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Vinh Sun or Hong Kong Eatery for Pork Overdose?

crowdingthepan Jun 3, 2011 06:20 AM

I’m headed to the American Craft Brew Fest tomorrow, and I’m thinking that a post drinking walk to Chinatown for some greasy fatty Chinese roast meats will be in order. I’ve found older threads comparing Vinh Sun and Hong Kong Eatery, but these types of places seem to change staff and quality of product so frequently, I’m hoping to get some more recent impressions of the two. Specifically, I’m wondering if either of them serve both siu yuk and char siu.

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Vinh Sun
58 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Hong Kong Eatery
1510 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02169

  1. crowdingthepan Jun 4, 2011 11:48 PM

    After sampling forty two gallons of craft beer, two ounces at a time, my wife and I settled on a late lunch at Hong Kong Eatery. The VERY attentive waiter quickly took our order for rice plate with char siu and roast duck, Hong Kong style lo mein with siu yuk, and stir fried garlic yu choy. Interestingly, there was some confusion about what we were getting on what plate because H.K.E calls char siu roast pork, and siu yuk is called BBQ pork. About a minute and a half later three dishes showed up and we dug in. Everything on the rice plate was spot on. Char siu was salty, sweet, moist and porky, the duck was crispy and rich and the rice beneath was soaked in oozy melted fat. Just a splash of supplemental soy made the perfectly cooked yu choy more perfect. But the Hong Kong Style Lo mein with roast pork (again, they’re calling this BBQ pork) was where we ran into trouble. One piece of pork was warm, one piece was ice cold, and the rest was at slightly below room temperature. I’m not (unlike most Americans) a stickler for being served meals at a temperature so high, you’ve got to blow on your food for three minutes so you can tolerate holding it in your mouth. But super fatty meat needs to hot enough that the fat starts to render, or it just kind of smears around in your mouth when you take a bite. The noodles were tender in some spots, and clumped up and dried out in others. But the broth tasted very strongly of those funky little dried shrimp that I love. Points for that! The HK style lo mein is new to me, but I liked the format so much, I’m definitely gonna’ give it another go when I try Vinh Sun and the other nearby roast meat specialists.

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    Vinh Sun
    58 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

    Hong Kong Eatery
    1510 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02169

     
     
    7 Replies
    1. re: crowdingthepan
      barleywino Jun 5, 2011 02:54 AM

      Can't comment on the termperature but it's worth it to request "center cut" on the siu yuk next time (this option is not available at Vinh Sun btw, where it's just whatever the chef decides to give you). Otherwise one is more likely to end up with dry meat and large chunks of fat. For siu yuk i usually have better luck at Quik Pik, especially if you can go during periods of high turnover.

      1. re: crowdingthepan
        g
        gourmaniac Jun 6, 2011 06:38 AM

        In defense of HKE, Siu Yuk is meant to be served room temp. Cooking the meat especially with noodles would render the skin flabby and not crisp. Chinese actually like the contrasting textures of the crisp skin with the soft layer of fat and the chewiness of the meat. Go figure. It's an acquired taste. Despite my upbringing, I can only do this in moderation. RE noodles, I'm surprised that lo mein noodles would be dried out. For chow mein, where the noodles are fried, there is a difference between the crunchy fried portions and the soft noodles.

        1. re: gourmaniac
          crowdingthepan Jun 6, 2011 11:56 AM

          Thanks, I didn't know that about siu yuk. I like contasting textures too, and I love big chunks of pork fat, but I'm not sure why the skin couldn't be crisp if it was hot.

          1. re: crowdingthepan
            g
            gourmaniac Jun 6, 2011 11:59 AM

            Hot out of the oven, yes. cooked with wet noodles, no.

            1. re: gourmaniac
              crowdingthepan Jun 6, 2011 01:16 PM

              Ahh, that makes sense.

            2. re: crowdingthepan
              barleywino Jun 6, 2011 12:00 PM

              slightly off topic, but if you like big chunks of pork fat (as do I, in moderation :), you might enjoy the braised pork shin at Mulan

              1. re: barleywino
                crowdingthepan Jun 6, 2011 01:16 PM

                I'll give it a try!

        2. crowdingthepan Jun 3, 2011 08:05 AM

          Thanks for the responses! I wonder if attempting to pronounce char siu and siu yuk will help or hinder my chances of getting what I'm looking for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: crowdingthepan
            Luther Jun 3, 2011 08:35 AM

            probably hinder unless you make an honest attempt at getting the tones right. More straightforward to point or just say "bbq pork" or "roast pork"

          2. barleywino Jun 3, 2011 06:49 AM

            I would suggest HKE for the char siu (I request "fatty", which is really gelatin i think) and siu yuk (I request "center cut" which is just slightly more expensive). Although nowadays the siu yuk seems to be both crispier and more tender at Quik Pik on Beach st (I think it's true baby pig unlike at HKE). Maybe the thing to do is pick up some fatty char siu from HKE, some siu yuk from Quik Pik, some cold beer from the package store on Beach st, and sit out next to the artificial stream in the park there for a picnic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: barleywino
              g
              gourmaniac Jun 3, 2011 07:04 AM

              good advice from Barleywino. Another place I like is the China Pearl Cafe (ground floor) especially for their char siu. Duck is pretty good as well. Quik Pik is the least expensive of these places for rice plates.

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              China Pearl Restaurant
              9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

            2. MC Slim JB Jun 3, 2011 06:34 AM

              Haven't been to HKE lately, but I had a combo BBQ plate the other day at Vinh Sun, and thought it was just as good as ever. I love the sound of that cleaver hitting the block.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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              Vinh Sun
              58 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

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