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New Big Wong, Cantonese in Chinatown - Owner Michael Weng and Chef Jun Xu on 6th and H Street


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My favorite is New Big Wong on H St. between 6th and 7th. The walls are lined with fish tanks full of interesting things including: live shrimp, mahogany clams, razor clams, dungeness crabs, lobsters, various fish. Their "special fried rice" with shrimp and dried scallops (and no soy sauce) is spectacular and addictive. The menu is on the cheap side, the live things are definitely not.

Thanks for this recommendation, Mark. Went there with the fiancee for lunch over the weekend, and the food was delicious. The ginger-scallion dungeness was particularly good, though it was only recommended when I asked if they had dow miu [pea shoots]. I guess that signified to the older gentleman who took our order [and who had the air of an owner] that we weren't going to ask for lemon chicken or sweet and sour pork or whatever. blink.gif

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I have since looked at the sign in the window and it says that they should be reopen in October or November.
Question: I was wandering around in Eden Center and there was a "New Big Wong" in there. Has it always been there, or did it temporarily relocate there, or is this something different altogether? I think (again, I'm sorry I don't remember exactly) it was inside Saigon East (near the grocery store) place.
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Yea, it's open now. The restaurant looks much nicer than it did before it got closed down.

Also, I have been looking at some of the reviews of this restaurant and it seems as if the people who gave it below 3 stars all ate the American-Chinese food.

All the people who rated 5 stars ate the Hong Kong food.

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Four of us paid a visit to New Big Wong last night and had a sensational time. The restaurant has been re-done and has a clean, modern look. With the help of my friend Sheon, we were able to eat magnificently in the Hong Kong style. It certainly helps to have a Chinese speaker, but the waitresses were very helpful and will reward your patience with some stunning food. Sheon discovered that our waitress was a family friend, so the evening started with lots of laughs and smiles from the staff.

The fish tanks have been moved to the back of the restaurant and provided most of our first plates.

(1)Live shrimp were available and this was the first plate out. The shrimp are dipped in boiling water for 5 seconds and brought immediately to the table with scallion soy sauce for dipping. These were the tenderest most delicate shrimp I can remember eating. A large plate was enough for the four of us. This is a must have dish. Simple and elegant.

(2) Next came meaty mahogany clams with black bean and garlic. These, too, were barely cooked and extremely tender and full of flavor.

(3)You can not eat here and miss the "special fried rice" - the rice is fried without soy sauce and incorporates shrimp, scallops, dried scallops, peas and scallions. This is off the charts delicious. This was the only starch course we had. (4+5)The live fish in the tanks were 4 pound groupers which we decided were too big. We had a smaller steamed fish which was first served as soup made from the head and cheeks with tofu and broth. The flesh was served separately and was flaky and tasty, but beware of the bones. (6)Being on a roll now, we asked for steamed and sauteed lobster with XO sauce. Words fail me to describe how good this was. Meltingly tender and perfectly sauced, this was a showstopper. We had called ahead and were told we could bring wine and I'm glad we did. For the shrimp we enjoyed Champagne Eric Rodez Brut Grand Cru Millesime 2000, which showed very well. The following fish courses were enjoyed with Puligny-Montrachet Patrick Javillier 2002 which couldn't have been better.

Meat time. (7)Our waitress insisted we have the sweet and sour pork chops. This in no way resembles "American" sweet and sour with pineapples, gooey red sweet sauce and the like. The chops were sliced and fried with a very subtle sweet sauce and came crunchy, tender and utterly delicious. (8)Vegetables were missing from the table and Sheon asked for steamed broccoli shoots, which were perfect. (9)The waitress asked "Now what do you want?". Duck, please! The most incredible crunchy-skinned tender duck showed up next. It was gone in seconds. What next? (10)Golden Fried Chicken. Normally they ask that you call a day ahead for this dish and I could understand why. Perfectly cooked, moist chicken with the crispiest most delicious skin just separated from the meat was the perfect ending to what turned out to be an amazing and spectacular dinner. For the meat courses I brought Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru 'Les Grandes Lollieres" Domaine Pascal Maillard 2005 which showed beautifully and was the favorite wine of the night.

Now the details and disclaimers: We drank Champagne from juice glasses and the wines from water tumblers. I thought it would be too wine-geeky to bring glasses and the glassware added to the fun. We arrived at 7:30 and left at 9:45. At no time did the restaurant have more than 3 other people besides the four of us. Maybe this was because it was a Monday night, or maybe it is normal. They serve every night till 4AM. Nothing we ordered was on the regular menu they present when you sit down. The regular menus are regularly priced for Chinatown: inexpensive. Our 10 course dinner came to $208 including tax. The live seafood items are considerably more expensive than the regular menu items, particularly the live shrimp. Worth Every Penny.

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Great review....and the glassware makes this priceless. Can't wait to go (when I make a Chinese friend).

Having a friend who speaks Chinese helped a lot but isn't absolutely necessary. Ask the waitress to tell you what the Chinese menu says. You can go look at the tanks and point if you want. Make sure to have the special rice, the lobster XO and the pork chops, and you'll have a great meal. Not super cheap, but very good. Sorry I couldn't itemize the cost of each dish.

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With some local restaurants charging $7 for an order of fries, I would say paying only $5.20 per course/per person for the meal you described would be super-cheap.

Thanks, Steve, I'm glad you noticed that. The most expensive courses were the whole lobster and the live shrimp and possibly the duck and chicken.

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(3)You can not eat here and miss the "special fried rice" - the rice is fried without soy sauce and incorporates shrimp, scallops, dried scallops, peas and scallions. This is off the charts delicious.

Seconded (and thanks to Mark for the heads-up). Plz note that this menu is HUGE. There are 61 things on the "chef's suggestion" page alone, and that's one of 7 pages. The fried rice in question is $12.95 (Dry Scallop Fried Rice) for a rather large portion. Couldn't find many of the other items on the english menu (for instance, there is squid in XO sauce, but no lobster....Kingdom Pork Chop maybe = Sweet/Sour Pork Chop?) but I assume if you ask you can get them.

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Seconded (and thanks to Mark for the heads-up). Plz note that this menu is HUGE. There are 61 things on the "chef's suggestion" page alone, and that's one of 7 pages. The fried rice in question is $12.95 (Dry Scallop Fried Rice) for a rather large portion. Couldn't find many of the other items on the english menu (for instance, there is squid in XO sauce, but no lobster....Kingdom Pork Chop maybe = Sweet/Sour Pork Chop?) but I assume if you ask you can get them.

Right, Eric. Ask the waitress. All the dishes were not on the printed English menu that I could see. They will cook the whole lobster any way you ask. I happened to have asked for XO.

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We stopped in for a late dinner after checking out the auto show. Following Mark's suggestions, we had a very good meal and - even though there were only two of us - managed to try 5 dishes :P . We brought home enough leftovers for at least two more meals.

The live shrimp were great - although I think one of their buddies in the tank was giving me the stink eye for the rest of the meal. We watched them get fished out of the tank and they reappeared soon after, pink and sweet, with the dipping sauce described above. A half pound was about $15. Kingdom (or Kungdom as it is spelled on the menu) Pork Chop is the dish Mark had and it was just as good as he made it sound - lightly fried, tangy and sweet, and not covered in bright red glop - delicious!

The dry scallop fried rice would have been plenty alone - it was loaded with small pieces of fresh, moist scallops, shrimp, and other goodies. Our very kind and attentive waitress (Shu) served up small bowls for us and also asked if we wanted some vegetables. We did and she suggested steamed pea shoots with garlic - another very nice dish, not overcooked, slightly crunchy and with a little hint of sweet pea flavor.

We also ordered a half duck to go and were asked if we wanted to try a little bit at the table - probably because they know it's best when fresh. It was done just right - crispy on the outside, lots of meat and not too much fat on the inside, and a delicious, interesting -very light- sauce on the plate with it.

Apparently we were not the only ones who have come in and asked about these dishes - the word is out :D We were told that the dishes on the Chinese menu are only available until 8:30 pm. Shu made several other suggestions on the menu for future visits, in case she wasn't working - she works the late shift and is there after 10 pm. The restaurant was busy while we were there, with several tables turned over at least once.

I do have one question - why are the greens in Chinese restaurants always so expensive? I was expecting a high price, but the pea shoots were actually the most expensive dish we ordered ($15.95) - it seems out of proportion, but is something I've noticed before.

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I do have one question - why are the greens in Chinese restaurants always so expensive? I was expecting a high price, but the pea shoots were actually the most expensive dish we ordered ($15.95) - it seems out of proportion, but is something I've noticed before.

I had this same experience the other night at Joe's. The price was about the same for about 1/4 lb of sauteed pea shoots with garlic.

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This place sounds good. I haven't seen live shrimp in any of the chinese places in VA.

I do have one question - why are the greens in Chinese restaurants always so expensive? I was expecting a high price, but the pea shoots were actually the most expensive dish we ordered ($15.95) - it seems out of proportion, but is something I've noticed before.

You also have to count in the labor of picking through the greens to get rid of the tough leaves. Pea shoots cook down to nothing, so a plate of cooked product is a huge basket when raw.

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This place sounds good. I haven't seen live shrimp in any of the chinese places in VA.

You also have to count in the labor of picking through the greens to get rid of the tough leaves. Pea shoots cook down to nothing, so a plate of cooked product is a huge basket when raw.

The point is, don't go here looking for the cheapest food. The American menu has the cheapest food: sweet and sour, chop suey, etc..... Ask about the Chinese menu, the pork chops, the live shrimp, the whole lobster, look at the fish tanks and ask questions. The people who work there really seemed to enjoy serving us things not on the menu. Large tips will help them remember you next time you go. :P

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Lily and I went last night, had the live shrimp, sno peas, dry scallop fried rice, and the sweet and sour pork chops.

Live shrimp (1/2 pound $16) were great. Very tender. I ate the shell and all, maybe will try the head next time :-).

Fried rice ($13) was also very good. As were the snow peas ($16).

(7)Our waitress insisted we have the sweet and sour pork chops. This in no way resembles "American" sweet and sour with pineapples, gooey red sweet sauce and the like. The chops were sliced and fried with a very subtle sweet sauce and came crunchy, tender and utterly delicious.

Lily was disappointed with this dish ($14). She claims this is supposed to be a fairly complicated dish in which the sauce is pretty thick and sticks onto the chops. Instead, our dish was swimming in the sauce. Tender? Yes. Crunchy? Decidedly no. Utterly delicious? I thought it was fine, but Lily has had better, IHO.

I should note that the waitress had recommended to us the salted pork chops instead. We had our heart set on sweet and sour instead. Maybe there was a different cook there last night.

But, we would certainly go back. I've been there several times, I just always ordered off the American menu and got decent food. These seafood dishes were really good!

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Lily was disappointed with this dish ($14). She claims this is supposed to be a fairly complicated dish in which the sauce is pretty thick and sticks onto the chops. Instead, our dish was swimming in the sauce. Tender? Yes. Crunchy? Decidedly no. Utterly delicious? I thought it was fine, but Lily has had better, IHO.
Mentioned earlier that it might have been the kingdom pork chops that Mark had.

Next time say hi.

We ordered the dungeness crab deep fried with scallion and small sliced green chili. The mustard inside the top of the shell was the best with a salty crust. The meat in the legs was quite dry. (~$30)

Live shrimp was interesting. In some cases, some shrimp were juicier and sweeter than others.

The beef shortribs in XO sauce were chewier than I would have liked, but really liked the XO and spooned it atop my rice.

The agreed upon favorite was the roasted crispy duck, which had amazing crispness though little flavor unless dipped in the accompanying sauce. The sauce had mercifully been put on the dish before plating the duck so that amazing skin was preserved. We ate every last bit on the plate.

Beef tripe with sour cabbage was chewy, but super flavorful. The cabbage was slightly pickled rather than the expected kimchee. One of the highlights.

Pan fried dumplings were on the bland side to me.

It was a good meal. Though I was feeling serious MSG dry mouth later in the night. And it was a steal at $35/person incl. tip.

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Just ordered delivery from New Big Wong. I'll be sure to report back.

If anyone tries CS32 ("Sauteed Pig Navel in Black Bean Sauce") from the Chef's Suggestions part of the menu, I'd like to hear about it. :rolleyes:

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Just ordered delivery from New Big Wong. I'll be sure to report back.

If anyone tries CS32 ("Sauteed Pig Navel in Black Bean Sauce") from the Chef's Suggestions part of the menu, I'd like to hear about it. :rolleyes:

I can't vouch for the delivery menu, especially if it is from the "American" menu. The big draw of this restaurant is the live seafood.

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We went on Saturday afternoon after the antique show at the Convention Center.

We were fairly impressed - though we were told that all of the dishes on the wall were also in the "specials" section of the menu. I don't know if that's true, but it wouldn't be the first time we were told that in a Chinese restaurant to save the pain of translation.

No ong choy was available, but we wanted something in bean curd sauce so we had the snow pea leaves. They were fine in this preparation. We ordered stuffed bean curd with black bean sauce. We had asked whether this was stuffed with shrimp paste or pork, and got a confused reply. What we ended up with was stuffed with fresh-chopped shrimp and lightly fried - no black bean sauce, oddly, but a soy-based dipping sauce. Wonderful. Other dishes were spareribs in pepper sauce (delicious), chow fun with beef and Chinese broccoli (good), and orange chicken (ordered at the behest of an unadventurous dining companion, no orange peel to be found, but very good nonetheless).

We'd go back.

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My thoughts:

String Beans Szechuan Style (not pictured) - these were tasty if you could ignore the salt. You couldn't. There was so much salt on them that it wasn't even funny. I seriously more than once considered dunking them in my ice water, but I was busy drinking it trying to make up for what I'd just eaten of them.

Pork Belly - but golly darn was this good! The two pieces of meat that I had were half delicious meat and half a thick strip of also delicious fat. The pickled stuff worked off of it nicely. I forced myself to eat slowly on it as it's the kind of rich, tasty dish that would encourage overeating for me.

Crispy duck - admittedly, I love me some duck. This was good - I didn't think it was great, but it was pretty good, if hard to eat with chop sticks. :rolleyes:

Squid - It wasn't as salty as the string beans but unfortunately still too salty, which really hurt it. I'd hoped that it'd be spicy, but alas, it was not. I didn't think it was bad, per se, but it needed less salt and and more spice in my opinion.

I enjoyed the dinner but that might've been as much for the company that, uh, accompanied it. The salt content just threw everything off, unfortunately. I wonder if we just hit a fluke of cooking, ordered something unexpected, or what. goodeats ordered in Chinese off the wall menu so I have no idea what exactly (or inexactly) she was saying!

(I usually just assume in that situation she was making fun of me.)

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If anyone tries CS32 ("Sauteed Pig Navel in Black Bean Sauce") from the Chef's Suggestions part of the menu, I'd like to hear about it. :rolleyes:

It had to be ordered. For the record, this is Hog Maw (stomach) and definitely not pork belly.

Tasty black bean sauce (ginger, pepper, garlic?), chunks of onion, green pepper, and the chunks of maw. scored on one side (I assume this is to prevent them from curling up completely), the flavor was nice and porky, not too outlandish. But the texture is definitely on the weird side...a little chewy, gelatinous, but still firm and meaty.

I don't think I'd get an entire order for just myself again, but it was definitely worth trying and I'd get it again in a group.

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With HEOTB closed and Full Key and Paul Key in Wheaton firmly mired in mediocrity these days, my jones for some good Chinese food led us to New Big Wong for the first time since the renovation. We had the salt & pepper whole shrimp which were quite good indeed. Next up was baby bok choi which was damned good as well. The final dish was live stonefish, an ugly puss if ever I have seen one, chopped into bits and steamed. The fish has litttle meat which must basically be sucked off the bone. The skin becomes gelatinous. Its a hell of a lot of work for some really tasty fish, and at $26.95 a fish, it ain't cheap. All in all, the dinner was superb. We will be back.

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New Big Wong may be the best in DC but it is far from consistent. The jelly fish was an atrocity - limp and watery. The pea shoots were fine but that's a simple dish that most other restaurants can handle as well. The clams in black bean sauce were nice, mostly due to the freshness and plumpness of the clams themselves. They were out of live shrimp. We did have a unique dungeness crab dish - with tempura-like batter flavored with some hot pepper flakes - good (not not as good as the crab masala we had recently). We also ordered the house special fried rice and kingdom pork chop at Steve Hitchcock's request. He can impart his impressions on those dishes if he wants to (I did not touch the kingdom pork chops).

Some observations about the restaurant itself. It's a relatively small space and pretty crowded on a Saturday evening, which made the place really noisy. I think the diners are about half Asian, half non-Asian, and the Asians look to be tourists. No one else in the restaurant was drinking anything resembling alcoholic beverages but they do have beer. Our Tsing Taos were pre-poured and served in glasses. Live seafood included dungeness crabs, lobsters, and the ugly fish Dean had. The menu now has lots of Chinese dishes - so the list on the wall is much shorter (maybe 10 or so dishes) - and the menu is translated.

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Thanks Eric for the invitation to tag along. I thought the pea shoots were some of the most tender and fresh ones I have ever had. I probably consumed at least 50% of that dish. The crab was cooked bi feng tang style. It was very similar to spicy salt and pepper, but also had small chunks of pork and egg. We wanted to order razor clams with yellow chives from the wall menu, but they were out of those too.

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We wanted to order razor clams with yellow chives from the wall menu, but they were out of those too.

I've never even seen razor clams on a Chinese menu so I was a little disappointed that they were out. On the other hand, I belive conch with yellow chives is a cantonese dish that I've seen (I'm not crazy about conch but yellow chives are delicious).

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I went to the travel show and afterwards ended up at New Big Wong.  Tried to practice my Mandarin with the waitresses.  At the end of the meal discovered they were all from my parents' part of China.  I could have been practicing my own dialect with them.  Doh!😝

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14 minutes ago, hopsing said:

I went to the travel show and afterwards ended up at New Big Wong.  Tried to practice my Mandarin with the waitresses.  At the end of the meal discovered they were all from my parents' part of China.  I could have been practicing my own dialect with them.  Doh!😝

See, now, if you had just read this thread first.

乾杯,

Rocks

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