Hing Won’s New “Roast Pig Over Rice” Might Be the Best Pork Dish in Midtown
I’ve always been a huge fan of the roast pork over rice at Hing Won (on 48th btw. 5+6th.) Beautiful strips of Chinatown style red roast pork, laid over rice and bok choy, and topped with their sweet soy sauce, it’s probably one of the most popular dishes served from the right hand side of the counter. (Hing Won has two sides, the left is a steam table of Americanized Chinese food, the right, a bilingual menu of Chinatown style specialities that are made to order.)
But last Friday I noticed a new sign hanging on their already jam packed wall of signs. I don’t know what it said in Chinese, but the English surely got my attention: “Roast Pig over Rice”. Wha!?! Isn’t it funny how changing one word from pork to pig can have such a big impact. Some would probably consider pork and pig the same thing, but those familiar with pork in all its forms know the subtle menu nuances. Deep down in my heart (which is already dangerously clogged with pork fat, I’m sure) I innately knew this was something completely different than the standard roast pork over rice. (And I was hoping it would involve something crispy.)
Despite my hopes and dreams for the dish, I didn’t actually know what the distinction between pork and pig was going to be, but there was only one way to find out.
Oh my. Better than even my wildest imagination. Two giant strips of thickly sliced, perfectly cooked, pork belly- each bite containing exactly what you are looking for in the perfect piece of pork. 3/7 meat + 3/7 fat + 1/7 crispy cracklin on the edge. And my god was it good. Every bite had the perfect 1 to 1 ratio of meat to fat, and that little crunchy bit on the end just takes the whole thing exactly where you are hoping it will go. For $6 you would expect the fat to be the not so good, chewy pieces that you inevitably get at most cheap Americanized Chinese food places. But this pork fat was the melt in your mouth, oh my god I’ve died and gone to heaven kind of pork fat.
Don’t get me wrong, occasionally you’ll get a not so good piece- and we’re not talking Momofuku pork bun quality pork fat- but for $6 this dish may be replacing the Szechuan Gourmet twice cooked pork belly with chili leeks as my new favorite Chinese pork dish in Midtown. And considering that pork is my favorite meat, and Chinese food is my favorite cuisine, you could extrapolate that is my new favorite lunch in Midtown period.
The whole thing gets served over rice and cabbage, topped with the same sauce they put over the other roasted meats offered at Hing Won (chicken, duck, roast pork). If you are a little concerned that it’s too much pork fat to consume in one sitting, they also serve it in sandwich form- at the new “Banh Mi Counter” in the very front of Hing Won.
If you order their “crispy pork belly” banh mi, they end up using the same meat that goes into the roast pig over rice dish. You’re getting far less meat for more money (the sandwich is $6.45), and the crispy bits on the end end up going soggy under all that bread with carrots and daikon… but the sweet hoisin, the veggies, and the fatty meat combine to make a pretty delicious sandwich. Clearly it’s not a traditional banh mi, and the bread is merely adequate, but if you want to try their new roast pig in a less in-your-face format, this is the way to go.
I’ll probably stick with the instant heart attack over rice. (The delicious heavenly heart attack.)
THE + (What somebody who likes this place might say?)
- I love pork, but I’m a complete cheapskate
- It’s a ton of meat for $6
- Every bite has the perfect mix of meat, fat and crunch
- On most of the slices, the pork fat was melt in your mouth delicious
- And for those who don’t want sooo much pork (and fat) it comes in a less offensive sandwich form!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place might say)
- I like to know the source of my pork belly, and don’t mind paying more money for it
- I love pork, but the quality from bite to bite is inconsistent. Some bites were great, some- not so much.
- I can’t stand pork fat (even the kind that melts in your mouth)
- I’m a crazy person who Zach would probably never be friends with…
Hing Won, 48 W 48th St, New York 10036, 212-719-1451