Tag Archives: chinese food

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

Hwa Yuan

I went to Hwa Yuan with my wife and a group of friends to celebrate Lunar/Chinese New Year. We had a massive feast, but the very first bite of the meal was the clear favorite for all of us: crispy tangy beef.

This shit was like meat candy. So good that I wanted it by the bucketful.

Next up, Peking roasted duck.

Look at this fellow up close:

Our waiter sliced it up table side:

Here’s a short video of the slicing, set to American New Year music:

I also really liked this plate of sliced mountain yam with ginger, snow peas, goji berries and wood ear mushrooms. The yams tasted like giant water chestnuts.

This plate of eggplant was really tasty too, and I typically don’t love eggplant.

This dish was called “Amazing Chicken.” I really liked the sauce, but I wish the chicken had a bit more texture on it.

This was a roasted and stewed Barramundi fish.

And this bowl of ma po tofu was perfect. Just the right amount of silky texture and numbing spice with heat.

These pea sprouts were tasty too – almost like a cross between spinach and collards, simply steamed with garlic and soy.

Get your asses down to this joint and dig in. The food is really great!

HWA YUAN
42 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Guan Fu Szechuan

I recently had the pleasure of dining with a bunch of food friends at this new Szechuan joint in Flushing called Guan Fu. They do an incredible job of showcasing the different kinds of spice that the cuisine is known for (numbing as well as heat), while also developing intense, robust flavors that you can actually taste. Contrast with many other Szechuan joints in NYC that just blow your mouth out with heat and numbness, leaving you unable to actually enjoy the food.

That’s not to say that the food here isn’t spicy. It sure as heck is! But the balance is so well done that it’s quite impressive. But let me get down to business, because we tried 17 different dishes here. There is a lot to discuss…

The first four dishes were cold preparations.

1. Thinly Sliced Pork Liver

This was nice. No mealy texture or gamey flavor. Good heat from the red chilis. Excellent citrus-flavored sauce.

2. Sweet Fried Pork Ribs

These were awesome. Great crispy texture, super tender, and with just a little bit of heat to gently contrast the sweet.

3. Razor Clams

These were served with Mexican green peppers (likely a poblano or hatch variety) as well as some red Thai chili peppers. Great preparation, and the clams were perfectly cooked.

4. Bean Jelly

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The bean jelly was reminiscent of a snappy, thick noodle. This was served with chili oil, peanuts, sesame seeds and scallions.

Okay now onto the warm food.

5. “Water Fish” Tilapia

This was both numbing and heat spicy. The fish was served in an over-seasoned broth so as to get all the flavors into the flesh of the Tilapia. In fact, the sauce/broth isn’t meant to be eaten, as is the case with many of the dishes we were served.

6. Dry Pot Frog

This was another favorite of the night. The frog was so tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. It was served with crisp, fried potatoes and lotus root in the mix too. That textural contrast really blew me away. Just be careful of the tiny bones in the frog meat!

7. Sliced Beef With Pickled Cherry Peppers

This was a really fun dish. The peppers were pickled, but the beef and cucumber cooked in the sauce were both fresh (meaning not pickled). Really nice.

8. Hot Pot

In addition to cabbage and mushrooms, this also contained slices of lamb meat and beef meatballs. Awesome flavors going on here when you mixed it all together, and a little bit of numbness from those famous Szechuan peppercorns.

9. Sweet & Crispy Corn

This was a nice way to knock back any heat that might be lingering in your mouth. These little nuggets were a perfect snack. Juicy inside, bursting with kernel corn flavor, but crispy and batter-fried on the outside.

10. Kung Pao Chicken

This is a famous dish, but done right and as close to authentic as you’re going to get. Lots of heat, really tender meat, and a great contrast of flavors and textures in the stir fry mix.

11. Ma Po Tofu

This is another famously spicy dish from the Szechuan region. The sauce here is a blast of heat and numbing spice, meant to be eaten with rice. I skipped the rice, though, and was just spooning the sauce into my mouth, gulp after gulp. It was great!

12. “Fishy Pork”

There is no actual fish in this dish, but it is made with the intent of giving the diner the essence or flavors of fish. The actual protein here is shredded pork, and it is delicious.

13. Hand Ripped Cabbage With Pork Belly

Bacon makes everything better, especially cabbage. This was a really nice way to get a veggie into the mix other than incorporating peppers and onions into a stir fry.

14. Double Pepper Chicken

Wow. Just when you thought Kung Pao was a kick in the balls, you discover double pepper chicken. The two peppers are green chilis (jalapeños) and red chilis (Thai chilis). But the sneaky spice here is the numbing Szechuan peppercorns that are also worked into the dish. Excellent.

15. Shrimp

These head-on giant shrimp were excellent. They even serve small shrimp where you can eat the shell as well.

16. Green Beans

I love how the veggie comes out last. These were simple and delicious though. A welcome addition to the meal.

17. Fried Sesame Cakes

I’ve had these babies before and I love them. These were filled with a squash mash or paste of some kind. I generally like the red bean or mung bean pastes better (they’re a little sweeter).

That about does it. I really want to come back here and try more stuff, or even just put down full portions of my favorite dishes from this trip, like the bean jelly and dry pot frog. Get your ass out here and try this stuff ASAP!

GUAN FU SZECHUAN
39-16 Prince St
G01
Flushing, NY 11354

Sing Kee

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED

A food friend of ours organized a massive 18-person, multi-course Chinese Thanksgiving meal on the weekend before turkey day as a way to celebrate our love of food.

We started with a house soup that contained dry winter melon and shredded pork.

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These clams were served in a bean sauce that really popped. Super flavorful and clams were cooked perfectly.

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These fried pork chops were incredibly tender and juicy. Definitely one of my favorite courses.

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I’m not usually into full veggie dishes, but this mushroom platter was really incredible and satisfying. Those things at the bottom are little tofu skin crepes that are filled with a variety of mushrooms.

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This whole fish (flounder, I believe) was another top dish of the day.

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The meat was succulent and tender, and the veggies were a nice vehicle to deliver the sauce that they sponged up.

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Fried and chopped lobster with some sort of Cheetos-like cheese coating. Incredibly unique for a Chinese joint. These were gobbled up almost instantly.

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Beef! Yes! This was likely either flank or strip, but it came out on a sizzling skillet and was served in a really delicious brown sauce. Very tender.

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Also a winning dish, this chicken was basically deconstructed and then re-assembled with the meat having been replaced by mixed-protein sticky rice. That rice was then coated and blanketed with extremely crisp chicken skin. So awesome, and so labor intensive.

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Another hit dish was this dungeoness crab on a bef of flat, wide noodles (think chow fun style).

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This was a very photogenic dish, and the crab meat was delicious.

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The noodles could have used a bit more of a flavorful sauce, but otherwise this was really good.

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On the side we enjoyed some stir fried and garlicky pea shoots.

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And for dessert was a warm bowl of sweet bean porridge, of which I did not get a good shot.

All in, this meal only cost $45pp with tax and tip included. I definitely recommend giving this place a try. Especially for the chicken/sticky rice, fried pork chops and whole fish.

SING KEE
42 Bowery
New York, NY 10013

Mahjong & Amazon Restaurants

Amazon recently launched a restaurant delivery service called Amazon Restaurants to compete with services like Seamless and GrubHub. They offered a few Instagram influencer friends and I some credit to try it out and post pics, give our thoughts, etc.

To make a whole night of it, we decided to order a whole bunch of Chinese food (and a little Thai) and make it game night as well with a Mahjong table and a deck of cards for Big Two.

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Here’s a list of what we ordered, from three different restaurants.

Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns & Ramen: Pan Fried Pork Dumplings, Sticky Rice Shao Mai, Sliced Beef with Tripe in Chili Oil, House Special Ramen, and Sticky Rice Balls in Chinese Sweet Liqueur.

Spice: Maekong Aged Pork Chops and Emerald Vegetable Dumplings.

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Hot Kitchen: Slow Grilled Lamb Ribs, Ma Po Tofu, Sliced Fish & Sour Cabbage Soup.

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Since I’ve reviewed Kung Fu before, I will focus on the other items here. The big standout for me was the slow grilled spicy lamb from Hot Kitchen. The cumin and red pepper dry spice is just fantastic. I highly recommend it, especially because lamb ribs are a rarity on menus.

While the pork chops from Spice were pricey and a bit dry, they were super tender and had a nice aged flavor to them. Perhaps get these in the restaurant, rather than for delivery, to ensure they are cooked properly.

As for the delivery service, Amazon Restaurants was great. They have a good selection of restaurants stretching across the city, and the food arrived in a timely manner, still hot and fresh. A welcome addition to the food delivery service market.

KUNG FU LITTLE STEAMED BUNS & RAMEN
811 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

SPICE
435 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

HOT KITCHEN
251 E 53rd St
New York, NY 10022

Hand Pulled Noodles Class

My buddy scored some tickets to this cool Xian Foods noodle pulling class at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and he was kind enough to bring me along.

Basically, they taught us how to make dough, and then gave us some pre-made dough and all the ingredients to make some delicious tingly beef noodles, which has become so popular at their restaurants. Here is the man behind the brand, along with some wheat flour noodle dough:

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And here is a video of me pulling my noodle:

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And then some all-important final photos, and behind the scenes action of us taking photos.

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A photo posted by Johnny Prime (@johnnyprimecc) on

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Hell yes.

Yaso Tangbao

Soup dumplings are some of the most amazing things to eat. That burst of thick, viscous deliciousness is like nothing else in the food world. So when two friends of mine hosted an Instagram event at Yaso Tangbao, a dumpling and noodle joint in Brooklyn, I was psyched. First, I captured this footage of the guys making the dumplings. Check it out:

Then, of course, I gorged my face off on this shit. There were three varieties of soup dumpling, the best of which was the spicy (with red powder on top).

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These are some of the best I’ve tried. The pouches never ripped or stuck to the paper beneath – and the flavors inside were always robust and packing great depth.

We also tried some other fun stuff:

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Along with a shitload of noodle dishes. The one with the meatballs was amazing. Those meatballs are really soft and tender, made with pork.

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As far as straight up meat goes, this place also slings some killer ribs.

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And while this whole fish dish isn’t on the menu (staff caught it the day before and served it to us special), one awesome thing at this place is a water cooler filled with soy sauce. Yup.

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YASO TANGBAO
148 Lawrence St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Tang

The Tang is a great little noodle bar on 1st Avenue at 7th Street. I was invited here for a PR event showcasing some of their current and forthcoming dishes. Everything I tasted was really fucking good, and, in fact, the noodle quality is probably the best I’ve had in town so far. They’re strong, thick, have a really nice texture and snap to them, and they’re really nicely flavored in all the dishes I tried.

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The meats in all of these noodle dishes are outstanding, by the way. One had braised pork belly, one had sliced beef, and the other had ground meats.

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Some of the soup noodle bowls are excellent too.

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But this place is more than just noodles. One standout item was the sliced beef short rib. These babies are packed with a ton of flavor, and cooked so perfectly. You don’t see short rib presented like this too often, like a real cut of steak on a plate, so I am featuring it here for my steak reviews as well. Short rib can be fatty, and that’s why it is usually either grilled hard with tons of sauce, or braised. But here, it was leaner and notably excellent at medium rare temps, because it was cooked sous vide style for 20 hours. 8/10.

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This place is really my speed, especially given this large format pork knuckle/shank dish that will be rolling out on the menu soon. It’s super soft and tender.

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I also tried a sesame tofu dish, a salad with soft boiled egg, and some sliced, rolled chicken with chili oil.

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THE TANG
120 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009