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Aug 21, 2010 06:20 AM

Chinatown Changes

I heard the news that at both Big Wing and Noddletown there have been big changes.
I was wondering why the quality and taste at both places seemed to have deteriorated. There appears to have been a complete buy out where all the Partners, Chefs and long time Waiters have sold their shares.
I ate Roast Duck and take out orders at Big Wong and it was ordinary and extremely salty. The roasting process seemed hurried and incomplete.
One plus, the nasty Cashier Lady at Noodletown was gone. I will miss Jimmy the Waiter the most.

Big Wong
67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Nothing has changed at NY Noodletown. Shame on you for going to Wingy Dingy. Noodletown is legendary.

    1. For me, Chinatown lost a lot of it's draw when Mei Lai Wah changed hands. The new place is a travesty.

      10 Replies
      1. re: The Professor

        The buns and coffee at the "new" Mei Lei Wah are exactly EXACTLY the same and as good as ever.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          That certainly wasn't the case when I last visted there a few months ago. I didn't notice if they were still using the ancient vacuum coffeepots or not, but the coffee seemed a bit weaker than before. The char shu bao seemed to have a different filling than in the past...they are ok, but not as good as the old Mei Lai Wah. Also quite different than before were the shumai and the big mixed buns.

          And dammit, I miss the counter service as well as the snarky and impatient counter help. Once you got to know those old guys, they were a delight.
          The place, unfortunately, has definitely dumbed down.

          1. re: The Professor

            I was there about a month ago...roast pork bun was great as always, as was coffee. That's all I had. Same as ever.

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Well I'll keep an open mind...I'll be in NYC today on business and will give the new MLW one more shot, and report back later in the week.
              I'll be open minded about the food...but one must admit that all of the atmosphere are old school charm of the place has sadly vanished...

              1. re: The Professor

                I'm only vouching for the roast pork buns and coffee...

          2. re: gutsofsteel

            Well, anytime you have the type of changeover they did with some holdovers and some new participants, there will be enough similarities to keep some patrons pleased and enough differences to upset others. I personally think the new Mei Li Wah is a cut below the old Mei Lai Wah, but that's just one opinion.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              i think its not as good as the old MLW for their cha siu bao, but their gai mei bao (cocktail bun) is just as good as ever.

              However, i don't agree with that MLW is terrible now as alot of people have said (which i sort of feel is more out of nostalgia alot of times). It's actually probably the best cha siu bao in ctown (although just good not great on an absolute basis) as sun say kai has changed their cha siu bao and i dont think they are as good as they used to be (they used to be better than MLW b/c their filling was better)

            2. re: gutsofsteel

              The buns are NOT the same at MLW.

              The glaze on the roast pork bun isn't sweet. It doesn't have the little piece of wax paper on the bottom. And the buns are now smaller. Up until recently, the roast pork wasn't up to par. Albeit improved from the initial changeover, it's still an inferior product to the old MLW.

              The lotus seed bun has a much greater ratio of bun to filling. I did an experiment last week. I bit all around the bun to see if I could hit the filling on the first bite in. Nope. That's how they skimp.

              1. re: nooyawka

                I find the lack of paper on the bottom of the baked pork buns now to be a plus . They were never waxed and it was difficult to remove every bit upon returning home.

                1. re: scoopG

                  Agree on the paper bottoms being a minus. I've eaten more than my share of paper residue in my day.

          3. I'm mourning over the loss of 9 Chatham Square (that's the address but the name tends to escape me). I loved their sweet oniony, cha siu bao and the steamed dai baos. They mysteriously closed down without any signs as to why they're gone. :( And yes, I miss the impatient, old waitresses in their dusty pink uniforms at the front counter who speak very little English. (Then again, I remember seeing the mentioned women disappeared and was replaced with young teenagers taking over when I last went there in January '10... The telltale sign, perhaps.)

            When I broke the news to my dad (he loved that place when he first came to NYC as a teen), he was shocked and saddened.

            The Wandering Eater

            2 Replies
            1. re: chocokitty

              All downhill after Hong Ying closed (another 9/11 casuality)

              1. re: chocokitty

                I recently drove by there and saw some renovations going on in there. Does anybody know about this?

              2. WTF???

                I can't speak to Big Wing, but I eat at Noodletown every month or so, including tonight. The restaurant is the same. The menu is the same. The food is the same. The wait staff are the same (though I haven't seen the older cashier recently).

                The only thing really different is the DOH "A" certificate hung in the window.