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October 2, 2010 / Katie

Cha Siu Heaven

For all you cha siu lovers out there, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food serves up the best cha siu over rice (Chinese-style BBQ pork) this side of the Great Wall. The line is long, but it’s worth the wait. Your stomach and wallet will both leave smiling.

$2.50 gets you a generous portion of cha siu, chopped up before your very eyes and heaped over rice, some veggies thrown in for good measure. Then it’s all tightly packed into a small tinfoil container and bagged up to go. If you’re not a pork fan (you don’t know what you’re missing…), try the duck or chicken instead.

Wah Fung is one of the few hole-in-the-walls in Chinatown that actually live up to the hype, and, unlike Prosperity Dumpling, which has become a “cheap eats” joint of legendary fame, you won’t find any hipsters or New York Magazine reviewers in line here. The clientele are mostly Chinatown locals–nai nai with squeaky shopping carts and chubby boys looking to fuel up before their next World of Warcraft round–but once in a while you do see a laowai or two waiting patiently in line, giving each other quiet, knowing glances.

What I like best about Wah Fung, though, is how constant it remains. If I’ve had a long day at work or I’m simply not in the mood to cook, I know I can walk into that narrow hallway and the Wah Fung man will be there, wearing his meat-splattered apron and hat, chopping away at slabs of cha siu, preparing and packaging each customer’s order as if he has all the time in the world. That is a piece of Chinatown lore that no one will ever be able to buy, replicate, or co-opt.

Wah Fung No.1 Fast Food
79 Chrystie Street (between Canal and Hester)
New York, NY 10002
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7 Comments

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  1. Brad F. / Oct 2 2010 11:35 am

    I like this dish. My wife and I ate it all the time in Singapore. There it’s called ‘char siew’ though. I figured there was a place in New York City where I’d be able to find it again. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Phil / Oct 2 2010 12:46 pm

    Ooo, like it! Maybe we’ll stop by as a family when and if we’re coming to New York in Spring!

  3. whaddayameandoihaveroomfordessert / Oct 2 2010 6:45 pm

    duuuuuude. why are you TELLING people about this?! the line’s going to get even longer than it already is!!!

    j/k. freddy and i love it here. we get a little packet and eat it in the park. if we’re really hungry, we pop over to Prosperity.

  4. Frankenstein / Oct 27 2010 9:03 am

    How did I miss this post? This guy is awesome. Whenever I come back, I try and make a stop. His siu app isn’t bad, by the way, but I agree that his cha siu is what really makes it special.

  5. Jenny / Nov 5 2010 3:12 pm

    heard about your blog at the 11/4 MOCA event. love the pictures & quips. BEST!

    • Katie / Nov 8 2010 9:49 pm

      thanks! are you a fellow chinatown dweller?

  6. Guitar Recording Software / Apr 17 2011 2:43 pm

    Amazing, this is very interesting to read. Have you ever considered submitting articles to magazines?

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