Danny Ng’s Place – In Search of a Replacement For South China Garden (Part 3)


I’ve tried two other places trying to find a good Manhattan-based replacement for South China Garden, which you can see here and here.  Although I liked both, I didn’t think either of them were replacements.  However, I found a decent replacement in Danny Ng’s.

Danny Ng is a somewhat well known Chinatown Cantonese chef / restaurant owner that used to run Danny Ng’s on Pell Street, which closed and then later re-opened at its current location on Bowery just south of Canal.  Amazing 66 and Sing Kee have some affiliation as well although I’m not sure if it’s actual ownership or the chefs just used to work at Danny Ng’s.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor in a weird space below the now defunct Golden Bridge, which was located above it on the 2nd floor.  It’s set back between two staircases and the restaurant has no windows, so keep your eyes peeled as it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking.  It’s typical Chinatown décor in that there isn’t much although it seems relatively clean.  The clientele was almost strictly Cantonese Chinatown local type families.   The servers were reasonably nice and seemed to speak Chinese and English, so I don’t think communication should be much of a problem.

Here’s what we got:

Pork Bone Soup:

This was given as complementary soup.  It was a simple soup made from boiling pork bones with seasonings, but it was executed nicely as you could tell they didn’t cut corners and the soup was boiled properly so that you could taste the pork flavor.  It was clean, light and not too salty.  7.75/10

Roast Chicken with Preserved Cabbage:

This was typical Cantonese style chicken although I believe it is fried and not roasted as the English name says.   The skin was perfectly crispy and the meat was tender and juicy.  They topped it with minced preserved cabbage (mei cai 梅菜), which was very good, giving the chicken a nice salty and pickled flavor.  It all went together very well and I thought they did a really good job on this dish.  8.5/10

Sauteed String Bean with Minced Pork:

This was a standard version with string beans sautéed in oil with minced ground pork, but it ended up being the only weak dish of the night.  I prefer this dish with black bean in it, I also like my string beans a little more tender and thought it wasn’t dry enough and therefore didn’t get the good wok hay that you get when you make this dish well.  Wok hay is the somewhat smoky flavor you get from cooking in a wok at a very high temperature, which good Chinese chefs get. 6.75/10

Baked Lobster with Cheese:

This is a house specialty that sounds kind of weird, but I heard that it’s good from some friends and the waiter also recommended it.  Its fried pieces of lobster in a light cheese batter.  The result looks sort of ugly actually, but tastes pretty good.  The cheese is mild tasting and goes pretty well with the lobster which was nicely fresh.  It’s little hard to explain, but everyone thought it came out pretty decent.  8/10

Pan Fried Chilean Sea Bass:

I asked the waiter for a fish recommendation and he recommended this.  It’s a filet of Chilean sea bass that was breaded, fried and then topped with a thicker sweet soy sauce.  The outside was very crispy, but the meat was very tender.  The sauce on top was almost like a teriyaki sauce, but not quite as sweet or thick.  It was different than I was expecting, but everyone at the table thought this was quite good.  They also gave you French fries with the dish, which was kind of weird.  8.25/10

Peking Pork Chops:

This is an old school Cantonese classic that I really like.  It’s simply fried pork chops in a sweet and sour sauce.  The downfall of this dish is either the batter is too thick and oily or the sauce is too gloppy or too watery.  However, the version here was one of the better versions I’ve had in a while as it had none of the downfalls that I just mentioned and was really pretty addictive.  8.25/10

Steamed Dungeness Crab with Sticky Rice:

This is the dish that I always get at Imperial Palace / East Lake, which you can see here.  I was quite interested to try it since I barely see it in the city.  The flavor of the rice was pretty decent with a nice crab flavor.  However, the texture was definitely not as good as Imperial Palace / East Lake where it’s very al dente; it was mushier here.  Also, they didn’t put enough of the fried garlic and scallions on top so while it tasted good it wasn’t quite as flavorful as Imperial Palace / East Lake.  Overall though I thought it was tasty and worth ordering, but a notch below Imperial Palace / East Lake’s version.  7.75/10

Green Bean Soup:

This was complementary dessert soup.  It was the typical sweet green bean soup with tapioca in it.  It was pretty decent.  7.5/10

Overall, this was a very satisfying meal as the execution on the food is definitely a notch up from other restaurants in Chinatown and this is a good replacement for South China Garden.


52 Bowery, Ground Floor (between Bayard St & Canal St)

New York, NY 10013

(212) 608-0688

Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy – A Hard to Find Chinese Candy in Chinatown


Dragon beard candy is a fairly rare Chinese candy that surprisingly is found here in Manhattan’s Chinatown.  A while back I’d seen this cart around a couple of times, but I figured that it went out of business because I only saw it a few times and it’s not really a Cantonese or Fujian candy, so I figured it just never got any traction.  However, that seems to not be the case as it seems to be permanently located in a fish and vegetable market on Grand between Chrystie and Bowery.

Dragon Beard Candy:

Dragon beard candy looks like a bunch of white cocoons.  Typically, it’s one of those things that I’ve found to be more of a novelty than something I craved, but I can respect someone who knows how to make it since I think it’s sort of a pain to make and has a very short shelf life. It’s made up of sugar, maltose syrup, ground peanuts and coconut.  The sugar and maltose syrup is melted and pulled into fine strands, which is sort of similar to cotton candy, but finer.  The interior is filled with a mixture of ground peanuts and coconut shavings.  I found Yao’s version to be quite good, actually better than most other versions I’ve had.  The strands are delicate and very fine and I liked the ground mixture in the inside.  I enjoyed them enough to buy them more than once.  Here’s a Wikipedia article about them.  Overall, it’s pretty good and definitely worth a try. 8/10

If you’re in Chinatown, I’d suggest dropping in and giving it a try as it’s definitely not very easy to find even in Asia and it’s pretty tasty.


Grand Street between Chrystie and Bowery (located inside the market on the corner of Grand and Chrystie)

New York, NY

M&T Restaurant – Interesting Qingdao Cuisine in Flushing


M&T is a restaurant in Flushing that specializes in Qingdao cuisine.  The restaurant that has been fairly extensively covered by most of the major food websites such as Chowhound, Yelp and Serious Eats.  After reading lots of glowing reports, I finally made it out here to try it out.

Qingdao is a port city that is located in the Shandong province in China, which is located a little to the southeast of Beijing and Tianjin.  In America, it’s probably most well known for their beer brand Tsingtao. Qingdao cuisine is part of Shandong cuisine, but I believe it is fairly heavily weighted towards seafood given its location as a port city.  I don’t know that much about Shandong / Qingdao cuisine as it’s not something I grew up eating and it’s not very common in the Chinese areas of Asia that I normally travel to, which are further south.  So this was an interesting experience for me as it’s something I’m not too familiar with.

The restaurant is tiny, it can probably fit about 20-25 people in total.  It’s doesn’t have much in the way of décor, but it has a wall that is covered with pictures of their specials.  The lady who ran the place was pretty nice and the service was fine.  I’m not sure if they speak English, but the menu is completely translated into English and there are lots of pictures, so you shouldn’t have any problem just pointing.

Here’s what we got:

Spicy Potato Strips:

This was given to us as a complementary appetizer.  It was thinly sliced potato strips in a ma la sauce (ma = numbing sensation, la = spicy).  This was quite good, the flavors were clean and the potato strips had a good soft texture.  8/10


Peanuts and Dried Fish:

They have a display case where you can see various cold appetizers and I saw this dish and it looked good, so I ordered it.  It’s very simple roasted peanuts and tiny dried fish.  The peanuts tastes like typical salted peanuts and the tiny fish have a nice flavor that isn’t too fishy and tasted good with the salty peanuts.  It’s kind of beer drinking type food, but I enjoy this type of thing.  8/10


I asked the lady for a fish recommendation and she said that she liked the eel, so we ordered this. It was sliced eel with green peppers and onions in a slightly spicy and sweet sauce.  The sauce was excellent, it had good flavor and wasn’t gloppy or overly sweet.  The peppers and onions tasted great.  The eel was pretty good, but it was a bit hard to eat because of the way they cut it, you ended up having to try to eat around the bones and it also made some pieces a bit on the chewy side.  If they cut the eel a different way to allow people to easier eat the meat it’d be better, but it was a pretty decent dish overall. 8/10

Sautéed Snow Pea Leaves:

The lady also recommended this as a vegetable dish.  This is a fairly ubiquitous dish that many different regional Chinese cuisines serve.  It’s simply dou miao (snow pea leaves) sautéed with oil, salt and garlic.  The dou miao was cooked well, but they put too much salt in it.  7.25/10

Salt and Pepper Ginseng:

This was ginseng battered it in a salt and pepper batter similar to the typical Cantonese preparation that many people in the US have probably tried.  When I ordered it the lady almost tried to dissuade me from ordering it as she said it’s quite bitter, but I was very curious about it, so I ordered it anyhow.  Normally, you see ginseng used in some herbal soups and things like that, but I’d never seen it cooked in this manner.  The batter was quite oily and heavy although it had decent flavor.  The pieces of ginseng had the consistency of a root like lotus root and had a slightly bitter flavor, but not nearly as bitter as the lady made it out to be.  I thought it was okay, but the batter was way too oily and heavy.  7/10

Fried Pork Chop in Shrimp Sauce:

This was another dish I was quite curious about.  It was pork chops that are covered in a fermented shrimp sauce and then deep fried.  The pork chops were excellent; they were tender and not oily at all.  The batter had a good texture as it was nice and crispy without being overly oily.  The shrimp sauce was interesting.  It had a very fermented flavor and tasted similar to Korean tenjang (fermented bean sauce).  The flavor wasn’t off-putting, but I didn’t really love it either. However, I could tell this dish was well prepared because of the texture of the meat and the light-handed nature of the batter, but the flavoring just didn’t really match my palate.  Overall, I thought the dish was decent, but probably not something I’d get again.  7.5/10

Hot and Spicy Prawns:

The lady also recommended these, so we gave them a try.  These were whole prawns lightly battered and fried with chili salt and green peppers.  The prawns were nicely fresh and the meat had a good firm texture and was sweet.  The frying technique was good as well as they were crispy without being overly oily.  While they looked like they were going to have a lot of flavor, I actually found the seasoning to be too light handed.  They tasted like they barely had any salt on them and didn’t have much spice either.  It was a decent dish, but I don’t think I’d order it again.  7.5/10

Overall, while I thought it was good, I don’t think the flavors really matched my palate and it was more of a novelty for me than a “must try” destination, but that said I think it’s great that Flushing is getting more and more unique regional Chinese cuisines that were unavailable only a few years ago and I hope more places like M&T keep popping up.

44-09 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 539-4100

Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex – Exceptional Lobster and Shellfish in the Lower Eastside


Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex specializes in lobster rolls and other shellfish.  I’ve heard about Ed’s Lobster Bar in Soho for a long time, but for some reason I never got around to trying it.  However, when I heard they opened up a branch in the Lower Eastside, I immediately decided to try it as it was an exciting addition to the neighborhood.

The restaurant is located in the space previously occupied by the now defunct Sachiko’s on Clinton Street across from Clinton Street Bakery.  The space has been nicely redecorated with white walls, white marble counter tops and light wood.  The motif works well as I feel like restaurants serving lobster rolls are supposed to have spring colors because I immediately think of New England / Martha’s Vineyard architecture when I think of lobster rolls and this matches that idea.  The restaurant is laid out with a bar at the front of the restaurant, a raw bar in the middle and full tables and outdoor seating in the back.  I enjoy sitting at the raw bar as you can talk to the staff and watch them prepare some of the dishes.

Here’s what we’ve tried:

Oyster Sampler Plate:

This was a platter sampling all of their different types of oysters.  It included Beausoleil, Canada Cup, Rappahannock, St Simon and Tatamaguchi. While each of the oysters had a different flavor, they were all very good and tasted very fresh.  They gave a trio of condiments including a vinaigrette, a chunky cocktail type sauce and horse radish. This was excellent.  8.25/10

Clam Chowder:

I’m a huge fan of clam chowder so I was excited to try their version.  I don’t think I’m a clam chowder connoisseur and I’ve never lived in New England, but I thought this was one of the better clam chowders I’ve ever had.  It was rich and creamy, but not overly salty like a lot of the clam chowders that I’ve tried have been.  The clam in it was nice and didn’t taste overcooked like most clam chowder.  I really liked adding the oyster crackers to it as it added a nice crunchy texture to the soup.  This was great. 8.5/10

Lobster Bisque:

We also tried the lobster bisque, which was also excellent although my girlfriend preferred the clam chowder.  It was creamy and smoky and you could taste the flavor of the lobster.  I really like the smokiness of it. They also added a single lobster ravioli into the soup, which was a nice touch.  This was delicious. 8.25/10

Octopus Crudo:

This was simple poached octopus with olive oil and salt.  The octopus was beautifully tender and the combo of olive oil and salt went really well with this.  This was probably the second best octopus I’ve had in NY with 15 East’s octopus being the best.  8.5/10

Mini-Lobster Roll:

We wanted to try a lot of stuff, so instead of getting the full lobster roll we decided to get the mini-lobster roll.  The roll is toasted brioche, which was really good, it had a nice sweetness to it that really complimented the lobster well and the crunchy texture of the toasted bread was nice.  The lobster meat was excellent; it was perfectly cooked and had a little bit of creaminess because of the sauce they use.  This was really good and I think this might have been better than Luke’s which has been my go to lobster roll spot.  8.75/10

Fried Clam Slider:

This was clam that had been fried in a corn meal batter served on a toasted mini sesame hamburger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickled red onions and tartar sauce.  I really liked the corn meal batter as it complements the clam very well.  I did scrap off some of the tartar sauce because I’m not a huge fan of tartar sauce.  Overall, this was solidly good.  7.75/10

Fried Oyster Slider:

This was oyster prepared in the same way as the fried clam except it was served on a tiny brioche with tartar sauce only.  The oyster tasted very similar to the clam and the whole thing was quite good. 8/10


They gave these as a side to the fried clam and oyster sliders.  They are sweet and tart at the same time.  I thought they were really good. 8.5/10

Lobster Tacos:

These were hard taco shells filled with lobster dressed in a Panamanian green sauce and red cabbage coleslaw. The lobster meat was good, but the sauce was too sweet.  While I thought it was good, it was the one thing that I don’t think I’d order again as I thought the sauce was too sweet.  6.75/10

Lobster Ravioli:

These were homemade ravioli stuffed a minced lobster meat filling. The ravioli were nicely al dente and you could tell they were homemade.  The filling was nice albeit quite simple.  The sauce was just a simple cream sauce although I thought it was a bit on the bland side.  It was good, but I think that the dish needs to be a tweaked a little because the sauce led it to being a bit bland. 7.25/10

Fried Apple Pie a la mode:

This was a freshly fried apple pie that looks like an empanada and is dusted with cinnamon sugar.  The filling is apple and cinnamon and the exterior is flaky pastry dough.  It honestly tastes like a really good McDonald’s apple pie. It pairs very nicely with vanilla ice cream. 8/10

Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich:

This was three small brioches with a scoop of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream.  The brioche is excellent and the buttery and sweet flavor of the brioche goes well with the ice cream.  We both liked the strawberry ice cream the best, but they are all good.  8.25/10

Belfast Bay Lobster Ale:

I kind of had to order this because it’s a “lobster ale”, typical ale that is a big bitter and hoppy, but just wanted to show it because I liked the lobster theme.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ed’s Lobster Roll Annex, I thought the food was exceptional and I’d highly recommend checking it out.

25 Clinton St (bet Avenue B & Houston St)
Manhattan, NY 10002
(212) 777-7370

Mary Queen of Scots – Delicious Scottish Gastropub Fare in the Lower Eastside


Mary Queen of Scots is a relatively new restaurant in the Lower Eastside that serves Scottish gastropub fare.  I know exactly zero about Scottish food, I’ve never been there and I can’t remember running into a Scottish restaurant in the US.  Given my knowledge base, I don’t have much authority on what most of this stuff is supposed to taste like and I get the feeling this is a somewhat modern take on Scottish food. That said I think it’s a pretty enjoyable place.

The restaurant is located in the defunct Allen & Delancey space.  They did a nice job decorating the place.  It’s all wood with exposed brick and a sort library bookshelf motif.  It’s got a lot going on without feeling cluttered.  The service was good, our server was attentive without being overbearing and was very friendly.

Here’s what we got:


These were oysters served with a shallot thyme mignonette.  I’m blanking as to where they are from right now, but they tasted fresh with a nice briny taste.  The simple mignonette complemented them well giving them a nice tangy flavor without being overpowering.  8/10

Marinated Olives:

This was olives marinated in oil and seasonings.  It’s kind of hard to mess up olives and the version here while standard was tasty.  7.75/10

Ploughman’s Lunch:

This was a platter of Mrs. Quieke’s cheddar, scotch quail egg, pork rillette, cornichons and black pepper-apple chutney.  The cheddar was standard, but fresh and tasty.  The scot quail egg was decent (breaded fried sausage wrapped hard boiled egg), but I don’t think it stacked up against the one at the Breslin, it wasn’t as flavorful or decadent.   The pork rillette was good and tasted like a nice pate, it went well with the freshly grilled bread.  The cornichons and black pepper-apple chutney complimented the pork rillette well.  7.75/10

Mushy Peas:

I love mushy peas, they don’t sound good, but they’re delicious. I was excited that they served these. They’re a bit creamy and have a mild pea flavor, which doesn’t sound spectacular, but I think they’re great.  Most people at the table were like “are those going to be any good?”, but they all of them ended up  liking it. 8/10

King Prawn Fish & Chips:

This was exactly what it sounds like fried king prawn, fried fish and fries.  It was served with a homemade tartar sauce.  It was pretty self-explanatory, but it was good.  The batter wasn’t overly dense of greasy.  The meat of the prawns tasted fresh and sweet and the meat of the fish was nice and flaky.  The fries were nicely freshly fried.  Overall, this was good.  7.75/10

Lamb Desi:

This was my dish.  It consisted of a stewed lamb curry served with grilled naan bread, yogurt and curry leaf steamed rice.  This sounded sort of odd coming from a Scottish gastropub, but Britain has a long history with India and the Indian food in London is amazing, so I guess it made more sense once I thought about it.  I’m not even totally sure why I ordered it, but it just sounded like it would hit the spot.  It turned out to be pretty tasty.  The curry while much more mild than you would get at an Indian restaurant was tasty.  The lamb was nicely cooked and the meat was very tender to the point where it would fall apart.  It almost reminded me more of a pot roast that had a curry flavor as opposed to a normal Indian curry.  The bread and rice were both fresh and tasted great with the curry sauce.  7.75/10

Chips and Curry Sauce:

This was pretty self-explanatory; it was simply freshly fried fries with a curry sauce, but it was good.  7.75/10

Seared Tuna Salad:

This was haricot vert, quail egg and seared tuna in a worcestershire-red onion dressing.  The seared tuna was fresh and all the ingredients went well together. 7.75/10

Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème:

This was a decadent chocolate pudding that came with a toasted black peppermint marshmallow.  The pudding was nice and creamy and not overly sweet; the toasted black peppermint marshmallow went well it.  Overall, this was nice.  7.5/10

Banoffee Pudding Coffee Caramel:

This was very good.  It was a banana toffee pudding in a graham cracker crust served with some homemade whipped cream and sliced bananas topped with a coffee caramel sauce.  It was rich and decadent, but I thought it was made very well. 8/10

Overall, I enjoyed my experience here.  All of the food was solidly good, the setting was nice and the service was good.  Part of why I like living in the Lower Eastside is that the food scene seems to have a constant flow of new good restaurants opening up and I’d categorize this as one those.  I’d recommend trying it out.

115 Allen St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 460-0915

New Chiu Chow (Formerly New Chao Chow) – Another Taste of Chao Zhou Cuisine


In my post on Bo Ky, I mentioned that there are only 3 places in NYC that serve Teo Chew food (潮州, Chao Zhou, Chiu Chow) cuisine and New Chiu Chow is one of them.  I gave some background on Chiu Chow cuisine in my Bo Ky post which you can see here.

I also mentioned that I generally like New Chiu Chow a little better than I like Bo Ky although both are pretty decent.  That is generally still true although I think New Chiu Chow changed chefs as the food was a little different on my latest visit.  Although this was the first time I’ve ever eaten there on a Sunday night so it’s possible it’s just a different chef on Sunday nights.  I plan on going back soon to see if that is the case or not.

The restaurant is typical Chinatown décor that is there is no décor to speak of.  The waiters are reasonably nice, but the service is standard brisk Chinatown service.  They do speak English and the menu is in English so you will have no problems if you don’t speak Chinese.  I believe one or two of the older waiters are Teo Chew, but most of the waiters are Cantonese.  They have Vietnamese writing all over the menu and the restaurant, so it’s possible the original owners / waiters are Teo Chew people from Vietnam like Bo Ky.

Anyhow, on to the food:

Chili Oil:

Formerly, I would’ve said that New Chiu Chow had the best chili oil in Chinatown, but it seems to have changed a little bit and I’d actually give the edge to Bo Ky now as there isn’t as much shrimp paste in it, so it was a little less flavorful although still quite good. 7.75/10

Chao Chow Style Duck (Chao Zhou Lu Shui Ya):

As mentioned in my Bo Ky post this is a type of soy sauce braised duck.  The meat is tender and has great flavor from the braising, the skin is delicious and the vinegar sauce they give you really cuts through the fat nicely.  This is my favorite dish here and is definitely better than Bo Ky’s version. 8.25/10

Wonton Noodle Soup (Chao Zhou Yun Dun Mian):

New Chiu Chow makes a decent wonton noodle soup, it’s not going to blow your mind away, but it’s certainly most of the places in Chinatown.  7.25/10

Combination Rice Stick Soup On The Side:

This is mee pok ta / bak chor mee, which I talked about in my Bo Ky post.  The version at New Chiu Chow is a little better than Bo Ky although it’s not as good as before.  The noodles were good, nice and al dente.  All of the ingredients tasted fresh and good (pork, shrimp, liver, squid, scallions, fried onions and bean sprouts); I think they are a little better than Bo Ky.  The reason I say that it was not as good as before is that the soup broth used to be really fragrant and nice and this time it wasn’t as fragrant and was a little too salty although still good overall.  7.75/10

Chao Fried Prawn Balls Shrimp (Chao Zhou Xia Su):

This is another Chao Zhou dish that as far as I know you can only get at New Chiu Chow.  It’s called hae chor in Teo Chew.  For some reason their version went from mediocre to being pretty decent.  For Taiwanese people, it will remind you of a chicken roll (ji juan雞卷).  It is pork and shrimp paste, seasoned with five spice powder, wrapped and rolled in a beancurd skin and deep-fried.  It is served with a sweet orange sauce that is reminiscent of duck sauce you find out in take-out Chinese restaurants. The outside was nice and crispy, but not oily and the inside was tender and flavorful.  I don’t know why, but these just got a lot better than what I had here in the past. 8/10

Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce:

This was a pretty standard rendition, but it was good.  The vegetables were cooked perfectly and the oyster sauce tasted good with it. 7.5/10

Overall, I still enjoy New Chiu Chow even though the food seems to have changed a bit (some for the better, some for the worst).  I’d recommend trying out New Chiu Chow to get a taste of a cuisine that is rare to find in NY.

111 Mott St
New York, NY 10079
(212) 226-2590

Patate Fellow – Great New Korean Fried Chicken and Hot Wings Restaurant in the Lower Eastside


Patate Fellow is a new restaurant that opened up in the defunct Fat Hippo space on Clinton Street.  They are a Korean fusion restaurant that specializes in fried chicken.  However, their chicken is not like most Korean fried chicken such as Kyo Chon or Bon Chon, it’s more similar to Baden Baden.

The restaurant is in a dark space that looks like a sports bar with a large screen playing sports games and another TV behind bar as well.  The people who run it are very friendly and the service was good.

On to the food:

Patate Fellow Chicken & Fried Platter:

This is tong dak, which is a Korean fried chicken that looks like rotisserie chicken, but is actually fried chicken.  This is the same dish that Baden Baden in Koreatown specializes in.  The chicken here actually looks exactly the same as Baden Baden. The skin is crispy and flavorful and the meat is juicy and tender.  They give you several sauces including a curry sauce, ketchup, yuzu sauce etc.  The sauce I prefer though is the standard spicy vinegar sauce and ketchup that they normally give you at Korean tong dak places.  The fries were freshly fried and tasted good.  The fried garlic tastes great as well.  This was very good and I think it was on par or maybe even a little better than Baden Baden in Koreatown.  7.5/10

Spicy Hot Wings:

These were fried very nicely and the meat was quite tender.  They don’t really look spicy, but they are actually reasonably spicy.  The seasoning was different than I was expecting, it tasted somewhat similar to Tabasco sauce. They are served with a blue cheese dressing. These were pretty good, but I preferred the Patate Fellow chicken. 7/10

Overall, I liked Patate Fellow and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.  It’s worth checking out.

71 Clinton St (between Stanton St & Rivington St)
Manhattan, NY 10002
(212) 533-4781

Hsin Wong – Good Cantonese BBQ and Peking Duck in Chinatown


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
(212) 925-6526

Niko – Solid New Sushi / Japanese Restaurant in Soho


I’ve been reading about Niko for some time as it has a bunch of well known people attached to it such as Hiro Sawatari who was formerly one of the top sushi chefs from Sushi Yasuda and Cobi Levy from defunct Charles.  I was pretty excited to try it since I’m always looking for new good sushi places and Yasuda is my favorite sushi place in the city.

The restaurant is located on the second floor in the space that formerly housed the now defunct Honmura An (RIP, Honmura An was my favorite soba spot in the city).  The décor is fairly minimalist with partially exposed brick walls.  The front end is the table area and the back area is the bar and the sushi bar.  It’s definitely got a bit of a hipper vibe than most sushi places as they have some music playing and the crowd is definitely a little more downtown chic.

I read on yelp about service problems, but our service was pretty good.  Our waiters did seem a little over stretched, but that’s likely growing pains from just opening.  Cobi came by and talked to us for a while and he was a nice guy.

We sat at the sushi bar in front of Nobu who is the 2nd sushi chef.  He was an extremely nice guy who just moved here from LA.  We talked to him quite a bit and he previously worked at Mori Sushi, which is arguably the best sushi place in LA.  He met Hiro eating at Morimoto’s in Philadelphia when he was visiting a friend and that’s how he ended up working here.

Anyhow, onto the food:

Tokyo Fried Chicken:

This was just chicken karaage.  However, I thought this was quite good.  The chicken was tender and flavorful, wasn’t overly oily and the batter was nicely seasoned.  It was served with a vinegar sauce and a sort of light sweet honey mustard, both sauces were good, but I preferred the vinegar sauce.  I like simple fried foods prepared correctly, so this was right up my alley.  8/10

Kanpachi (Yellowtail):

This was from Japan.  This was a good clean tasting piece of yellowtail, I liked it.  7.5/10


This was from North Carolina.  Fluke isn’t my favorite cut of fish, but this was clean tasting and good as well.  7.5/10

Big Eyed Tuna:

This was interesting as it was from Ecuador and I’ve never had tuna from Ecuador. The meat was a bit firmer than most big eyed tuna I’ve had, but it had good flavor and tasted fresh.  7.5/10

Japanese Mackerel:

This was from Japan. This was excellent, it had the nice oily-ness that good mackerel has, wasn’t overly fishy and had great flavor, one of my favorite pieces of the night.  8.25/10

Sea Bream:

This was from Japan.  This was interesting as I haven’t had sea bream that many times.  It was a nice piece of fish that was pretty mild flavored.  7.5/10

Sweet Potato Roll:

This was interesting. It was a thin handroll with fried Japanese sweet potato, shiso and one other green vegetable which I’m forgetting right now.  It was fried nicely and everything was fresh, but I wasn’t crazy about the combo of shiso and sweet potato. 6.75/10

Blue Fin Toro:

This was from Japan.  This was excellent, another one of the best pieces of the night.  The texture was “melt in your mouth” and the flavor was great.  This was as good as any of the top sushi places in NY.  8.25/10

Artic Char:

I like artic char a lot and it was good here.  Good clean flavors and nice texture.  7.75/10

Shima Aji:

This was a nice piece of shima aji (striped jack).  Surprisingly flavorful, I should’ve asked where it was from.  7.75/10

Umezuke Handroll:

This was mashed umezuke (a type of pickled plum-like fruit) with shiso.  I’m partial to ume because I grew up eating it, but I’m not sure how most people would feel about it as it’s fairly sour tasting, but it was good with the shiso.  This was not a typical sushi dish, but I liked it nonetheless.  7.5/10

Ikura Handroll:

The ikura (salmon eggs) were nice and this was pretty standard, but good.  7.5/10

Spanish Mackerel:

This was from North Carolina.  I liked this cut.  It was very clean tasting and good texture.  7.75/10

Unagi Shirayaki:

This was from Japan.  Unagi is fresh water eel, which is among my favorite sushi.  Because of Hiro’s Yasuda heritage I was hoping this would be good.  It was prepared simply with just some sea salt, which I like because you can taste the natural sweetness of the meat if it’s a good piece of eel.  This piece was good, the eel had good texture and great flavor not quite as good as Yasuda’s but definitely some of the better unagi I’ve had in the city.  8/10


This was the same thing, but prepared with sauce.  This was also good although I thought the piece with just salt was better.  7.5/10

Overall, I thought the food was very good.  I think Nobu said that they’d be getting other varieties of fish soon, so that would be nice.  Hopefully, they can fix some of the service problems that I read about on yelp as it’d be a shame if a place serving good food got taken down by service problems.  I’d like to sit in front of Hiro next time to see how he is as well.  I’d recommend trying this place out.

170 Mercer St (between Prince St & Houston St)
Manhattan, NY 10012
(212) 991-5650

New J&B (formerly King’s Seafood) – Potentially The Worst Dim Sum I Have Ever Had


I generally think I’m pretty good at filtering restaurants. I’ve usually researched a restaurant enough to figure out whether there is a reasonable chance that it’s good or if it’s something like Chinese food where reviews can be unreliable you can usually scout it out to see if there are tell tale signs that could be good.  In the case of New J&B there were a lot of signs that it should be good: hidden, crowded and not a single non-Chinese patron (nothing wrong with non-Chinese, but generally if I don’t see a lot of the given ethnicity in a restaurant I immediately get skeptical).  Unfortunately, they all these signs were very wrong.

I noticed this place a while ago when it was called King’s Seafood (it is also called New J&B on the check).  The state of dim sum in Manhattan is quite bad, so I’m always trying to find a new good dim sum restaurant.   So my GF and I walked in on a Saturday around 11am to check it out.

New J&B located on the 2nd floor of a commercial building on East Broadway in Chinatown.  When you walk in, it looks like a typical Chinese banquet hall.  It was quite crowded and so I was hoping maybe I’d found a new gem.  However, that was not the case.

Here’s what we got:

Steamed Shrimp Rice Crepe (Ha Cheung Fan / Xia Chang Fen):

This was the only dish that was even passable.  It was okay, the rice noodle was a bit thicker than it should be, the shrimps were okay and the soy sauce was fine.  It wasn’t terrible, but just okay.  6.5/10

Steamed Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gao / Xia Jiao):

Wow, these were so bad.  They were way oversteamed, so they all stuck to each other and paper at the bottom of the steamer, they’d completely fall apart by the time you got done un-sticking them from the paper and the other dumplings.  The skins were really thick and gooey.  The shrimp filling was bland and just generally mediocre.  One of the worst renditions I’ve ever had. 4/10

Pork and Thousand Year Egg Congee (Pi Dan Zhu Rou Zhou):

I don’t normally get this at dim sum because I usually find congee at dim sum places tends to be sort of mediocre.  However, we were sort of craving it so we tried it out.  The congee was flavorless, there was barely any pork or thousand year egg in it and I think it had been sitting around too long because it was luke warm.  Another bad dish.  5.5/10

Zha Liang (Fried Crueller Wrapped in Rice Crepe):

This is one of my favorite dim sum dishes.  However, again it was a travesty here.  The rice dough was too thick and had clearly been sitting around for a while as it was sort of cold and stiff.  The fried crueller (you tiao) in the middle was mushy and had also been sitting around too long.  We barely ate any of this.  3.5/10

Clams in Black Bean Sauce (Dou Chi Jiang Ge Li):

I really like clams in black bean sauce.  In an attempt to salvage the meal, I went over to the station where they were cooking fresh food hoping that it would be better than the garbage we had eaten so far.  However, this was probably the worst renditions of the dish I’ve ever had.  The black bean sauce was a flavorless gloppy mess.  The clams were overcooked and rubbery.  This was awful.  3/10

This is my first really bad review I’ve written in a really long time.  Oriental Garden served me one of my worst dim sum experiences ever and this was worse than that.  I couldn’t believe that place had any patrons even places like Golden Unicorn which I do not like at all are better.  I definitely recommend not going here.

39-41 E Broadway
New York, NY 10079
(212) 233-3359

Southern Spice – Interesting Southern Indian Food in Flushing


I’ve been reading about Southern Spice in Flushing for a while.  I finally decided to try it a couple of weeks ago.   It is a southern Indian restaurant that according to the website serves food from Andhra Pradesh (where Hyderbad is located), Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.  It was interesting because I’ve heard about this Chicken 65 dish for years because I knew a guy from Hyderbad who told me about this dish all the time (it was one of his favorite dishes), but I’d never seen it on the a menu and Southern Spice serves it.  So, I figured this was a Hyderbadi restaurant.

It’s located in a somewhat run down area of the Flushing and the outside of the restaurant matches the neighborhood (i.e. it looks way run down).  The inside is a bit nicer, but not much décor to speak of either.

Here’s what we got:

Chicken 65:

This was pan sautéed cubes of chicken breast marinated in spicy ground peppers.  It’s got a ton of spices all over it; you can really taste the spicy ground peppers and onions. The chicken meat is pretty good, it’s not dried out.  It was one of the more spicy dishes here.  I highly recommend squeezing the lime all over it; that really made the dish a lot better and tastes completely different with the lime on it.  It also tastes a lot better with some rice.  Overall it was pretty good although I did find it a bit on the salty side and it wasn’t as transcendent as a lot of reviews made it out to be. 7.25/10

Lamb Sukka Varuval:

The manager recommended this dish.  It was boneless lamb dry sautéed with spices and fresh ground peppercorn.  I liked this dish, it wasn’t gamey at all.  The spicing was nice and it was spicy.  The lamb meat wasn’t dried out and if you put some yogurt on it it really took it up a notch.  One of the better dishes we had. 7.75/10

Channa Masala:

This was interesting, it was much different than most channa masala I’ve had.  Channa masala is chick peas in a ginger curry sauce.  However, the ginger was much more evident than most versions I’ve had and the sauce was much more watery in texture as opposed to being more of a thick gravy.  The one downside to the dish was that I felt the chick peas were a bit undercooked, they weren’t bad, but they should be a little softer. 7.25/10

Garlic Naan and Onion Kulcha:

We got these to eat with our main dishes.  Onion kulcha is a naan stuffed with coriander and onions.  This was really good, probably the best onion kulcha I’ve had in the US.  The garlic naan was just unleavened flat garlic bread.  This was also really good.  They definitely make some of the best Indian breads I’ve had in NY.  8.25/10

Hyderbadi Mutton Dum Biriyani:

This was also recommended by the manager and I’d read various glowing reviews of it.  It is slow cooked basmati rice with mutton, fresh herbs and spices.  The rice itself was decent, but I was disappointed in the meat.  When I had really good biriyani in India, the meat turned out reasonably tender, but the meat here was pretty dry.  The dish was also a bit on the bland side.  I had to dump a bunch of yogurt on it to make it better.  I was a bit disappointed in this dish. 7/10

Jumbo Prawn Coconut Curry:

The manager also recommended this dish.  This was awesome by far the best dish we had.  It was shrimp in coconut curry gravy.  The gravy is slightly sweet and creamy.  It was so good and it tasted amazing with the rice.  The shrimps were cooked well and not overcooked.  I really liked this dish and everyone else agreed that it was definitely the best dish. 8.25/10

Overall, it was a good restaurant although I do not think that it lived up to the hype that I had read on chowhound or yelp.  I don’t think I’d come all the way from the city to Flushing for it.  Although if I lived in Queens or it was located in the city, I’d go back again.  I might come back just for that jumbo prawn coconut curry.

143-06 45th Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 359-3486

South China Garden (formerly Cantoon Garden) – Still the Best Restaurant in Chinatown


I originally wrote about South China Garden (formerly Cantoon Garden) in January 2009, which you can see here, as one of the best restaurants in Chinatown.  Since then not too much has changed except for the English name; the Chinese name remains the same 粵江春餐館 (yue jiang chun can guan) which literally means Cantonese river spring restaurant, but really is referring to the Pearl River.  The menu, staff, manager and cooks all remain the same.  This has led to it also being the most consistent restaurant in Chinatown, which is actually quite a feat seeing how many if not most restaurants in Chinatown seem to suffer from ups and downs in quality as their kitchen staff comes and goes.

I probably come here about once a month maybe more, so I also come here much more frequently than any other restaurant in Chinatown by a long shot.  I’ve also slightly changed my order patterns as I’ve found other dishes in the restaurant that are very good.  I decided to write this post as an update since things are always changing in Chinatown and this is my re-affirmation that this is my favorite restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Here’s my latest meal here as well as my typical order now:

黃龍魚兩食 (Huang Long Yu Liang Shi / Yellow Dragon Fish Cooked Two Ways):

The one type of dish I always felt was missing at SCG was a good Cantonese fish dish, which I feel is pretty emblematic of Cantonese cuisine.  I’m not a big fan of the type of fresh water fish they used in their qing zheng yu (steamed fish) as it has that sort of fresh water fish taste that I’m not a big fan of (think the fish equivalent of being gamey).  This time I asked the waiter what fish is good and he told me to order the 黃 龍魚 (huang long yu).  Unfortunately, it is not listed on the menu and only listed on the wall in Chinese (hence I’ve provided the Chinese characters to make things easier for anyone who wants to try this).  First comes out the a very light fish soup that boils the fish, tofu, mushrooms, ginger and baby bok choy together and then they separate the soup from the ingredients.  The soup is excellent, very light, not fish and goes great with a dash of white pepper.  The other ingredients they give you on the side, but they’re not all that tasty since you’ve sapped most of the flavor for the soup.

The second preparation is diced pieces of the fish that have been lightly sautéed in a light clear sauce with peas (in the shoot), some other green stalk vegetable which I couldn’t identify and mushrooms.  This is a big winner, the fish is much higher quality (not remotely fishy), very tender and just a really good dish.  I highly recommend this as it’s one of my favorite dishes on the menu now. 8.25/10

Lobster in XO Sauce (XO Jiang Chao Long Xia):

This has been another staple dish for me and is not only quite good, but a steal for $25 for two lobsters.  I’ve tried most of the preparations and I prefer the XO sauce the best as it has good flavor and a slight amount of spice that really make it quite good.  The lobster is always tender and the sauce is great. 8/10

Fried Stuffed Hot Peppers:

This is another one of my newer favorite dishes here.  It is spicy green peppers stuffed with a fish paste and then sautéed in a black bean sauce.  The peppers are really delicious and the fish paste and black bean sauce go really well with the peppers. Surprisingly, the green peppers can be very spicy (it depends sometimes they are spicy, sometimes not) as Cantonese food isn’t usually even remotely spicy.   If you don’t like spicy food, I suggest removing the fish paste (it comes out easily) and scrapping out the seeds as the seeds are what is actually hot. 8.5/10

Salt Baked Squid (Jiao Yen You Yu):

Along with NY Noodletown, SCG has the best version of this dish in Chinatown (I think NY Noodletown’s breading is better, but SCG has more tender squid).  The saltiness of the batter along with how non-greasy it is and the fact that the squid is still tender makes this a solid rendition of this dish. 8/10

Fried Garlic Chicken (Suan Xiang Cui Pi Ji):

For some reason this dish is called “Fried Chicken w. Sauce” on the menu, but it’s actually a fried chicken with minced garlic on it.  However, it’s not like American fried chicken as it’s not breaded and it actually looks like rotisserie chicken.  The meat is very tender and the skin is perfectly crispy, but not dried out.  The garlic compliments it’s really well.  I definitely think this is one of their strongest dishes. 8.25/10

Steamed Big Crab With Ho Fun and Garlic:

This is great dish that consists of a large crab that has been steamed over a bed of ho fun (thick rice noodles), garlic and scallions, so that the juices from the crab mix with the garlic and great it’s own sauce that is really good.  The star is the noodles rather than the crab although the crab is still good.  8/10

Peking Pork Chops (Jing Du Pai Gu):

This is the Cantonese version of sweet and sour pork chops.  The pork chops are fried and coated with a sweet and sour sauce that is not gloppy or weird tasting.  It’s a very solid dish although it is sweet in case you don’t like sweet dishes. 8/10

Stir Fried String Beans with Preserved Vegetables:

I very recently started ordering this dish at the request of a friend and it turned out to be another good dish to add to the rotation.  It’s the classic stir fried string beans with minced pork, minced pickled vegetables and dried chilis.  They do it well here as you can taste that great wok flavor and the minced pork and pickled vegetables really compliment the dish and are not overly salty. 8/10

Pea Leaves With Crab Sauce (Xie Rou Pa Dou Miao):

This is dou miao (pea leaves) sautéed and then covered in a egg white and crab claw meat sauce.  Pretty self-explanatory, but very good.  8.25/10

Overall, still my favorite restaurant in Chinatown and definitely the most consistent.  Highly recommend.

22 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-2229

Hung Ry – Awesome New Modern Noodle Restaurant on Bond Street


Normally, I’m really skeptical of any type of fusion Asian type cuisine as 9.5 out of 10 times the result is some really bad food in some meatpacking type atmosphere.  So when I heard about Hung Ry I was very skeptical about it.  A pseudo Chinese noodle shop in a hip space on Bond Street.  I immediately imagined poor quality Chinese noodle soup trying to be masked in an upscale setting and taking advantage of customers who don’t know what any of this stuff is supposed to taste like.  Luckily, I was very wrong.

The space is a great spot on Bond Street that is somewhat industrial looking modern feel to it, but the décor looks great and really fits in well with the neighborhood.  The service was excellent and the owner is a really nice guy.  I spoke to him for a bit and he is a Tibetan guy who grew up in Switzerland.  He had an idea for this type of restaurant so his head chef and him walked around to different hand pulled noodle shops in Chinatown and ended up hiring one of the guys who pulled the noodles from an unnamed restaurant.  Great move on their part to hire someone who knows what they are doing.

Squid Appetizer:

The owner highly recommended this and said it was one of the best dishes in the restaurant.  It is basically salt baked squid with chopped up cilantro and pumpkin seeds on top of it.  At the bottom there is a homemade chili sauce (not spicy at all). This was really good, better than any of the salt-baked squid in Chinatown (including South China Garden and NY Noodletown).  The batter was great, a little less salty than the versions in Chinatown, but still quite good.  Not overly battered and fried perfectly, not oily at all.  The squid is what really stuck out as it was very tender.  The cilantro and pumpkin seeds were a nice touch especially the cilantro as I really like cilantro. 8.5/10

Beef Tongue Appetizer:

Another recommendation from the owner.  The beef tongue had been stewed in a very light brown broth that I believe used soy sauce.  The beef tongue had a melt in your mouth type of texture with a great flavor.  The broth was a really nice compliment as it was very light, not too salty and really allowed the beef tongue to shine.  The execution was excellent on this dish.  8.25/10

Pig Foot Noodle Soup:

This was a special that night and the bartender (we sat at the bar) said it was excellent so I tried it.  It had a lot of Japanese chest nuts in it which made the soup slightly sweet.  The soup also had a nice star anise flavor, it was quite good, not too salty and you could taste a reasonable amount of complexity in it.  The pig foot was really good, nice and tender.  I tried the thin noodles.  They were good, but pulled a little too thin, so they didn’t retain their al dente quality as well.  Overall, it was an excellent dish. 8/10

Duck Noodle Soup:

This was awesome, quite simple just a seared duck breast, noodles and soup.  The soup had a more discernable star anise flavor as there were no Japanese chestnuts in this one, so it didn’t have that sweet flavor.  I liked this broth a little bit better.  The duck breast was cooked excellently and was rare in the middle.  We ordered the thick noodles in this one and they were much better as they retained their al dente quality better.  Overall, this was really good, much better than any of the Chinatown handpulled noodle places.  8.25/10

I was really pleasantly surprised by this place, it was probably one of the better discoveries I’ve made this year.  I highly recommend coming here.

55 Bond St (between Lafayette St & Bowery)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-4864

Overseas Asian – Authentic Malaysian food in Chinatown


I’ve been to Overseas several years ago, but I don’t really remember it being anything special.  However, I walk by there all the time and noticed it’s consistently crowded with a local crowd (i.e. Chinese from Chinatown).  I decided that I should give it another try as I’ve been looking for a decent Malaysian restaurant in the city for a while after Happy Joy closed down.  I went there last weekend with my gf and another friend.  It turned out to be a surprisingly good meal, far better than other Malaysian restaurants I’ve been to in Chinatown lately.

The restaurant is in the far eastern part of Chinatown on Canal almost in the Lower Eastside.  It’s nicer than most Chinatown restaurants, its clean and looks new with a wooden interior and wooden tables.  In the back of the restaurant, they have a small area where they sell various Malaysian / Chinese goods such as instant noodles, white coffee (a famous type of coffee from Ipoh), mooncakes, some Malaysian pastries, chili sauces etc.

The service is fine and the servers are pretty nice.  They do speak English if you don’t have anyone who speaks Chinese (they are Cantonese from Malaysia).

On to the food:

Roti Canai:

Roti canai is a layered pancake that you dip into a spicy curry sauce.  It’s very popular in Singapore and Malaysia (used to eat this all the time when I lived there). This was quite good, nice and crispy and tasted freshly cooked, a bit thicker than it should be, but still good. The curry sauce was much better than most of the restaurants I’ve had in the city as it was spicier, had good flavor and the chicken and potatoes in it were quite good.  Everyone liked this dish a lot. 7.75/10

Kari Mee (Curry Mee):

Kari mee is a simple spicy coconut curry noodle soup with egg noodles, shrimp, pork, fish cakes, fried tofu, crispy fried tofu skins, bean sprouts and green onions.  This version was quite good, much better than the version I had at Taste Good in Elmhurst which was way too coconutty.  The broth was very good, spicy, a little bit coconutty, not overly salty and just generally good.  All of the ingredients tasted fresh, I particularly liked the crispy fried tofu skins (recommend eating them quickly as they get really mushy quickly).  The only real downfall to this dish was the noodles, which were clearly packaged and a bit too mushy.  If they had better noodles, this would be a really good dish.  Everyone liked it. 7.75/10

Beef Rendang:

Beef rendang is a coconut curry dish where you slowly cook beef in a coconut curry broth until it’s very tender.  It’s hard to get right and most places tend to mess it up royally.  The version here is pretty decent although not amazing, but better than most places I’ve had in NY though.  The curry sauce is good, spicy, good flavor and not too salty.  The beef while tender was a bit drier than it should be.  My friend really liked it though.  Overall, it was a pretty decent dish. 7.25/10

Ipoh Bean Sprouts:

Ipoh bean sprouts is a dish that I like quite a lot, its blanched bean sprouts with soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and these really small golden fried onions (you fry them for 45 mins).  Sounds very mundane, but when you have it done correctly it’s really good.  The version here is just okay though.  The bean sprouts were fine as were the other ingredients, but I felt the sauce was lacking and seemed to be a bit bland.  It needed a bit more salt and a lot more sesame oil (it barely had any sesame oil).  6.75/10

Kang Kan Belachan:

This dish was the winner of the night.  Kang kan is kong xin cai in Chinese or water spinach in English.  The dish is cooked in a sauce using belachan, which is a fermented shrimp paste that I really like a lot.   I absolutely love kang kan belchan and this version was outstanding.  The vegetable were cooked perfectly, so they retained a good texture and their flavor.  The sauce was excellent, not being overly salty or using too much belachan.  This tastes pretty close to what you would get in Singapore or Malaysia.  We were all wow’d by this dish.  Highly recommend. 8.25/10

Bak Kut Teh:

Bak kut teh is a soup dish that simmers pork ribs in broth of a whole bunch of herbs and spices like black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, garlic etc for a very long time.  In Chinese it translates to meat bone tea (rou gu cha).  The result is a broth with a deep meaty peppery flavor that isn’t too heavy, most people usually eat it for breakfast with a you tiao (fried crueller).  It’s really good when done right although fairly difficult to find outside of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Besides the pork ribs it usually contains mushrooms, fried tofu puffs and sometimes vegetables.  The version here is okay, nowhere nearly as good as the real version.  It was too sweet (shouldn’t really be sweet) and while it had a decent meaty flavor, it wasn’t as flavorful as it should’ve been.  I meant it tasted good, but if you’ve had the real deal this pales in comparison.  We weren’t expecting much and it was actually probably better than what I was expecting as my expectations were really low. 6.75/10

Hainan Chicken:

Hainan chicken is a whole chicken boiled in water flavored with garlic and ginger and then dipped in ice water, so the skin separates from the meat.  It’s served either room temperature or slightly chilled.  This is one of the most famous dishes in Singapore and one of my favorite dishes, I used to eat it everyday for lunch literally (Tian Tian Hai Nan Ji Fan is my favorite place).  It’s normally served with a light chili sauce, a very dark thick and sweet soy sauce and this ginger garlic oil.  In the US, the places never seem to give you the soy sauce, which is unfortunate b/c it’s really good.  They give you the chili sauce here, which tasted reasonably authentic.  The chicken however wasn’t that great, the skin was a bit too gelatinous and the meat was sort of difficult to get off the bone.  It was also served too cold.  I didn’t like it that much, so it was a bit disappointing. 6.5/10

Hainan Chicken Rice:

This is rice cooked in a chicken stock, looks just like light yellow rice and while it  sounds bland, its very flavorful and really good when you put the chili sauce and dark soy sauce on it.  It’s unfortunately a difficult dish to get correct, in Singapore it’s usually only specialists who make it.  The version here is okay, although far better than most versions in Chinatown which usually range from bad to awful.  It’s got a decent flavor although it doesn’t has the great deep flavor you’d get at a good place and isn’t as fluffy as it should be.  Decent and will do if you really want Hainan chicken rice. 6.75/10

Sambal Sting Ray:

The waitress recommended this dish.  In Singapore, I used to get this dish at this one hawker center all the time and it was another one of my favorite dishes.  If you’ve never had sting ray it is similar to skate.  The meat is very light tasting white meat that isn’t fishy, it should be very tender if done correctly.  The sting rays they use in the US are quite a bit bigger than the ones they use in Singapore, which I think have a better tasting meat, but they are still pretty decent.  This was another surprise dish that turned out to be quite good.  The meat was very tender and cooked nicely, much better than the version I had at Nyonya and better than the version I had at Taste Good in Elmhurst.  The sambal sauce was pretty good, a bit sweet, spicy and had a good flavor from the belachan that was in it.  Sambal is a chili paste used in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc.  Overall, I’d definitely recommend this dish. 7.75/10

White Coffee:

This type of coffee is from Ipoh in Malaysia, I’ve had it before in Singapore, but I wasn’t actually sure what the difference was aside from flavor until I looked it up on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipoh_white_coffee).  It’s got a much lighter flavor than regular coffee, its smoother and much less bitter.  It’s mixed with condensed milk.  This is the instant version, you simply pour boiling water over the ground mixture of coffee and dried condensed milk.  It’s not quite as good as the real version, but tasty nonetheless and I was pretty excited to find them selling it in the back part of the store.  I’d recommend buying a pack. 7.75/10

Foh San Mooncakes:

It happens to be mid-autumn festival right now when you eat mooncakes.   Foh San is a famous dim sum / mooncake bakery in Ipoh, Malaysia.  Ipoh is a mainly Chinese city in Malaysia that is known for having very good food.  Several Malaysian places in NY are selling the Foh San brand.  They have several different flavors, I tried the Imperial Jade and Durian flavored versions.  They are quite good, the lotus paste is also mixed with some coconut milk and pandan leave that I really liked and I liked the flavor better than the traditional version.  They both have one egg yolk, which I prefer.  The durian version tastes like durian, but you obviously have to like Durian, which a lot of people do not.  I’d recommend this brand and this is where I’ve been getting my mooncakes this year. 8.25/10

Overall, an authentic and surprisingly good meal here, much better than other Malaysian restaurants I’ve been to in the Chinatown including my former go to Skyway, which I’ve been pretty disappointed in the last few times I went there.  I’ve read some pretty bad reviews on yelp.com about this place, but from what the reviewers said I have a feeling people ordered the wrong dishes b/c they don’t know much about Malaysian food (one person talked about ordering Mapo Tofu).  Definitely recommend trying.

49 Canal Street (between Ludlow St & Orchard St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-3233