Today It Ends Where it Began 3 1/2 Years Ago… At Hing Won

So as painful as it is to say, this is my last week of full time Midtown Lunching. Don’t worry… the site isn’t going anywhere, but I’m moving to L.A. so this week I’m making sure to hit all the places I’ll miss the most. A “Farewell Lunch Tour” if you will. Here’s where I’ll be today…

For me this day is bittersweet. I’m excited to move to the west coast and start Midtown Lunch: Los Angeles, but I’m also sad to leave Midtown. That’s right. Next week I won’t be working in Midtown anymore, and I’m SAD about it. When I first started this site it was about “Finding Lunch in the Food Wasteland of Midtown Manhattan.” Well, after almost four years of eating lunch here I can tell you… this is no wasteland. In fact, I would venture to say there is no better 400 block area to eat lunch in the entire country. The amount of variety crammed into such a small place, there for the taking- provided you’re willing to walk more than 2 blocks away from your office.

And isn’t that what separates us from them? A willingness to walk somewhere (an activity that is good for you) to stuff our faces with amazingly tasty lunches (an activity that is decidedly not good for you.) This week was especially tough because I couldn’t fit all my favorites into one week. Margon, Cafe Cello, Cafe Zaiya, Woorijip, Newsstand Indian, XPL, all the new school carts (Cravings, Schnitzel & Things, Treats Truck, etc.), Hallo Berlin, Cer Te, Yakitori Totto, all the ramen spots (Sapporo, Menchanko Tei, Men Kui Tei), Crisp, Olympic Pita, El Sabroso in the freight elevator hallway… the list could go on and on.

It was tough choosing my final week of lunches… with one notable exception. There was never a question as to where I was going to end the week.

Hing Won, Midtown

Hing Won (on 48th btw. 5+6th) was not just the very first place I posted about on Midtown Lunch. It also embodies everything a Midtown lunch should be. Cheap, fast, delicious, authentic, kind of hidden, and dirty! You could easily poke your head in to this place and dismiss it. With their by the pound steam table of Americanized Chinese food (which for the record, I also love), and their weird Chinese version of banh mi (which I also wouldn’t kick out of bed), there’s plenty to be turned off by. But if you take a few steps in, you might notice the second line. The one where the serious lunchers jostle their way to the front counter to order soups…


…like the pork and Szechuan pickles noodle soup.


Roasted meats over rice (hello roast pig!!!)

Sauteed Udon w/ Pork, Hing Won, Midtown NYC

My original go-to dish (sauteed udon with pork) and more.

Today, I will be ordering all of it! And I’ll sit in the back, and won’t be bothered by the roaches or God knows what else… because I’ll be too busy eating my delicious lunch and thinking about all the people in Midtown that are eating at Cafe Metro and Chipotle and McDonald’s and whatever other generic lunch spot is at the bottom of their building. I’ll be thinking about how much happier they’d be if their lunch hour decisions went beyond which 6 toppings they were going to choose for their salad today, or whether or not that turkey sandwich should go on white or wheat.

Of course this isn’t really a goodbye. It’s more of a see you on Monday. I’ll still be here in the comments, and the forums, moaning about all the great lunches I’m missing out on. Plus I hope you’ll follow my lunch adventures in L.A. when that section launches next week. What I’m trying to say is, I might be leaving, but Midtown Lunch isn’t going anywhere. It will still be here next week, continuing (hopefully) to inspire people to do more with their lunch hours. Whether it’s in Midtown, Downtown, Philly, L.A. or beyond.

Thanks for 3 1/2 amazing years, and here’s to 3 1/2 amazing more!



  • Good luck in LA Zach.

  • woo, thanks for fixing the comments, Zach – and I called this one right :-) yea me! *laff*

  • Bon Voyage Zach! We’ll miss you!
    Beware of all the leafy greens and non-fat options!

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    healthy in LA for Zach should be chopped onions on his lengue (tongue) tacos.

  • Zach, it was great to see you off today. My tastebuds are thankful for the many years of service. My waistline is not.

    So it ends where it began, and it begins where it ended. I can’t wait to see what happens with ML once you get to L.A.

    Have a safe trip, and enjoy your time on the other coast.

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  • Props to Fred for your prediction. You did call it but stevenp mentioned Hong Win first before you did.

    Best wishes to Zach!! Midtown Lunch forever!

    He’ll be making of envious of In ‘N’ Out burgers while we’ll make him miss his fav. street carts in NYC!

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    Who is willing to breach the security at the airport where Zach is leaving from?

  • @viktor- no one.

  • Bon Voyage, sir!

  • One last task: you must now break the curse of the Walgreen’s sandwich

    You must purchase a sandwich at a Walgreen’s in Midtown, and this sandwich must travel in your carry-on bag with you to LA. Once in LA, travel to the beach, unwrap said sandwich, (option) smile at it, bring it with both hands towards you, and then — hurl it into the Pacific ocean, where any number of ocean-dwelling creatures will feast upon it without regard to its origins, content, or age. You will have brought a taste of Midtown (so to speak) to a vast number of living beings in your new home, and you will be forgiven :-)

    Buying said sandwich at an LA Walgreen’s will not break the curse, and in any case, they don’t sell sandwiches – they sell guacamole, tacos, and smoothies.

  • Thanks Zach. Good luck!

  • Fred – he wont. Give it a rest.

    Stevenp presented Zach with 2 of them, one cheesesteak and one buffalo chicken. He refused to eat them In his stead, Stevenp, Deanlo, StreetMeasOnsumer3008, and I ate them (I think goats had some as well?)

  • Good luck in L.A., Zach. Thanks for your guidance.

  • Goats did have some. He had the very end-piece of my Buffalo Chicken sandwich and says he “enjoyed it tremendously(at least on the way down).”

    Fred, are you a chain-letter writer too?

    I can’t wait to start reading LA Lunch. Sigh.

  • I started working in midtown in June 2006- right around the same time Midtown Lunch started. Thanks, Zach, for never letting me know lunch in midtown without it! Good luck in LA!

  • Have a safe flight Zach!! NYC will miss you. Thanks so much for creating a place to find food I may not have ever had!

    Good luck to you and your family in LA!

    PS. How about a San Diego lunch? I know a guy who needs it! ;-)

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    Thanks for the laughs and the revelations (lying right under my nose, no less).

    Good luck on finding midtown in LA, don’t let Harry become a surfer dude and godspeed.

    It was fun while it lasted.

    End of an era.

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    Zach, All the best to you and your family in LA. I’m sure you’ll have as big and dedicated following there as you’ll always have here. Cheers to more midtown lunches!

  • Best of luck to you Zach! I stumbled upon the site 3 years ago, and although I no longer work in Midtown, I still find myself coming back periodically to see what I missed.

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