Forget Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham. What you really want for the holidays is a family dinner at Wu’s Wonton King, a Cantonese restaurant deep in Chinatown. Not the Chinatown that’s near Canal Street and Lafayette, the one further east near East Broadway and Essex Street. You’ll see big family dinners in the works, sometimes three generations at a table, catching up over Peking duck and a bottle of wine. It’s also a popular place for birthday parties, because Wu’s Wonton King is byob, so people will bring their Veuve and a cake, no cutting fee involved. It doesn’t get any better than this, which is why Wu’s is my favorite Chinese restaurant in NYC and I’ve been here three times in the past month.
When someone claims to be the king of wontons, you can bet that their wonton soup is going to be crazy good. The bowl of New York No. 1 wonton soup is appropriately named. The wontons are stuffed generously with high quality pork and shrimp bits, and they’re served in a light, clean broth. I’ve had this delivered from Postmates several times because it’s so good.
The seafood here is excellent. The jumbo shrimp with walnuts in mayo sauce is another one of my favorites. You can’t leave Wu’s Wonton King without eating them. I would also recommend adding the lobster in garlic sauce to your order, especially if you’ve got a big group that can crush a lot of things. But for your first visit, if you have to choose between the shrimp or lobster, get the jumbo shrimp.
Obviously the Peking duck is something you have to get. What’s nice is that they already carve it for you and arrange the meat, veggies and sauce in the buns. There’s none of that annoying sandwich making that you have to deal with when it comes to Peking duck. The whole roast suckling pig is a house special that you have to order ahead of time, but I found it a little too intense to eat. First of all, they bring the whole pig to the table, and what you see is what you get. They don’t really clean up the meat or season it all that much. It’s a little too pure, with all the layers of jiggly fat and crackly skin.
I’ve been to Wu’s Wonton King multiple times, and I’ve never had a bad meal. Each time, the classics never disappoint, and new dishes that I’ve never tried end up being great and getting promoted to classic status, like the Peking pork chop. Family dinners can be fraught with drama, and birthday dinners can become tense when it comes to splitting the check, but at Wu’s Wonton King, the booze and the reasonably priced food keep everyone happy.
Wu’s Wonton King
165 E Broadway (between Rutgers and Jefferson St)
New York, NY 10002