Hop Kee's In Chinatown

Posted on December 18, 2012 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

I am reminded today that illness generally causes my taste buds to go numb. No matter how hard I want or try to enjoy food, I simply can't. Ahhh...thoughts of better days...

Not so long ago, I crashed my parents' weekly date night and we ended up at an old family favorite. My dad started going there with his friend/roommate in the early 70s. We ordered the same dishes we always do when we're at Hop Kee's.

A simple pot of tea...


Snails Cantonese Style (my favorite) Nom nom.

Salted Pork Chop (dad's favorite)

Salt & Pepper Crispy Squid (dad again)


Crabs Cantonese Style (mom's and she wouldn't share!) Never disappoints. Excellent service and super friendly waiters. A lot of them recognize my parents so it's always kind of special.

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (fave of all)

Recently I overheard someone on the subway complaining about a restaurant review they had read about on Yelp. "But, I love that place! They have the best chicken! How can someone write that?"

OK. So in your opinion they have the best chicken. Who cares what someone wrote about your fave restaurant on Yelp? Try not to get so caught up in all these reviews. My mother's family owned a restaurant (Restaurant Chan in Guayaquil, Ecuador) for nearly a century and I remember what people used to say to me about the place. "Legendary...till your grandpa die". It used to make me feel bad but then I day I understood what they meant and why they said it.

Places like Hop Kee hold a special place in my heart. Yes, you have to walk down a flight of scary stairs to what looks like a basement apartment. Fine, you might not get cell phone service (poor you) and they have celebrity photos on the wall (omg, the horror!). When did we all get so critical of each other? We're so quick to nitpick, but can't take the time to write about the good things. What does a) poor cell phone reception b) celebrity photos on wall and c) hideous decor have to do with the quality of an establishment's food?

I never claimed to be a food writer, but I do know good food.   


Hop Kee

21 Mott Street, New York City 10013



How I wish I wasn't getting over a cold and drinking all of my meals.



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