Hua Seng Hong
At the front of this venerable Chinatown institution, you’ll spot chefs steaming, grilling and slicing ducks, seafood and pigs. Inside is a long, low-ceilinged hallway, which sometimes feels a bit claustrophobic, filled with the roar of locals and tourists, many of whom are Asian. The dining room in the back is similarly no-frills. Fortunately, the food is the focus, here. The menu offers gargantuan Chinese dishes with shark’s fin soup, braised goosefeet in a clay pot (B400) and steamed crab with glass noodles (B900) as the highlights. There are also more affordable choices like BBQ pork noodles (B60) and rice topped with roast duck (B60). Finally, the dim sum is on offer all day. The overall quality is very good, but while Hua Seng Hong is one of Yaowarat’s most famous addresses, we don’t feel it’s quite as special these days. Sure, they still use good produce, and simple dishes like stir fried morning glory (B100-B200) or sweet and sour pork (B150-B300) come out just as you’d expect them. But we’re rarely dazzled either. The meat in the crab with glass noodles is slightly dry, lacking the naturally sweet and iodine flavors of great shellfish. The dim sum (B35) is perhaps the most underwhelming offering, featuring overcooked, overly thick dough that tends to fall apart. Also, service can be uneven. Dishes take a while to get to your table at peak hours. The waiters, who see their fair share of tourists, sometimes push for big, fancy dishes (and a big tip). Even so, bills remain reasonable. So even though Hua Seng Hong isn’t the very best in town, it’s in the heart of Chinatown, it’s full of atmosphere and the consistently good food is the real deal. (Note: we don’t approve of shark fin soup and haven’t tried it, although Hua Seng Hong is famous for this dish.) Corkage B100.