As a person from New Orleans who also grew up in a family-owned restaurant, I feel that I have grasp on what great food really is. I have been traveling since I was a teenager and along the way have dined in a lot of places. I would like to share some of my favorite dining experiences with you, along with some of my travel experiences.
I come from a small family-owned business. I have seen many ups and many downs to this life. I find happiness in seeing other small business owners happiness at these places. Their life of bringing food to their neighborhood typically starts early and ends late. Although most people’s time in there is usually an hour or so, for the owners it’s an all-day event.
One of the best representations of small business and amazing food is a place that I stayed beside in Chinatown in Manhattan called Food King. Our journey that night began by walking 4 miles to the Barclay Center in the freezing cold. I do not know whose idea it was to make this journey (mine) but I am glad that whoever’s it was paid for the Uber on the way back (also me). We were, needless to say, after the hockey game, cold and hungry. Our Uber driver drops us at our Airbnb’s door step. We stood outside trying to figure out if we needed to grab food before our 5 story walk up (I travel cheap). The light on the corner was on and bright. We decided while we’re here and in need of food, let’s try some NYC Chinese food.
We walk in and the building is definitely older and has been a restaurant for a long time. There were a handful of tables which is a good sign to me usually. My wife and I decided to split a large egg drop soup and some lo mein. The soup arrives first and seems to be the most perfect soup I have ever seen. It was creamy and it was thick without being too thick and most importantly, the wontons were perfect. They were thin but still held their own as far as consistency in the soup after a soak.
The lo mein was next level. The noodles were perfect with some amazing sauce and great tofu. This entire meal blew us away and especially when the bill was only $20 for two. This is the same as I would pay in Tennessee for good Chinese food. We enjoyed it so much we decided the next night to order take out and have a night in, in our NYC temporary home. We felt like we were in an episode of Friends and were so excited to try all of our new things we ordered. The soup was amazing once again, as well as with the lo mein. The egg rolls were out of this world along with everything else that we tried.
In my travels I often find myself staying in whatever cities version of Chinatown. I don’t know if it’s cheaper and that’s how I end up there or what exactly is going on. Every time it always seems to work out well. Food King has amazing food, but the experience of being in NYC and eating real food, not chain food, makes it that much better. Most of our friends that lived there would ask what we would eat and how much it was. Always they would be surprised and not understand how we found that food for the price. I had never felt more like a New Yorker than when I was eating good NYC food but also beating most NYC prices. These are some of the reasons that Food King gets a 5-star rating from me.