As I mentioned previously on several occasions, my boyfriend David does not like pork. He does not want to eat it or even smell it, which means my apartment has become a pig-free zone, and I have become an obsessive pork fiend. I crave it constantly. Every waking moment, fried strips of crunchy bacon cloud my thoughts. So last weekend, when David left town to go visit his mom, I knew where I was going: Excellent Pork Chop House.
On Sunday, I set out around lunchtime with plans to grab a quick bite. When I got there though, it was packed. Also surprising, was that Excellent Pork Chop House was an actual restaurant. I assumed it was a small take-out place. Seeing the crowded tables, I decided to get my order to go. My stomach was growling and my brain was demanding immediate porcine satisfaction. So I ordered Pork Chop over Rice ($5.25) and I waited, and waited, and waited….. I think I may have waited about twenty minutes. The place was hopping and there were delivery orders coming in constantly. I was annoyed, but I was glad to see the place was busy; no one wants food that’s been sitting around. After innumerable minutes eavesdropping on the conversation at the table in front of me (nothing exciting, unfortunately), my order was finally ready and I was out the door. However, I was starving, and I didn’t think I would make the fifteen minute walk back to my apartment, so I turned the corner and went to Chatham Restaurant for a pre-lunch snack, a baked char-siu bao (roast pork bun).
So far, I think Chatham Restaurant has the best char-siu bao in Chinatown. The buns are actually filled with pork, not just pork fat globules, and smothered in sweet caramelized onions. This was perfect on the walk back home.
And finally, the pork chop. The pork chops at Excellent Pork Chop House are Taiwanese-style, fried with five spice and served on top of rice with pickled mustard greens and minced pork. Unfortunately, the pork chop fell slightly short of being excellent. The pork could have been less lean, and more juicy, but for the price, I can’t complain. You can even get the pork chop alone for $2.50, but I like the sauce of sour pickled vegetables and minced pork that comes with the rice.
On a side note, I found it interesting that the plastic bag they gave my order in said May Wah on it. May Wah on Hester used to be a hole-in-the-wall take-out place that served really good Taiwanese pork chops over rice similar to Excellent Pork Chop House for only $4.50. I would even venture to say the pork chops at May Wah were a bit better. They were more greasy, but also more juicy. Little more than a year ago, the place changed owners and it is now called Wah Mei. To add to the confusion, there is a vegetarian store across the street called May Wah. WTF! When my friend Eunice first started working near Chinatown I told her to go to May Wah for pork chops not knowing the owners changed and she ended up in the vegetarian store. Luckily, the people working there steered her across the street.
So considering the plastic bag, I have to assume Excellent Pork Chop House is either owned by the previous owners of May Wah, or they also own Wah Mei. I’ll have to cross-examine the waiters next time at Excellent Pork Chop House to be sure. However, the next time I’m planning to get my order to go, I’ll be heading to Wah Mei. It seems kinda useless to pay more at Excellent Pork Chop House unless I want to eat the other dishes on the menu or I go with a group.
In any case, that was my pork filled adventure while my boyfriend was away. I think I had my fill of pork for now. Especially since the day before my family and I had a xiaolongbao (soup dumplings made with crabmeat and pork) feast at Joe’s Shanghai. Although, really, can you ever have enough pork? BACON!!!
UPDATE (5/4/10) – Wah Mei is May Wah again, but when they answer the phone, they say, “Wah Mei.” Did I lose you yet?
Excellent Pork Chop House
3 Doyers St (betw Pell St and Bowery)
Chatham Restaurant (CLOSED)
9 Chatham Square (betw Doyers St and Mott St)
May Wah Fast Food (formerly Wah Mei & May Wah before that)
190 Hester St (betw Baxter St & Mulberry St)