I am a huge fan of chinese food, in all its forms. Dim Sum, Chinatown, cheap, upscale, authentic or american style, mall food court, street fair and of course- the almighty chinese buffet (my personal favorite). Cheap chinese is one of my favorite lunch choices. You might say it's a disease. If given the choice between Chinese, or anything else under the sun, I find it hard to turn down the chinese. Sometimes my mind and my stomach might be saying something else (sandwich, salad, Italian, Indian) but if god forbid, there's a cheap chinese place (one where you point to what you want) from here to there, the chinese will probably win out.
You can't deny the genius of the cheap chinese food place. You get to see all your choices before selecting and it's great if you like variety (most places give you 2 or 3 choices). Further proof is the fact that every mall food court has one of these places, and even the non-chinese places have started serving some sort of "chinese" style chicken, in those little metal steamer compartments, that you point at to order … my favorite being Bourbon chicken at the Cajun Grille. Is there really a difference between that and teriyaki? Don't get me wrong, I love authentic chinese food too. I love Dim Sum and am a big fan of Chinatown (not just NYC, but Boston, San Fran, and L.A) and the more authentic chinese areas outside of big metropolitan cities, like Monterrey Park (the real L.A. chinatown)… and this is the beauty of Hing Won. It's got both.
More on Hing Won, Pictures and the +/- after the jump…
Hing Won is actually two places in one really. Two lines, two cash registers, two menus and two very different clientele. It's pretty intimidating too… to the point where I've heard some refer to it as the Chinese version of the Soup Nazi. There's no singular person taking orders, and they won't deny you food, but the two lines and the different menus and the lunchtime crowds make it pretty crazy for the first time orderer.
First things first. Decide what line you want. The line on the left is like a mall food court, with all your choices there for you to view. Known as "the American line", you can tell because it's almost all midtown business people. They've got all your american favorites, including General Tso's chicken, Sesame Chicken, Beef and Brocoli, Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls, Dumplings, Boneless Spare Ribs, etc. Choose two items to go along with your fried rice (lo mein is a little extra) and it should come out to somewhere between $5 and $7. If you like this kind of chinese food, this place is pretty good… and definetely better then the place under Rockefeller Center.If you are a little more adventurous, choose the line on the right, usually with a much higher percentage of Asian people waiting for a more authentic meal. The menu items are scrawled all over the place, in Chinese, with english translations- but try to decide what you want before you get in line. Once you get to the front, you order, step aside and then wait until your meal is ready before paying. Everything is made to order, so it always comes out hot.
If you like roasted meat like you see in Chinatown, try the roast pork (seen above) or the roast duck. Both are hanging up behind the register and can be ordered over rice for $5.08 (a bargain for Midtown). My favorite noodle dish is the Sauteed Udon Noodles with Pork (shown to go on left) for just $5.54. It's also available with Chicken, Beef, Shrimp or Vegetables. You can find that one listed under the Chef's Specialties along with Shanghai Rice Cake for $5.77 which are also really good if you like rice cakes (little chewy discs made from rice flour sauteed similarly to the Udon Noodles).There are a ton of Cantonese and Mandarin Noodle Soups with all sorts of fillings, including Fish Balls, Fried Pork Chops, and Bean Curd. There's also dishes with Bitter Melon if you're into that.
I can't guarantee it's going to be the best chinese food you've ever had, and I'm sure you can find better, cheaper meals in Chinatown or Queens- but it's the best cheap authentic chinese food midtown has to offer… and if your co-workers want the General Tso's combo, pointed at through glass and spooned into a styrofoam container, they have that too!
- Something for everyone… American Style & Authentic Chinatown Style dishes
- Cheap, quick, and really good authentic chinese food for Midtown
- I'm sure there are better places in Chinatown and Queens, but if you work in Midtown and are looking for something cheap and authentic- this is the best you're going to get
- Like most of these type of places, it's dirty. They recieved a 42 rating (more then 28 is failing) in February 2006 but solved some of the problems to get a 25 in March. I'm one of those people that ignores stuff likes this… but if you're not here's the NYC Health Inspectors Rating. Beware… if these things bother you, this site might cause you to never eat in Midtown again.
If your tastes sound similar to mine, and you know of a cheap chinese place better then this in the area, I would love to hear about it… especially if it's a Buffet!
- Menu & Posted Reviews [Menupages]
Hing Won, 48 W 48th St, New York 10036, 212-719-1451