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Hsin Wong is another shao la (Cantonese BBQ) and congee restaurant in Chinatown. The most well-known places are Great NY Noodletown and Big Wong King and they are also generally considered to be the best. However, I think Hsin Wong is on par with them.
Although I’ve been to Hsin Wong in the past it’s been quite a while since I’ve been there and their advertisement for Peking duck caught my eye because I’ve been looking for a good Cantonese-style Peking duck for a while. So, I decided to have a Chinese New Year’s dinner with some friends and write a review about it.
The place looks like a typical Chinatown BBQ place. It’s got a large counter up front with BBQ meats hanging in the windows. There are several large round tables and then smaller square tables along the walls. They advertise various specials on the walls in Chinese. The service is pretty decent and the waiters are surprisingly very nice.
Here’s what we got:
- Roast Pig (Huo Rou): This is the gigantic whole pig with golden crispy skin you see hanging in the windows of Cantonese BBQ spots. This is one of my favorite types of BBQ. The version here is quite good especially if you happen to get it when it comes out fresh (I got lucky one of the times and it came out fresh). The skin is beautifully crispy, but the meat is still tender and flavorful. You dip the meat in oyster sauce and it tastes great. 8/10
- Wonton Noodle Soup With Roast Pork (Cha Shao Hun Dun Tang Mian): This was surprisingly good, I have low expectations for wonton noodle soup in NY because it’s just not made with the same care and ingredients you find in Hong Kong (HK vendors are very passionate about wonton noodle soup, it’s somewhat analogous to ramen in Japan), but we’re not in HK so I keep trying it anyhow. The soup broth was pretty decent, flavorful and not overly salty. The wontons were plump and the shrimp tasted fresh. The noodles were pretty decent as well and were cooked al dente. The cha siu (roast pork) was fresh out of the oven, so it was actually quite good, very flavorful and tender. Overall, I think this was actually better than the last few times I had it at NY Noodletown, which is generally the best one in ctown. 7.5/10
- Peking Duck (Bei Jing Kao Ya): This was the reason I came here. Cantonese-style Peking duck is different from real Peking duck because it’s not cooked the same way and actually is just a roast duck and is served in mantou (steamed white buns) as opposed to the thin pancakes. I’ve been looking for a good version for a while, but I haven’t been able to find one since Nice Restaurant closed. However, the version here is quite good. The skin was crispy and flavorful. The meat was juicy and succulent. They sliced up the duck for you and put the meat, skin, plum sauce, spring onions and carrots (I’m not sure why they put carrots in it, I took them out). Overall, this is probably the best Cantonese-style Peking duck I’ve had in the city. 8/10
- Steak With Chinese Broccoli Stems: This was a special, it was supposed to be with asparagus, but they ran out, so the lady said they could replace it with Chinese broccoli stems. It was a t-bone steak cooked in brown sauce covered in Chinese broccoli stems and some other vegetables. The steak was tender and flavorful and went well with the vegetables. Not much more to it than that, but it was quite good. 7.5/10
- Salt Baked Squid (Jiao Yen You Yu): This looked pretty, but it wasn’t nearly as good as South China Garden or NY Noodletown. The squid was a little on the chewy side and the batter didn’t have enough salt in it, so it was a little bland. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either. 6/10
- Sauteed String Beans (Chao Si Ji Dou): This was simply sautéed string beans with garlic. I thought the dish was decent, but it wasn’t flavored a lot, so I felt it was a bit bland and I also though the string beans could have been cooked for a little bit longer. Overall, it was decent, but nothing to write home about. 6.5/10
- Pork with Peppers: I didn’t order this, actually no one was quite sure who ordered this, so we think it might have been a mix up and ended up at our table as the restaurant was busy that night. It was sautéed sliced pork, green peppers, string beans, onions, baby corn, snap peas and basil in a brown sauce. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. 6/10
- Lobster Sauteed With Scallions and Ginger (Cong Jiang Chao Long Xia): This was surprisingly good as the lobster was fresh tasting, the meat was cooked nicely and it was just generally tasty. I generally find scallion and ginger preparation to be a little too plain for lobster and crab, but this still tasted good although I think South China Garden’s preparation is better although the quality of the lobster itself is basically the same. Overall though, this was a nice dish. 7.5/10
- Sauteed Pea Shoots (Qing Chao Dou Miao): This was a simple preparation of pea shoots sautéed with some garlic and oil. This was a standard preparation and it was cooked well. 7.25/10
- Pan Fried Flounder: Another classic Cantonese preparation of flounder. The skin was crispy, the meat was tender and the soy sauce was nice. Pretty self-explanatory, but this was quite good. 7.5/10
- Clams in Black Bean Sauce: The sauce here was good as it was flavorful and not overly gloppy. However, the clams were just decent. It was a decent, but not amazing. 6.5/10
- Red Bean Soup: Pretty standard, but it was good as it wasn’t overly watery and I prefer mine on the thick side, so I liked this. 7.5/10
Overall, I liked the food here and I’d definitely recommend coming here for Cantonese BBQ and Cantonese-style Peking duck.
72 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
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