Hong Hing restaurant on Ellice Avenue, is a Chinese restaurant of the type I was familiar with growing up. Lots of dishes featuring chop suey and chow mein. However, there are a few Szechuan dishes available on the menu, and even an eight item Dim Sum list.
This is a place that I’ve often wondered, when I passed, if it is still in business. It’s a squat, rather non-descript, exterior that doesn’t appear all that inviting even in the daytime. However, it is also not far from where I live so I thought I should stop in some time.
Hong Hing specializes in takeout, but there are a few table and about twenty seats in the restaurant if you want to dine in. Although I dined in on my first visit, I got the impression that they would prefer you to place takeout orders. The tables are formica topped, and squished closed together, so you don’t really feel that you are dining with any sort of privacy.
Hong Hing Supper
On my first visit I started of with a consomme soup, along with the BBQ ribs, and the Beef with vegetables and peanuts. The soup had a good, flavourful broth with plenty of rice, and a good bit of onion. It was also not overly salty.
The ribs were the best part of the meal. The meat was falling of the bone. There was a whole lot of it, and the BBQ sauce was rich and flavourful. It was so good, that it fell into the category: I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a picture.
The pork with vegetables was also quite good. the vegetables were suitably crisp and the peanuts added an extra bit of crunch. Although in this case I only ate a small portion of it, because I couldn’t stop scarfing back the ribs. When iI had eaten my fill, I had the restaurant pack up the pork and vegetables, along with the remainder of the rice and I took them home to have for breakfast the next morning.
Hong Hing for Takeout After Open Mic
Over the last few months I’ve got involved at a couple of open mic nights around town. I started out attending the ones that Vinyl Revival used to hold, to listen to my friend Geoff Woodcroft and his band The Narwhals. After the closure of Vinyl Revival I started attending open mic nights at Sam’s Place, and it was here I started to sing. I also attend bi-weekly open mics at The Strong Badger Coffeehouse.
These open mic nights happen every second Friday. Strong Badger is just a few blocks from where I live. My repertoire generally consists of Elvis, Johnny, and a variety of other country and early rock singers. Below, there are a couple of videos. The first is of me singing a little marching ditty written by my great-grandfather, William “Fighting Mac” Mckenzie, WW1 Anzac Padre, and the second is of yesterday’s open mic.
In the second video, you can skip to 23:45 if you just want to listen to my songs.
There were fewer performers than some nights yesterday, so everything wound up by about 7:45pm. I hadn’t been able to have supper before I went to the open mic, so I figured this would be a good time to make a second visit.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the decor at Hong Hing isn’t the sort that makes you wish to stay around. Coupled with that, I had recently signed out, from the library, the first three novels in the Montalbano series. I’ve watched the whole TV series, but wanted to read a few of the novels.
I didn’t place my order in advance, so I was curious how long it would take to get my order and be on my way. This time around I opted for the Hot and Sour Soup, the Sliced Chicken, the Szechuan Chicken, and an order of spring rolls. It didn’t take long for my order to be filled and for me to be headed home.
Given the temperatures outside, the food wasn’t hot by the time I reached my house, but still warm enough that it was enjoyable without me having to heat it up. One thing with the order, is that it is big enough that even though I ate all the Szechuan Chicken, there is still enough food leftover for me to have another substantial meal today or tomorrow.
The one item in this order that I found to be a disappointment was the spring rolls. Although they were crispy and crunchy when I bit into them, the filling was mushy and flavourless.
On the whole, my second meal was less satisfying than my first. The Hot N Sour soup is all right. The one saving grace to it is that it comes with plenty of shrimp, so that if you are sharing there is no need to fight over who gets the shrimp. While the flavour was pretty good, it is neither particularly hot nor sour.
The Szechuan Chicken was the best of the dishes on this visit. The flavours are rich and the chicken tender. Much like the Hot N Sour soup, however, there is not a lot of heat in the dish. Still, it is one that I would definitely order again.
The Sliced chicken was also quite good if slightly overcooked. The one thing I really liked about it was that the chicken skin was good and crispy and really enjoyable to bite into.
Rice comes included with the order.
This wouldn’t be my first choice for a Chinese restaurant. It is quite popular. Both times I went there were quite a few people dining in, as well as people coming for pick up. However, given that it’s located so close to where I live and you can find a few good dishes, the portions are large, and the prices reasonable, I’m sure I’ll stop in here every once in a while.