Wang's, Somerville: What a BUMmer
- opinionatedchef May 14, 2014 09:43 PM
We have enjoyed Wang's Pek Ravs for years and still do, but last week,when pressed for time, I ventured out to see if they could make any other excellent dishes(as good as Fuloon?) I found CH threads praising Wang's from a number of years ago, but I couldn't find anything recent, so I took a chance. BIIIIG mistake.
Spicy Chinese Cabbage
Smoked Tofu with Pork
Peking Meat Sauce Noodle
Moo shi pork
Mystery flavored chicken
The truth is that out of all those dishes, only the Mystery Flavored Chicken was good/fine/edible.
The crab rangoon had SUGAR (significant sugar) in them, and thick stale yellow wrappers. I threw them out. Ditto the cabbage which simply tasted like sauteed cabbage doused w/ hot sauce (and a one-dimensional hot sauce at that.)
The moo shi was a huge portion but had no pork to speak of and just had an overall flavor of blech, maybe 'canned' is the descriptor. The sesame noodles had a tiny bit of sweetish sesame sauce and slivered flavorless cukes, screaming out for soy etc etc. As you could guess, the PMS noodles were overcooked and overly sweet, though big in portion.The Smoked Tofu wuth Pork had no discernable flavor.
The chicken had no cilantro or mystery flavor that I could detect but it was real and fine.
If any of you think highly of Wang's, I urge you to finagle a car and go to Fuloon in Malden, where you can have WONderful versions of these dishes and many more unusual ones, and you will leave with a big smile on your face. (And Chili Garden in Medford Sq. is also fairly close to you.)
This is the kind of 'Chiinese food' drek that makes me feel horrible for the poor unsuspecting students that order Wang's when they are just beginning to learn about this potentially amazing cuisine .
I'm sorry you had a poor experience at Wang's. I have a few thoughts about that restaurant:
Their was some of the first authentic Chinese food I had, about fifteen years ago. I love Wang's for that reason, and that they are open until 1 AM everyday except for Tuesday. The same grandmothers make the dumplings in the back, the same bespectacled gentleman, albeit slightly grayer, works the front counter, the same Christmas lights have been up for a decade, and the tea is still self-serve in little styrofoam cups. The only change in staff is that their daughter got her MBA and no longer works in the restaurant.
Their dumplings are as good as ever, and the best thing on the menu. They are fantastic --- every flavor.
I used to love their scallion pancakes too, which were flaky and fresh; they have been disappointing and oily and over-crisp for years now. Their Sichuan flavor bone-in chicken used to be fantastic and bright; it's still spicy, but is now fried too much. Something definitely changed, and some dishes are not nearly as good as they used to be. They do not, and never have, produced good American-Chinese food like crab rangoon or moo shi. They have bad fish.
However, there are some excellent dishes on their menu, mostly those on the same rear page as their dumplings. Sweet and sour shredded turnip, roast beef in soy sauce, preserved egg with tofu, cucumber with garlic sauce, and roast beef soup noodle, are all fantastic. My Chinese friends love their chestnut with fatty pork. On the Americanized side, I enjoy the sesame cold noodles, the beef teriyaki, the steamed mixed vegetables, and I think they do some other nice vegetables as well, including stir fry cucumber with scrambled egg, Shanghai cabbage with black mushroom, and stir fry pea pods stems when they have them. They almost always have a decent cumin lamb up on the Chinese-language only specials board.
Go there for the dumplings late at night, get a few cold appetizers and some vegetables to accompany them, and enjoy! They are still the real deal.
Dumplings sure, as always. but i wasted so much $ on those 7 dishes (only one of which was chin. american, otter)that i tossed in the trash, i will NEVER risk ordering anyth, other than dumplings, from them again. I was just trying to warn people,since there have been no recent CH threads. But if you have good luck with some things, you'll have no competition from me. I'll be over at Fuloon(where my personal statistics show me that, for 90% of their menu, I will find great or very good.)
Maybe I should have titled my thread "Wang's: Scarred for Life". It was just that much of a bummer.
Along with Qingdao Garden, Wang's was among the first authentic food I had in Boston, after moving here about ten years ago. (I'd been eating at New Big Wong in DC for many years before that, but mostly only the noodles.) I have to say it's sad they've gone so far downhill. I wonder what changed.
Most people just go there for their dumplings and "traditional" items. The Chinese-American dishes are pretty poor.