Downtown Lunch: Big Wong

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.)

Downtown Lunch: Big Wong

For some reason whenever I hear someone mention Big Wong in Chinatown, I hear a gong sound go off in my head.. maybe I’m just thinking of an association with the Sixteen Candles character (of a different but similar sounding name). Word on the street is they have one of the cheapest lunch specials in the city, but I had never tried it so went with a friend to scope out the situation earlier this week. I was impressed with the number of lunch specials, all around the $4.50 range.

Downtown Lunch: Big Wong

We started with a Fried Cruller Rice Crepe appetizer ($2.25) which arrived as a fried savory donut wrapped in a wet rice crepe. What’s not to like about a donut as an appetizer, although think I prefer them sans the crepe, and following a meal.

Downtown Lunch: Big Wong

When a waiter carrying an order of the roast pork appetizer waltzed by us, the stare I gave it was worthy of a sexual harassment suit… so I knew we had to try a half order ($6). The two of us cleaned that plate and kept going back to it even after the lunch specials arrived. Neither lunch, such as the roast pork with pickled vegetables ($4.50) or the chicken with seasonal vegetables (also $4.50) was mind blowing, but it was satisfying, adequate, and an overall great value for your dollar.

Downtown Lunch: Big Wong

One could easily visit this spot and with tax and tip have a nice lunch for under 7 bucks. The scene there is hurried and hectic, which is a good sign for the Big Wong, also sometimes referred to as Big Wong King (I’d make my last name “King” too if my first and middle name was “Big Wong”).

Big Wong, 67 Mott St. (btw. Canal & Bayard), 212-964-0540

Photos and post by Daniel Krieger



  • I’m slightly appalled at the description of “jha leung”… but I’ll let it slide since you’re a “gwai lo”. If you’re going to keep writing about Chinese food, though, …

  • @Yvo – I said the same thing! But in Daniel’s defense, he says the word “crepe” was used on the menu…

  • *GONG*

  • but Yvo – like Zackie said, I’m just calling it what they did. You can check it out on menu pages they’re listed as “Steamed Rice Crepes”, so that’s what I called them. *hits gong again*

  • it’s definitely all about the roast pork and the wonton soup here. also try the “boiled chicken” which comes with the best ginger scallion sauce.

  • @ Yvo: Or I like to call it “jah gwigh churng”

    @ Daniel: Yo not sure if you know but the fried cruller goes well with a bowl of congee, esp. on a day like today. And if you ever need someone to help you out with the chinese stuff when you go out for these downtown things just let me know.

    @ mm: Yeah I agree. Roast pork and wonton and, hey, add some noodles and you’re perfectly set!

  • ditto on the ginger scallion sauce! when i go there for roast meats, i load up on ‘em.

  • You missed out on having a “gnow lei sow”, a sweet version of the fried cruller. It’s the shorter, fatter one that looks like it is split down the middle. It’s basically the same dough used to make the regular fried cruller except it’s made to be thicker (and therefore more doughier in the middle) and it’s dusted with sugar. If you like churros, give these a try. :)

    By the way, “gnow lei sow” means “flaky cow tongue”. Maybe because it actually LOOKS like one? LOL!

  • Daniel: Nice post but the place seems like your run-of-the-mill semi-gross Chinatown spot. (Also, in Mandarin, you’re a “Lao wai.” But I’m basically a lao wai on the inside with a crispy Chinese wrapper so I call you that with a total sense of comradeship). And those “steamed rice crepes” are my favorite dim sum. If you haven’t already, I totally recommend you try them at a place that does only dim sum. They’re awesome.

  • JustN – I checked this place out because it was one of the cheaper sit down lunch specials I’ve ever heard of. Also a restaurant owner in Chinatown I met told me it was one of his favorite, standby restaurants.

    Gordon – Thanks for the offer.. Wendalicious has actually been my ambassador a few times but I think sometime we might have to do a downtown meetup.. I think Yvo is up for it too?

    I’m a Jew though..isn’t that like honorary Chinese, at least when it comes to the food right?

  • I don’t think Big Wong is your run of the mill Chinatown restaurant. IMO, Big Wong has some of the best Chinese BBQ in Chinatown. I’m a jook sing though, so what do I know?

  • Dan, jews & chinese are locked in eternal mortal combat over which race can out-cheap the other. It’d be a 3-way with the Scots but there aren’t enough of them around in NY

  • Big Wing Wong is better.

  • Lay off of daniel, the guy has always been upfront about being a photographer not a food writer. Though the line, “the stare I gave it was worthy of a sexual harassment suit…” was brilliant!

  • There’s a theory that all the “Wong” restaurants have good (everyday) food. Big Wong, Big Wing Wong, etc. That’s what people down in Chinatown say.

  • that roast pork had like no fat on it

  • you do know that wong is the most common surname in the whole world?

  • Actually, Lee is one of the most common surnames even more so than Wong.

    And no, the common Wong surname doesn’t have anything to do with the restaurants. They’re supposed to be owned by the same person.

  • @ Gastro888: All the Wongs except though for Fu Wong. It’s definitely on the bottom of my Wongs list.

  • @ no problem – thats exactly what i thought when i saw the roast pork. roast pork is definitely better when there’s some fat trimming…

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