Chinatown is an anomaly. Adjacent to Tribeca and Soho, two neighborhoods where you often count yourself lucky to find a decent lunch for only an entire day’s wages, it offers some of the most affordable food you’ll find… well, anywhere. Sunday in Chinatown hopes to help you find the holes in the wall (or ground) that you won’t be able to stay away from (trust us… we can’t).
First in our eternal quest for pocket change grub is Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food, Inc at 79 Chrystie st. Wah Fung has everything you want in a Chinatown restaurant – a supremely confident boast in its name (it’s one of dozens of ‘no. 1’ spots in Chinatown), a line full of seasoned Chinatown residents, and a grade from the Dept of Health that’s not a C. Like many eateries in Chinatown, Wah Fung has found its place in the world by doing one dish very well… and very cheap.
Chances are good that you have enough loose change in your front pocket or purse right now to give Wah Fung’s famous ‘Roast Pork/Chicken over rice” a shot. And why not? $3 won’t even buy you a latte at the Starbucks on Canal Street. The line moves slow (painfully, sometimes), but your wait pays off handsomely. A lone man behind the counter carefully picks out good cuts of pork or chicken to load on top of a fresh bed of rice and cabbage.
The transaction is wonderfully simple…just tell them what kind of meat you want, and they’ll do the rest. First comes the rice, then the cabbage, then the meat, and finally the sauce. The chef, a true magician of meat, manages to miraculously cram more food into your modest container than you could ever imagine. Three dollar bills later, and you’re ready to go. Note: you need not order anything else. This is a filling dish.
Take your meal to go, as your odds of scoring one of the two chairs in the back of the restaurant aren’t far off from those of having a financially successful weekend in Atlantic City. Instead, head to one of the many small parks dotting Chrystie, and enjoy one of the most financially guiltless meals of your life. Until next Sunday!