Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2008

Big Wong's July 2008 (photo by Paul-Shand)

Big Wong

“Roast pork I’d observed in the past, was so killer bee at Big Wong’s that it often ran out before anything else on the menu.”(Blast from the Past, 1998)

In his novels, the Kinkster and Ratso regularly ate at Big Wong’s Chinese restaurant  in China Town where they were greeted by the waiters with cries of: “Ooh la la, Kee-Kee, Chee –Chee”. (Kinky never worked out if this greeting was praise or mockery.)

Ratso always orders his favourite meal, “pawk” over eggs, although he doesn’t always get it, as Big Wong’s roast pork is so popular it often sells out.

“I ordered the soy sauce chicken, chopped Chinese style and a bowl of wonton mein soup, the best soup in the world I had to admit, including the matzo-ball soup at the Carnegie Deli. Ratso was enormously disappointed to learn that the restaurant had run out of roast pork. He took it well however and made do with three other dishes including the ever popular squid with sour Chinese vegetables. “(“The Love Song of J Edgar Hoover”, 1996 ).

The good news for Kinky fans is that Big Wong’s is still there today. It changes its name every so often, usually with variations on a Wong theme but remains universally known as Big Wong’s. It is located in Mott Street in the old Chinese Quarter of Manhattan. Historically Canal Street marked the divide between Little Italy (to the North) and China Town (to the south.) .

And despite Kinky’s misgivings that:

“Big Wong’s would continue to be a killer-bee restaurant until some nerd from the New York Times walked in with a bow tie and an umbrella and gave it a couple of stars and soon they’d be serving sweet-and-sour veal and giving fortune cookies and no one would ever say  Kee-kee or Chee-chee again”, “(The Love Song of J Edgar Hoover, 1996 ).

the critics’acclaim does not seem to have dented Big Wong’s essential quality or its continuing appeal.

“Rarely do you find as deep a chasm between style and sustenance as at Chinatown’s Big Wong King, a Cantonese stalwart where the cuisine is as inviting as the furnishings are unremarkable.” New York Magazine Restaurant Critic Stephen Weiss, 2008.

Big Wong’s is at 67 Mott Street, just south of Canal Street  in the heart of China Town, about 13 blocks due east of Vandam Street.

Interior of Big Wong's in 2007

Interior of Big Wong

Mott Street takes its name from an English family, who lived there in the 17th century. It is thought to have been named after Joseph Mott, a butcher who owned a tavern at what is now 143rd and 8th Avenue, that served as an hq for General Washington during the Revolutionary War. Here is an early postcard showing it as the heart of the Chinese quarter in the early 20th century.

Mott Street NY 1900s

Advertisements

Read Full Post »