What is FOOD?

Big Wong’s Twin Lobsters for $20.00!!!

Chinatown, Manhattan, New York City 2009 on Pe...
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I had a plan. I was going to take my kids to Chinatown and try to get them to eat something other than their daily diet of burgers and fries. We were going to eat Chinese food! I asked for a suggestion from a friend and they suggested. BIG WONGS on Mott Street.

Now being a born and bred New Yorker, I can attest that the sanitary conditions in many Chinatown restaurants often is…ahem…less then stellar. That is why when I noticed the sign outside the restaurant giving BIG WONG a “BIG B”, I  was actually pleasantly surprised.

Ever since NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene implemented this rating system, every public eatery in NYC has to display their rating prominently in the front window of their restaurants. According to the DOH website, inspectors make unannounced “visits” to restaurants once a year and grade the restaurant on their compliance of “food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene and vermin control”. Points are given for every infraction. The lower the cumulative score , the better the rating.

Scores of 1-2 points will earn the restaurant an A, scores of 14-27 will get a B and scores of 28 or more will result in a C. As many of New Yorks top restaurants only earned a B-Rating, including Nobu, The Waverly Inn and The Standard, I was pretty confident that the food would be “clean-ish”.

Further the big yellow sign in the window advertising TWIN LOBSTERS with Ginger and scallions for $20.00 was VERY appealing. Whenever I see a LOBSTER deal, I am always intrigued. The thing is, that although Lobster has become relatively inexpensive in the markets, the fact of the matter is that you need to cook the crustacean while it is STILL ALIVE! Failure to do so will result in soggy, ,mealy lobster meal. Unfortunately while I have the stomach to eat the shellfish, I just don’t have the “stomach” to chop up the still withering body and dump the newly dismembered critter into a scalding pot. That is why when someone else can do “the dirty deed” for me and do it very cheaply I might add, I am game. Further, lobster had NO CARBS!

BIG WONGS is not a place that I would take a first date. Nor is it a place that I would take a 18th or 19th date. Big Wongs is definitely the type of restaurant you go to when you are very comfortable with your loved one as there is NO “ambiance” at all.

Dingy tables, poorly lit by overhead unflattering fluorescent lights, combined with the communal bin of cutlery and plastic chopsticks in the middle of the table is the what you will find. We ordered the food and it came out in lightening speed. Within 6 minutes of ordering, our table was covered with the many steaming hot dishes that we ordered.

If you can get past the questionable “decor”, and the very questionable cleanliness of the establishment, the quality of the food was solid. The ribs were tasty and delicious, the dumplings were  satisfying,the soup was super hot and the lobster, well the lobster was YUMMY (did I mention that the 2 lobsters were only $20 bucks?)

Right after we finished the meal, both of my kids said the statement I feared the most. Both of them had “to go to the bathroom”. There was a moment of silence immediately following their statement. I finally gulped and timidly asked  if it was “Um..absolutely necessary?”. Unfortunately they both replied that it was.

My husband took both boys to the restroom and quickly came back to the table. I said, “That was quick”, to which he replied, “Hurry up and finish. We need to go home NOW. You don’t even want to know how dirty it is back there.”

He was right. I did not want to know how dirty it was back there. I took his word for it and we quickly paid the bill and hightailed it out of there.

BIG WONG sells BIG FOOD for little prices. Just make sure to avoid the bathroom.

Chow for now!

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