Since moving back to New York City, we dine out a few days a week. And as with most New Yorkers, we really don’t venture out of our neighborhood for the typical meal out but occasionally, the craving for something specific requires us to do so and on this night, Chinatown was where we went.
Chinatown, like New York City’s Little Italy, has more gimmicky bad food than good but once you weed through it all, there are still some little gems that cannot be missed. One of those places is Hop Kee (21 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013), a Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant that consistently ranks in Zagat as one of the best in Chinatown. You walk down a set of stairs and into a well-lit, relatively clean restaurant. While they don’t have a kid’s menu, they do provide highchairs and boosters. The service is fast, the staff are generally friendly, and the food is quick to arrive at your table.
There are several items we order depending on the size of our party but we never stray from our favorite dishes: the pan fried flounder, the pork chops with salt & pepper, and the kangkong cooked in shrimp paste. Kangkong is the Filipino name for a kind water spinach. It’s known by many other names throughout Asia like kong xin cai in Mandarin, ong tsoi in Cantonese, and Asagaona in Japanese. Being Filipino, it’s kangkong to me. Some of the other worthwhile dishes are the snails cooked in black bean sauce, crab or lobster Cantonese style, and the fried spring chicken.
Gianluca eats most things we put in front of him, especially if it includes rice or pasta. He enjoys eating the pan fried flounder with rice.
I think the cost of dinner is reasonable considering how much we enjoy the food here, which came out to be $100 with tip. One thing you need to remember is it’s cash only so don’t forget to stop at the ATM. In case you do forget, there are signs at the door, at the counter, and on the menu.