Downtown Lunch: Is Wah Ji/Hua Ji Better Than Excellent Pork Chop House
Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (ensuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)
Wah Ji Pork Chop fast food has a bigger name than the space it occupies, having recently opened in a small cubbyhole on Allen street. Word of this spot came through a tip by our Midtown Happy Hour correspondent Mamacita, who saw it posted on chowhound ….gracias mama! After reading a few of the reviews I wanted to check it out for myself, having seen several posters compare (and ultimately diss) Excellent Pork Chop House.
My lunch companion and I started out by sharing an order of the popcorn chicken, a fairly generous portion of fried chicken bits dusted with paprika. They were good but could have benefited from some dipping sauce, and at $2 you should be happy if they throw you a packet of ketchup.
We also sampled the black pepper pork chop, one on rice and one over noodles ($4 each). Our lunches arrived quickly, piping hot, and in white plastic takeout containers (I guess they don’t give you plates even if you’re staying.)
The sizzling-slab-o-swine was perched atop an ample portion of rice and some pickled vegetables. I really liked the way the sauce underneath the chop blended together with the veggies and rice. The porkchop though? It was good but a bit too much fat/gristle and not quite as flavorful as I would have liked. Excellent Pork Chop House still takes the cake for me as having the best chops in C-town.
Seating is limited to a few stools and if you’re lucky you’ll be treated to the show we got on our visit. A troupe of traveling methadone addicts shared a single lunch there so they could basically hang out for an hour. When we were leaving they started putting mascara on each other. I felt pretty bad for the store owners who basically sat there not knowing what to do. Only in NYC can you get all this.. a 4 dollar lunch and a show.
Now for my favorite part of the review… Menu Miscues! (Bells and whistles sound.) Well this menu was almost entirely without error. I’d say the only question I found was on the item titled “Shanghai Over Rice”.
Sounds like an enormous dish for only $4.
Wah Ji/Hua Ji Pork Chop Fast Food, 7 Allen Street (btw. Canal+Division), 212-219-9876