This week’s Sunday in Chinatown took us farther down Mott street than we’ve ever been. As was the case with many of our previous sessions, we chose Wo Hop after a period of aimless wandering because its name was simple, and a hell of a lot of fun to say (and write!) So, please try and disregard the blatant, obnoxious overuse of’ ‘Wo Hop’ that you’re like to experience in the coming paragraphs.
On a first glimpse, Wo Hop reminded us of Hop Kee Restaurant, a restaurant we profiled a few weeks ago. Like Hop Kee, its interior is never, ever going to win any design awards, but I never judge a book by its dated faux leather booths.
Wo Hop’s Cantonese-inspired menu is cumbersome, almost overwhelmingly so. Take it one section at a time – you’re bound to find exactly what you want eventually. Any and all similarities between Wo Hop and any of our previous finds ended with its menu size.
In what has become a tradition in our Chinatown outings, we started with fried dumplings ($5.30). Our server brought us six monstrosities – truly the biggest dumplings we’ve ever seen, filled to capacity with delicious pork. While most dumplings in this neighborhood are pan fried, Wo Hop’s take a swim in a deep fryer. The result is incredible, if not unhealthy.
The egg rolls followed suit, arriving perfectly fried and larger than my forearms. By this point, any chance at a nod to our health-conscious readers was out the window. Still, we pressed on. I poured over the ‘hot and spicy’ section of the menu, while the others explored the soups and noodle dishes.
I landed on the Szechuan style Bean Curd w/ Minced Pork ($8.95), an endless sea of delicious sauces, vegetables and pork bits filled with plenty of bean curds, light as air. The casserole-sized dish more than earns its place on the hot and spicy menu, so be sure to order a bed of rice and a few extra glasses of water to keep things G-rated.
If you didn’t have enough fun with the word ‘Wo Hop’ while you waited for your appetizers, try the Beef Young Sing Chow Mein. A wealth of vegetables and thin, savory slices of beef rest on top of a plate of partially crispy pan-fried noodles. At just $7.25, it’s perfect for the budget-minded gastro-tourist who refuses to sacrifice the idea of a high quality meal… and of course really, really fun to say.
Cheaper yet is the roast duck dumplings soup, just $5.95. The nearly overflowing bowl gives you the best of both worlds – fried dumplings and steamed dumplings, both stuffed with roast duck, in a light broth. Add a pot (or four) of fresh tea, and you’ll be as satisfied as anyone in town.
We’d love to recommend more to you, but Wo Hop left us with our stomachs fuller than they’ve ever been. The restaurant’s larger than life dishes may not be healthy, but they’re nearly everything else you’d want them to be – cheap, filling, and so, so good. And true to form, my fortune cookie predicted a future made possible only by our trip to Wo Hop.
I trust I’ll be protected for quite a while, at least until I’ve digested my mega meal… April, perhaps.