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Chinatown: Hop Kee and Ten Ren Tea Time

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Thinking of going to Hop Kee this Friday for an early dinner. Whether they serve the best Cantonese food in Chinatown isn't my concern: I'm going with my mother to have Chinese food that reminds her of how it used to be, and she wants Cantonese.

My questions:

1. Are there any dishes that are particularly good? No crab, snails, or pork as main dish. Pork in egg roll or soup is okay.

2. I'd like to order pan-fried flounder. Never attempted a whole fish before. Any tips as to how to eat it without a). mutilating the thing?, b). choking on a bone, and c). looking silly?

3. Ten Ren Tea Time down the street (75 Mott) from Hop Kee: how's the bubble tea?

4. Will be driving. Yes, I know that's probably a bad idea. Any parking suggestions? Sorry for the OT.

Thanks in advance.

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Hop Kee
21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. I would just park the car in the pay-garage on Mulberry between Bayard & Canal. I would go for Wor Shu Opp and egg rolls, at the least, if your mom is into old school Cantonese. It's pretty rich though. Boneless duck which fried twice (I believe) coated with flour and a nice thick gravy. Maybe Iron Steak and fried rice, too? You might want to take your mom to the Ten Ren shop as well and inttro her to some fine loose tea. Like Jasmine or Guun Powder Green. Just a thought.

    1 Reply
    1. re: David11238

      You bring back memories. As students thirty years ago when we had the munchies at 2 a.m. we'd head to Hop Kee and fill up on wor shu op.

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      Hop Kee
      21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    2. I like Ten Ren, although I normally go to the location on Lafayette, it's much less crowded. The lychee green tea is my favorite there, and they use mixology-type measuring things so it always tastes the same. It is more expensive than other places, though (like Quickly), so it's not my go-to.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jess321

        Ten Ren is more expensive than quickly, but after I tried some decent bubble teas I realized what Quickly serves as bubble tea is nonsense. I think Ten Ren's bubble tea is not bad.

      2. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. They are appreciated. Any more food ideas are welcome; will probably be ordering a variety and taking a lot home.

        Re: bubble tea

        Perhaps someone more savvy than I can answer this: I usually get coconut bubble tea from Fay Da, which is also nearby. I believe they put milk in it. I looked at the Ten Ren menu online and didn't see the equivalent. Maybe they don't put milk in their bubble tea? How is the coconut slush?

        1 Reply
        1. re: IWantFood

          We always got the squid with rock salt.

        2. Finally made it to Hop Kee yesterday after changes in plan the previous weeks. Weren't feeling adventurous enough to try duck or squid, so stuck to the basics. They saw us coming, literally and figuratively, because they put down forks and knives on the table when everyone else in the place--most of whom were Asian--were eating with chopsticks. The service was friendly, attentive, and quick without feeling rushed; the waiters spoke excellent English and could not have been nicer; the restaurant appeared quite clean; and the restroom was spotless. The food was very good:

          --Egg rolls: different than from the usual take-out joints. No oily aftertaste or leaden dough. Very good.
          --Pan-fried flounder: perfectly cooked, moist, properly seasoned with ginger that did not overpower, disguise, or otherwise ruin the fish. No fishy odor or taste.
          --Spicy beef chow fun: not too oily, just the right amount of spice
          --Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce: very fresh
          --Hot and sour soup: sweeter than any other place I've eaten at, but also too spicy. Too spicy for me, plus it had a tomato-base taste, which wasn't for me.

          Huge portions, took most of it home, including egg drop-wonton soup, which turned gloppy in travel. Wontons had light wrappers and good-quality filling, though.

          I will add the that homemade mustard was excellent and the proper consistency. It's also worth noting that the food was served at the proper temperature: not so cold that you have to send it back, and not so hot that you have to wait for it to cool off.

          Would definitely go back and eat my way through the menu.

          Stopped at Ten Ren for coconut bubble tea. Very tasty, and better than Fay Da's, IMO.

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          Hop Kee
          21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013