I’ll give you a moment to suppress (or expend) your elementary school giggles…….. okay, great. One of the biggest draws to Chinatown is the sheer number of available restaurants. It’s not a stretch to suggest that you may spend years eating here without ever getting close to its conquest. Let’s not get overwhelmed, though. One at a time.
Today’s restaurant is Big Wong Restaurant, a rather nondescript food joint halfway down Mott street between Canal and Bayard. Much like Wah Fung last week, Big Wong prides itself on doing one thing very well, and very cheap… lobster.
Take a moment and search your mind for your last experience with $10 lobster. You were likely in a ‘Restaurant Impossible’ candidate eatery, perhaps situated next to the roller rink that its indebted owner burned down for insurance money decades ago. $10 was just too cheap to pass up, so you took a chance. You assumed the alien green matter plaguing the inner shell of the lobster was okay to eat, and you likely spend five to six hours in the restroom when you got home. Let’s face it… you weren’t keen on ever making that mistake again.
Well, these are different times, and this is a different place… a much different place (remember, Chinatown is an anomaly). So, I urge you to reconsider. Cooked with ginger and scallions and basted with butter, the lobster Big Wong throws down is worth twice what you’ll pay for it. $20 will get you two lobsters and all the tea you can drink.
If lobster’s not your thing, there are dozens of other suitable options, maybe hundreds. I couldn’t tell you; I was too ecstatic about a side of roast pork to find the right mind to count. Try the chicken pan-fried noodle with gravy, Cantonese style, for $9.75. It’s a shining example of what restaurants in Chinatown do so well – simple food cooked perfectly.
Big Wong has done much more than finding perhaps the only safe, viable niche in the $10 lobster market. It has successfully married fresh, delicious food with low prices and wildly quick service. Don’t miss the wedding… or the reception, at the very least. Until next week!