Category Archives: Chinese

Fried Dumpling

Tucked away in a Chinatown alley near the back of NYC’s Civic Center is a little hole-in-the-wall dumpling spot that’s simply called “Fried Dumpling.” I discovered this place while frequenting joints like Wo Hop and Peking Duck House during law school, in the very early 2000’s.

I’ve been coming here for over two decades now, and although my visits are infrequent, every time I go it hits the spot. They aren’t the best dumplings you’ll eat – the dough is a little thick, and the fried crust is inconsistent – but for $5 you get about a dozen, and they’re pretty damn tasty for the price. You can choose steamed or fried. I always go with fried, because they seem to have more flavor from the griddle/flat top. A squirt of sri racha and a shake of vinegar dumpling sauce and you’re all set.

Just a note: There’s no place to sit here. It’s really just for either standing at the small shelf along the side wall, or taking your plastic clamshell to go.

My wife and I used to buy the bags of frozen dumplings they offer, so we could cook them at home ourselves. This place is a gem.

My last visit was during a @NYCZoozClub food crawl. Check out the video below if you’re interested. And use code JOHNNYPRIME for $150 off your Zooz bike at www.zoozbikes.com.

 

FRIED DUMPLING
106 Mosco Street
New York, NY 10013

New Spicy Village

My wife and I finally got over here to try the noodles.

But first, we put down some pork dumplings.

Despite being a little bit soupy, the dry hand-pulled noodles were awesome. We tried the spicy chicken and spicy oxtail. I give the edge to the chicken, mainly because the oxtail wasnt stewed or slow cooked long enough. The bones were cut very thin so that they cook faster, but that unfortunately means the meat will be a bit less tender. Still great though.

Will definitely be back to try the lamb noodles.

NEW SPICY VILLAGE
118 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002

Essex Pearl

This place is incredible!

My wife and I have been dying to come here ever since we saw them setting up shop at Market Line soon after we moved in. It’s a beautiful seafood bar, done up really fancy as a place you’d love to just sit and have a cocktail, but also with open view to the kitchen and prep stations for all the delicious food.

We tried a lot of shit, so let me get right into it.

Raw littleneck clams topped with crispy shallots and a fish sauce mignonette. Perfect way to open up the meal. Pair this with their pickled ginger, shochu and gin martini.

Dry aged rib eye tartare, coarse cut. So tender and flavorful! The shrimp chips make for a perfect vehicle for mouth entry, and they add a great textural crunch.

Cumin lamb belly skewers. I really loved these. If you love cumin lamb noodles at places like Xian Famous, you need to try this. It’s LAMB BACON!

Tiger prawns. You’ll want to drink the sauce! This item was the whole reason my wife wanted to go, and it really delivered. It was her favorite dish (along with the hamachi collar).

Crispy baby octopus with Thai lemongrass curry and fried Thai basil. Ask for a small bowl of rice so none of that curry goes to waste!

The grilled pork jowls were next. This was probably my favorite of the meal. It comes with a lime pepper sauce that acts like a Carolina style vinegar BBQ sauce, almost, but Asian style as lime and pepper are common in places like Vietnam and Cambodia. It cuts the fat of the jowls so perfectly I can’t even describe it properly!

Turmeric dill hamachi collar. This is so delicious and large, it’s enough to share among two people. Light, flavorful, and amazingly aromatic.

Laotian ginger pork sausage over garlic noodles. WOW! The sausage is made in house and it’s so fucking good!

We washed it all down with this watermelon and lychee slushee. So refreshing and just the right amount of natural sweetness.

I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu, especially their surf and turf!

ESSEX PEARL
88 Essex Street
Cellar Level
New York, NY 10002

Dim Sum Palace

This is really just a photo dump of the dim sum I tried here at Dim Sum Palace. Over all this is pretty good quality stuff, and I’d definitely come back again. Only down side is that they were slammed, so service was a little bit spotty. I recommend going at an off hour (for example, not at noon on Saturday).

DIM SUM PALACE
59 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Wo Hop

How have I never reviewed this place in all my years living here, and all my times eating here – especially from way back when I went to Law School and lived/worked nearby for years after?

Wo Hop is a NYC institution. They’ve been serving up excellent and affordable Chinese food in their iconic downstairs location since 1938! I have to say, the fried wontons are some of the best I’ve ever had.

On this visit, my wife and I had the sliced chicken with baby corn. I was expecting this to be much spicier, being printed in RED on the menu and under the spicy Szechaun section, but it was still delicious.

We also had the 4D chow fun, which has 4 different proteins (shrimp, beef, chicken and roast pork). This was the better dish.

They’re still keeping prices very low here, which is great. Even the t-shirt prices haven’t changed since I purchased one back in 2000 – $10!

If you’ve never been, you definitely should go at least once, even if it’s just to say that you’ve been there.

WO HOP
17 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Jing Fong

Jing Fong on the upper west side might be my new favorite place for dim sum. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than the old, storied downtown haunts, but the food is markedly better. In addition, while the classic dim sum joint will have rolling carts of tasty goodness meandering throughout the floor of the restaurant (which is a big part of the fun), those carts often smell like sterno, chemical flame or leaking natural gas. That smell always ruins the experience for me.

This place brings everything out that you order, sans carts. No smell. I liked that change-up, though admittedly there was a little less fun and intrigue to the experience. But over all, I really loved this place. Some favorites below:

Peking Duck Dumplings – probably one of the best dumplings I’ve had.

I usually hate these pork buns. Always too “bready” and almost always too sweet. Not the case here.

Take a peek inside the vagina slit below. Great ratio of bun to meat, and the meat wasn’t too sweet. Perfect.

Always important to eat your veggies:

Especially when there’s minced pork inside.

Very nice steamed rice rolls (though I wish they offered the ones with fried crullers inside too).

This crispy fried chicken with roasted garlic (entree dish, not dim sum obviously) was really nice too.

I’ll definitely be back here again.

JING FONG
380 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Green Garden Village

I recently went to Green Garden Village with a group of 12 people for a massive “Friendsgiving” dinner. This was a big meal so I’ll get right down to what we tried.

1) Whole Suckling Pig

This needs to be ordered in advance, so make sure you call ahead. It was delicious. They serve the crispy skin with the meat still attached in about 15 bao buns, and then a platter is filled of the rest of the pork.

I’d say if you just ordered this with a veggie and a noodle or rice dish, you’d be good for 4 or 5 people.

2) Grouper Three Ways

These were all light but really flavorful:

A) We had the fish filleted and steamed with scallions and ginger near the end of dinner.

B) The head and bones were used to make a milky-white fish broth that was served at the beginning of dinner (I didn’t take a photo of it).

C) This plate of grouper and cabbage is what was used in the soup (aside from the fish head and bones), along with tofu and Chinese mustard greens. They just strained it and served it on the side with the soup.

3) Alaskan King Crab Three Ways

These massive crabs are pricey, but they will serve it a few ways for you if you so choose:

A) Steamed w/ Garlic Over Ho Fun:

This was my favorite preparation. The ho fun noodles were awesome, and the garlic was just the right kind.of flavor to really make you appreciate the sweetness of the crab.

B) Fried Crab w/ Salted Duck Yolks:

Not sure why the shells get battered and fried, but I’ve certainly seen this before. The salted duck yolk was nice though.

C) Crab Brain Fried Rice:

This rice was delicious. Anything that isn’t large crab meat gets fried up and mixed into it.

4) Stir-Fried Fresh Eel

I’m not a huge fan of eel but this was nice.

5) House Special Stir Fry (mixed seafood with sugar snap peas)

This dish contained a lot of interesting stuff in it.

6) Mixed Mushrooms w/ Japanese Tofu

Whatever Japanese tofu is, I love it. Crispy outside and creamy custard-like interior. Awesome mix of mushrooms too. Wow. I liked the fucking tofu dish.

7) Peking Pork Chops

I wasn’t crazy about this one. Not the best chops, dogged up breading and the sauce was too sweet.

8) Sauteed Snow Pea Sprouts

Mandatory greens. These could’ve used a bit more pan heat and some more garlic flavor (no photo).

9) Crispy Garlic Chicken (half order)

This was delicious. I also appreciated that it wasn’t hacked into shitty, difficult-to-eat, bone-in bits and pieces, as often happens with Chinese poultry preparations.

10) Rack of Lamb (double order)

These were deliciously spicy, super tender and perfectly cooked inside. I was very happy with these.

Definitely give this place a shot. I think I like this a little place better than Wu’s Wonton King [link].

GREEN GARDEN VILLAGE
216 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013

Hoi Ming

Hoi Ming has been feeding Long Islanders in the Oakdale/Sayville area since the 1960’s as far as I can tell.

The earliest notation I could find online about this place was something about it opening in 1971, but my folks seem to remember it being there in the 60’s. In any case it’s borderline ancient. There’s even a New York Times review of the place from 1976. Click the image below to view the article.

Not much has changed inside the place from what I remember back when I was there in the 80’s. Wood paneled walls. Lots of red. And an awesomely dim and cavernous tiki bar of sorts.

My whole family came here again recently to celebrate my parents’ anniversary. Basically, we just ordered a bunch of apps, but I was surprised that everything was actually pretty good.

Here’s the famous pupu platter – nothing has changed about this from my childhood memory of it.

Inside the foil was minced and spiced chicken.

The boneless spare ribs are generously portioned and delicious. My nephew calls them “red chicken,” not to be confused with the actual chicken that’s red in the pupu platter tinfoil.

And the shrimp toast is tasty as well. Pardon the blurry photo. My dad grabbed the plate and asked if I needed him to hold it for me.

I didn’t shoot anything else, but the menu is pretty standard. This place keeps its prices fair and provides a level of certainty and consistency for the locals who frequent the establishment. I guess that’s why it’s been there for 50 years.

HOI MING
469 Main St
West Sayville, NY 11796

Hunan Slurp

I came to Hunan Slurp with a group of friends, so we were able to sample a bunch of shit. Here’s what we tried:

The “Mala Beef” noodle dish was nice. It was slow cooked shank meat that was really tender. The egg noodles were perfectly cooked.

This dish contained pork and beef, and was served with rice noodles that were similarly perfectly cooked. Also shank meat, cooked very nicely.

This noodle soup was the spiciest on the menu, a pepper beef dish, which was really intense and flavorful. I wish this also contained the shank cut beef, as the stuff in this dish wasn’t as tender as the above dishes.

This next dish was cold “Hunan Charcuterie.” It contained bits of pig ear and tripe, among other nice off-cuts. This was my favorite dish of the day, and easily a contender for top dishes of 2019.

The smoked sausage plate was nice, but I wish it had more crisped texture to it.

This eggplant with “thousand year egg” filling was delicious. I’m generally not a big fan of eggplant, but I loved this. A must try here.

The beef skewer dish had a great cumin aroma, but ultimately the majority of the beef in the dish was chewy and tough. Pass on this one.

Most of the dishes were pretty spicy, so these sweet riblets were a great way to cool down and cut the heat.

We also tried stewed fish noodles, and a potato and duck egg dish (both not pictured) which were also very nice. But the last item I have here for you is winter melon, served warm and savory with ground pork. Very interesting.

Give this place a shot. I liked it.

HUNAN SLURP
112 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009

Wu’s Wonton King

My wife and I came here with a big group of foodie friends for a pre-Thanksgiving blowout. We ate a shitload of dishes, but the stars of the show were these two:

That’s right: a crispy skin suckling pig, and a 9lb king crab. Here’s some video of that pig being carved up for us, table side:

Those buns were amazing but the pork meat itself was the best I’ve ever had in terms of suckling pig. The flavors penetrated deep into the flesh of the meat. And if one pork dish wasn’t enough, we also fried this one as well:

The crab was prepared three ways: steamed, fried and in a steamed egg porridge:

We ate two kinds of clams:

We even ordered a steak. This was no good though. I tried one slice of this breaded t-bone and it was too tough for me to even finish half. 2/10. I left two points on the table because the sauce was interesting at least, and the broccoli was good with it.

All the other dishes were excellent though, including this chicken:

And this fluke:

Yes, we did eat some greenery:

And of course wontons, as per the name of the restaurant, in soup form:

There was even dessert that we somehow managed to eat: mango flan/jelly and a warm pumpkin soup that was reminiscent of Indian desserts:

I definitely recommend this joint. This was the best large format pig I’ve had to date. It runs $168 and you need to order a day or two in advance. It would probably feed five or six people if you ate just that and some veggies on the side. As for the crab? Skip it. It was delicious as fuck, but that shit runs $50 a pound.

WU’S WONTON KING
165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002