If there is one thing I know for certain, you should never deny a pregnant woman. My coworker and office wife, Karen was expecting during the first half of the year. For me, packing my lunch to the office everyday was a slippery slope because when Karen wanted lunch, it sometimes meant forgoing my packed lunch in favor of something she craved. It didn’t happen often but every now and again she would walk into my office, give me a serious face, and say “what am I going to have for lunch?” My reputation as a food lover was put to the test every day. When I returned Karen’s serious stare, I would think long and hard about the choices available to us. Working so close to Chinatown, our choices are usually Italian and Chinese. Our rotation kept things diverse despite the limited cuisine. Japanese, Italian, Dim Sum, Soup Dumplings, Noodles, Bahn Mi, and Deli fare.
On one particular day, Karen was feeling especially particular. Having moved to Pennsylvania one of the things she missed were those local Chinese take-out spots. While they certainly exist all over the place, she noticed a big difference in PA take out versus that ghetto fabulous Brooklyn take-out; AKA a Hood Spot. She said she wanted Chinese for lunch but considered taking the train to her old hood for some good old fashioned Chinese take-out.
Now, I know what you are thinking.
“You work in Chinatown! There are Chinese spots ALL OVER!”
Yes, you are right. But these places are legit. And these places are amazing. But sometimes, you want the big mac over the filet mignon.
That’s when I thought of Wo Hop. A lot of people come from All Over to dine at Wo Hop. Is it amazing? No. Is it fancy? No. Is it Cheap? Not really. But Wo Hop is open all night long and brings drunks from all over NY at all hours of the night. They have an upstairs location and a downstairs. Same kitchen. Different dining areas. I recommend avoiding the downstairs as it has that basement smell. But sit upstairs where its bright and non- basement smelling and you are sure to have a pretty decent meal.
When we were seated, we were immediately given black tea. Black tea that we loaded with sugar and drank happily. Since Karen was the one who craved Chinese, I let her do the ordering. We started with some spare ribs. Unlike the take out spots that I know, these ribs were not freakishly orange and they were pretty meaty. They had a nice char to them and a sweet sauce that wasn’t fake tasting or nauseating.
We got a HUGE plate of Shrimp fried rice. This rice was legit. It wasn’t overly greasy but it had a nice color to it and was full of all the wonderful things that I love about fried rice, especially the egg and sprouts.
To go with the rice, I suggested we ordered the Sesame Chicken. The sesame chicken was made with a brownish sauce, the sauce I commonly see is bright orange, and the pieces of chicken were hearty. We did not eat the broccoli.
And not pictured are the fried beef dumplings we should have put more thought into. They were tasty. However, as you can see, we had quite an abundance of food.
Wo Hop is never my finest dining hour but the food is consistent. And I only really crave it when I have had too much to drink. There are so many amazing Chinese spots in Chinatown but for those cravings, Wo Hop does just fine. Even if it is reminiscent of your “Hood Spot”.