Hop Kee


Another Lunar New Year has passed, which means it’s time for me to start writing my Lunar New Year posts… Well, first up is the night before Lunar New Year.  This is about the only time of year I ever really pay attention to the Asian portion of my culture; maybe because it’s so food-centric it’s hard to not want to be part of the fun!  A few friends and I decided to meet up and attempt to celebrate what we knew… Unfortunately, I randomly Google’d “Cantonese restaurant Chinatown” instead of forcing them to travel to Queens to Cantonese restaurants I know are great.  So we wound up at Hop Kee Restaurant…


My Lunar New Year demands are simple: first, dumplings. 


This arrived when we ordered fried dumplings, accompanied by:


some gloppy sweet, weird, ketchup-y BBQ sauce type thing.  I don’t know. 


Depending who you asked, it marginally improved the fried dumplings.  I mean, the dumplings weren’t inedible, but they were fairly boring, flavorless, and oddly textured.  I think they deep fried the darn things.  I just wanted pan fried dumplings.  Ergh. 


My second request for Lunar New Year was noodles.  Noodles with their length represent longevity… never cut noodles!  (Or break spaghetti, I will yell at you.)  In any case, these were not quite the noodles I thought I’d ordered – I thought I ordered Cantonese lo mein, the thin egg noodles that are pan fried until crisp, then topped with gravy.  These were… not that.  But the sauce was about what I’d wanted, a little on the sweet side with a bit too much corn starch (and therefore gloppy), and the noodles were crisp… at first.  Then the excess of sauce got the best of the noodles and they turned very soggy. 


Some random green veggies to give the illusion of health… these were probably the only dish that was exactly as we expected when we ordered it.  Cooked crisp, bright green… but still only so-so. 


Salt-pepper squid. 


The next dish was chosen by the Beer Boor – salt/pepper pork chops. 


And one of the dishes that kept popping up every time I did a very cursory search on this place (read: I did not really research): Cantonese style ‘dry’ crabs.  Every single table that night ordered this dish.  We literally saw it on every single other table, and people enjoying them heartily. 


My first plate: noodles, which I liberally doused in the red vinegar (yum), some pork, which was only okay, the greens… the squid, which was also only okay – a little overcooked – and the crab, which I only had a little bit once Hungry said they were overcooked.  Ick.  Overcooked crab is disgusting! 


Garlic fried paper-fried-chicken.  The meat was pretty juicy – the one piece I tried – but I thought it wasn’t flavored as well as it could be. 


The last request I made was a whole fish that we would eat, but not finish, and not take leftovers.  Well, no one wanted to take leftovers because while the sauce was good, the fish was way overcooked.  So bad I couldn’t eat more than a piece or two. 


The whole table, as we attacked… and were disappointed by pretty much every.single.dish.  This place is awful.  They weren’t even that busy when we sat down – but the food was all overcooked. 


And then to prove the point that we were in the wrong place, they gave us a bowl of fortune cookies to end the meal.  Seriously?


And my fortune cookie had no fortune!  Maybe that’s why I’ve been having a terrible year? 

Yvo says: This place is for tourists or white people or something.  The food was just terrible.  Overly sweet, overly cooked, overly… not good.  I have to give it a resounding…
not recommended

Hop Kee Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    Happy Belated Lunar New Year to you. :)
    Did you go to the Hop Kee on street level? I think the one in the basement is more famous. They offer mostly Americanized Chinese foods, but I heard they do have a ‘secret’ menu (as seen Bourdain’s episode). I love Chinese broccoli and from the glossy coating of oil on the greens, I know that I would enjoy this dish.

  2. T.C. says

    It was nice having dinner wirh friends despite the sub-par food. We should’ve went to Congee Village. lol.
    Still a cool way to start off the Chinese/Lunar New Year’s eve.
    My favorite dish was the kai-lan/ Chinese broccoli.

    Eh, fortune cookies are an American thing so whatever. It can’t be all broken mirrors, underneath ladders, etc.

    Best Wishes in the Year of the Rabbit!

  3. em says

    on the night before lunar new year, if any chinese restaurant is not packed to the gills, then it is a big sign that it isn’t very good.

    • CheeeeEEEEse says

      Try new stuff! Food is fun!

      And if you have a meal that doesn’t cut the mustard, you’ll be hungry in 5 hours or so, and you can try again.

  4. says

    Don’t forget that even thought the dish of crabs was overcooked, there was still a piece that was undercooked. Cue gooey substance. That completely baffled me. How can it be overcooked and undercooked? Was it pre-cooked? Then cooked again to order? I still can’t comprehend it.

  5. hnahk says

    i second the wo hop (if i had to choose between wo hop vs hop kee)…and really both choices are more like after party 3am spots for greasy food to counter the alcohol. otherwise, try amazing 66!..or danny eng’s

      • Eric L. says

        Wo Hop is pretty similar and greasy, but they do make some dishes that were really popular in the 70s and you can’t really find anywhere else in Chinatown anymore (Hop Kee might make them too considering how similar they are, but only ate there once)

        Wor Shu Duck- deboned pounded breaded duck that is deep-fried and then covered in a delicious brown sauce and served on a bed of lettuce

        And a shrimp appetizer (forgot the name)- butterflied shrimp battered in scrambled egg with a piece of bacon laid on top. A sort-of breakfast version of surf and turf. delicious!

  6. says

    I thought the salt and pepper pork chops were perfectly fine. I’d order them again. Nyah. Pretty damn salty though, and I wasn’t impressed by anything that evening, food-wise.

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