Shifu Chio (CHML H.K. Inc.) – Solid Cantonese wonton noodle soup specialist

Shifu Chio (literally means “Master Chio”) is a place I’ve been meaning to come to for a long time.  Shifu Chio specializes in Cantonese wonton noodle soup. Wonton noodle soup in Hong Kong is sort of like the equivalent to ramen in Japan.  I think most people in the US don’t think of it that way because what you find here is usually a poorly made version that just happens to be some after-thought on the menu of a Cantonese BBQ joint, but in Hong Kong you’ll find shops that specialize in it and make really wonderful renditions of it.  I’ve been searching around New York for a good wonton noodle soup place for a long time to no avail.  When I really want it, I’ve gone to NY Noodletown, which has an okay version, but its better than the other places which have anywhere from bad to awful versions.  Recently, I was finally able to stop by for lunch.

The restaurant is very bare bones with plain wooden tables with menus that have pictures on them and an open kitchen and counter; not much more décor to speak of other than that.  The service is pretty gruff, but it is quick.  The menu is translated into English, I’m not sure how well they speak English, but the menu has pictures and English, so you should be fine.

Onto the food:

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup (with noodles on the side):

While I like both versions, I prefer this version slightly.  The preparation is the same except the noodles are put on the side as opposed to in the soup.  Also, the noodles are lightly tossed in oyster sauce giving them an extra flavor that I really like.  As far as the noodles go, these were quite good.  Cantonese wonton noodle soup uses thin egg noodles, the noodles should be al dente and have a good amount of “chew” to them and these definitely did.  The oyster sauce really kicked up the flavor.  The wontons were quite big; they were filled with shrimp and pork.  The filling was quite good, the pork was well minced and the shrimps were fresh.  The skins were good as well, they were definitely made there and were not overly thick or thin and importantly were not overcooked (most places overcook them and they get soggy).  The disappointing part was the broth.  The broth is usually made with some mixture of seafood (dried fish and / or shrimp) and pork bone.  The broth here was lacking depth of flavor that you get from a great broth that has been simmered for a long time and it was a bit on the salty side.  It wasn’t terrible, but was just okay.  However, overall I thought it was tasty and is definitely the best wonton noodle soup I’ve had in NY although the competition is basically non-existent. 7.75/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup:

Same thing except the noodles are in the soup with no oyster sauce.  I think we all preferred the version with the soup on the side. 7.5/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

I’d definitely recommend coming here to check out a pretty decent wonton noodle soup.  If they got a better broth going, this place would be excellent as the wontons and the noodles are quite good.

Address:

40-09 Prince St

Flushing, NY 11354

(718) 888-9295

You also need to be aware of transaction costs, it gets expensive to trade alot.

Seafood Village – Great Chao Zhou seafood, a taste of Hong Kong

Seafood Village is a Chinese seafood restaurant in Temple City that specializes in Chao Zhou (潮州) cuisine.  Chao Zhou, also known as Chiu Chow or Teochew, is an region in Guangdong province where better known Cantonese food is from; it is distinct in that they have their own language and cuisine.

Chao Zhou food is generally known to be lighter and less oily than Cantonese food.  It also relies on a lot of fresh ingredients.  When I was young I ate various Chao Zhou dishes, but mistakenly thought it was just Cantonese dishes.  I only started to understand the difference when I lived in Singapore and stayed in Hong Kong for an extended period of time (there are a lot of Chao Zhou in Singapore and there is a large population of Chao Zhou people in HK and it is among the most popular cuisines there).  I really came to appreciate it as one of my favorite Chinese cuisines.

Seafood Village looks like a typical Chinese banquet type of restaurant with high ceilings, chandeliers, white walls with pictures of the specialties on the wall.  It gets crowded as many families will come to have dinner there.  The service is fine and servers were reasonably nice and attentive.   Our server didn’t really speak English, but if you don’t have anyone that speaks Chinese it should not be a problem as the entire menu is translated into English and there is plenty of pictures in the menu, so pointing should work just fine.

On to the food:

Braised Duck and Tofu (Lu Wei / ):

This is a very famous style of Chao Zhou braising preparation called “lu wei” in Chinese.  It’s prepared braising meats in a mixture of soy sauce, star anise, water, spices and sugar.  It’s very popular and in Hong Kong you’ll see lots of small Chao Zhou restaurants with various lu wei meats hanging in the windows.  Although it looks similar to it’s Cantonese BBQ meats, it is much lighter, less salty and less fatty.  The version here is fairly typical in that it is sliced duck with the skin on over a bed of sliced tofu and boiled peanuts all over which have been thoroughly braised in the lu wei sauce (hence their yellowish color although it can also be a very brown color).  The flavor was good, it was nice and light and not salty (it should not be very salty).  The meat should have been a bit more tender, but it was still good.  The peanuts and tofu were excellent.  Overall, a good dish. 7.75/10

Beef and Radish casserole:

I believe this is more of a Cantonese dish, but this is a home style dish that I have a soft spot for, so I decided to try it here.  It is a very light flavored dish consisting of beef and radish (daikon) stewed in a slightly cloudy beef broth garnished with green onions and some crispy golden fried onions.  The beef was tender although not quite as tender as a really good version should be, still good nonetheless.  The daikon was excellent and had a good soft texture without being mushy.  The beef broth had a good flavor and wasn’t overly salty, but didn’t quite have the deep beef flavor that a really good version has.  I liked this dish although I think my family liked it less than I did. 8/10

Spicy Clam Casserole:

I ordered this dish because my girlfriend thought it sounded good.  It’s clams in a spicy broth with green onions and chilis diced up into it; at the bottom there was a bed of glass noodles.  It was spicy, but not overly spicy (there isn’t much spicy food in Chao Zhou cuisine).  The clams tasted fresh and were not overcooked, which is good because in a lot of casserole dishes I find the clams to be overcooked.  The broth was quite good, a bit more salty than I like, but still good.  I really liked the glass noodles as they complemented the spicy broth well.  Overall, another good dish, I think my family liked this dish better than I did though. 7.75/10

Garlic Fried Crab:

This is the dish that Seafood Village is famous for, you will see it on every table.  The dish consists of a large crab (I got a 4 lb crab) cut into pieces and battered in a garlic and salt batter then covered in delicious finely diced fried garlic and green onions.  This dish is so good, the crab is easy to eat as you can literally just bite into the crab shell and it cracks easily.  The meat is sweet and the batter is delicious.  I particularly love the  fried garlic on top, I eat it by itself.  Everyone loved this dish. 8.75/10

Golden Fried Rice:

Although the garlic crab is the most famous dish at Seafood Village, my favorite dish here is the golden fried rice.  It is a very simple preparation done really well.  It’s fried rice using egg whites only with thinly diced green onions, small golden fried onions, small bits of shrimps and meat in it as well.  It is so light and fluffy, not remotely oily or overly salty with a good wok flavor to it.  I ate like 3 bowls of it, I highly recommend this dish. 9/10

Green Bean Soup (Tang Shui):

This was complementary sweet green bean soup that most banquet restaurants give you.  It was pretty standard, just a sweet soup of green beans. 7.25/10

Crystal Buns:

These are small glutinous buns filled with various sweet fillings.  There are 4 varieties consisting of black sesame, custard, melon and lotus paste.  I’m not a huge fan of these as I don’t really like the oily glutinous exterior.  The fillings were pretty decent although I didn’t like the melon flavor as it tasted too artificial. 6.75/10

Overall, I like Seafood Village a lot.  The food is quite good and it’s a great place to go with a group of family or friends.  Highly recommend.

Address:
9669 Las Tunas Dr
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 286-2299

(there are also branches in Monterey Park and Rowland Heights as well)