Monday, August 8, 2011

Pork chops and chest pains (Hua Ji Pork Chop Fast Food 華記排骨王)

Pork chop over rice

I know what you're thinking... "goddamn son, you sure do eat a lot of pork chops. You should probably chill on doing that or you're probably going to have health problems in the very near future." While it is true that I have been having intermittent chest pains for the past week or so (living life dangerously sans health insurance!), that is probably entirely coincidence and most likely has nothing to do with the fact that I've been wafflestomping pork chops like I have a vendetta against pigs. Anyway, I've already made my point sufficiently clear on why I think Taiwanese pork chop over rice tastes like frolicking through a field of wildflowers i.e. awesome, so now let me address another pressing issue that definitely needed looking into - given the staggering number of places that serve this stuff (that'd be like... four?), who's serving up the dopest Taiwanese pork chops in all of Manhattan?

Well I'm not really sure how to answer that. I hate ranking things and using words like "best," "ultimate," or "perfect" - seriously, bloggers who use those superlatives need to calm their hormones when describing food... I'd love to see anyone definitively prove that something is the absolute pinnacle of culinary innovation. But... when it comes to pork chops in Manhattan Chinatown, Hua Ji (華記) pretty much shames the competition into looking like demented elves. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it is my favorite place for fried pig.

Soooo tender

$5 bro. That's all it takes to purchase a plastic bowl of ecstasy. Sure May Wah might be cheaper at $4.50, but I'm pretty sure I prefer Hua Ji's pork chops by more than 11.11%. Why? Their pork chops tend to be crispier, fattier, and in general more... in your face. May Wah and Bian Dang Truck both have a tendency to rely on sauce for flavor, and while that's perfectly cool with me, it mellows the texture from the frying into something that's in general smoother (never thought I'd describe pork chops like that...). Hua Ji does their shit right - minimalist seasoning and proper frying - and the end product reflects that, a tender hunk of meat and crispy fat that spurts oil as you bite through the crust. If that doesn't sound great to you, then you probably hate eating bacon too... we have no further business to discuss.

Pork sauce and cabbage

It's unfortunate that their pork sauce is only "okay." That's not to say I don't find it delicious and totally worth eating plain with rice, just that May Wah's is probably better. Ideally the mixture should have an adequate saltiness that's balanced by the tartness of the pickled veggies and neutral flavor of the cabbage, but Hua Ji's lacks the certain oomph that would make me crave more white rice. It's inoffensive, but in a bland sort of sense rather than a pleasant one. Still, you're paying for pork chop over rice and not pork sauce over rice, so it's not a deal killer.

tl;dr - Hua Ji makes some sick pork chops. Probably some of the finest shit I've had outside of Taiwan yo. Sure their pork sauce might not be as sickeningly delicious as May Wah's, but it's okay. Remember... you're only paying $5. That's pretty good for $5.

Hua Ji Pork Chop Fast Food
7 Allen St, New York, NY 10002


Feisty Foodie said...

That last pic is totally obscene. Love it. /yank

I didn't read any of this except tl;dr. Sorry.

Kevin said...

I know I'm only one year into medical school, but something tells me that a week of intermittent chest pain is something that you should probably get checked out.

Nicholas said...

Feisty Foodie - :[ that's what the tl;dr is there for.

Kevin - I asked my sister (who graduated from med school) and she told me it was probably musculoskeletal and that I should quit being a bitch.

kim said...

Hi Nicholas,

Mom is tired of American food, so I'm going to take mom for some Taiwanese pork chop grub tomorrow in Chinatown. Which location would you recommend? Thanks.

Nicholas said...

kim - Hua Ji forever and always. XO Kitchen has a decent one though (not Taiwanese), but still good.

kim said...

THanks for the prompt response. We're going there around lunch time. Would we be able to score a seat you think?

Nicholas said...

kim - uh I don't think you'd want to sit at Hua Ji...

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Amazing Pork Chop House yet? What is your opinion of their pork chops in comparison to Hua Ji and Mei Wah?

Nicholas said...

munchimonster - I'm gonna assume you mean Excellent Pork Chop House? I don't really love theirs. It's neither crispy as fuck or flavorful. Plus they left shell on my soy sauce egg.

Anonymous said...

Yeahh that's what I meant. I've only tried their shaved ice, which I really liked xD

Ewww that sounds terrible... Thanks for the heads up! =]

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