I've found it does still have a bit of a bite to it but not in their take out version. Certainly not chewy.

          1. re: scoopG

            Great. I've been away from East Corner for years. I know what to get on my first trip back now.

        2. Hey Scoop,
          Thanks for the review. Mei Li Wah also serves a version of Chiang Fun with Fried Dough. It's called deep fried pish paste fritter on the menu. Tried it yesterday and actually liked it very much; the contrast between the noodle and the crispy cruller works. Looking forward to making a return to East Corner, based on your post its been many years since my first visit.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Polecat

            i like the zha liang (the cheung fan w/ you tiao) at XO on hester

            1. re: Lau

              Hey guys,

              I'm going to get dim sum this weekend and I want zha leung. (the crueller with the rice noodles around it). Ping's has a decent one but the sauce is just regular soy. In LA, we use to go to a place that served it with oyster sauce & soy.

              How's XO's and East Corner in comparison? I want to be able to order other dim sum dishes too.

              1. re: kelea

                i like XO's the best, the you tiao is always fresh as it the cheung fan. They give that sauce you are talking about as well. Definitely the best version i've had in ctown and i'm pretty sure i've tried most of them.

            2. re: Polecat

              Love to hear what you think. They also feature three huge omelettes over rice (Roast Pork, Ham or Shrimp) but I steered clear of them only because I only saw non-Chinese devouring them. Maybe next time.

              1. re: scoopG

                Hey! Some of us non-chinese know what to order every now and then, even if it is usually with a side of chop suey and general tso's. Those omelettes might be the dark-horse hit of the joint. Thanks again for the tip.

                1. re: Polecat

                  You could be right as they do look like genuine comfort food. Huge circular mound of flattened eggs over a mound of white rice. $4.00 or $4.50.

            3. Do they serve any congee or rice plates?

              4 Replies
              1. re: bearmi

                they serve both, it is a similar menu to the big wong / ny noodletowns of ctown

                1. re: Lau

                  Sounds good.. I will have to visit this place to check it out.

                2. re: bearmi

                  13 different types of congee. From Plain ($2.00) to Abalone and Chicken ($4.25.) Haven't tried them though. Plenty of rice plates too with over 25. Plus the usual suspects of Roast Pig, Pork, Duck, Boiled Chicken, Soy Chicken, Salt-Baked Chicken and BBQ Spare Ribs over rice starting at $3.75.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Wow.. the price looks really good. I will have to look up their menu on line and check out all the dishes. Thanks for the recommendation!