Hong Kong Chef, Feeding Three Generations and Counting

Categories: On the Menu

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Anamaris Cousins Price
When I visited the Hong Kong Chef recently, I chatted with the cutest older couple. I could tell they were regulars from the assertive way they walked into the dining room and asked for a table for 12. They said they had been coming to Hong Kong Chef since 1966 or so, when they were a newlywed couple. On the day I met them, they were meeting their family; three generations brought up eating from the tiny kitchen.

Hong Kong Chef is a family affair. Lk Tse attended culinary school in Hong Kong, migrated to Houston and opened the restaurant in the mid '50s. His nephew, Abe (Kwok Wah) Sia, began managing HKC in the '80s. His wife, Mimi, told me a bit about the history of the place and what drives the family to keep things as they were in the early days.

Mimi explained that the menu has expanded, but they still serve all of the dishes offered in the '50s. You will find General Tso's and sesame chicken, kung pao, lo mein and many of the usual favorites. Their eggrolls, which they make daily, as well as the won tons, came highly recommended and didn't disappoint. "We make everything here when you order it," said Mimi. "Sometimes customers may be upset because it takes a little longer to make their order, but I want them to know that it takes longer because we make it fresh, nothing is reheated. Our food is made as if you were in my mama's home, she would be proud."

Following the cute couple's recommendation, I ordered the Ketchup Shrimp. I know, sounds weird, but it is so good. The shrimp are lightly battered and fried, then covered with a thick, tangy and sweet ketchup-based sauce. We also had the Butterfly Shrimp, which were wrapped in bacon, battered and served with a sauce similar to the ketchup sauce. I had the fried rice, which was good, though I still prefer Sinh Sinh's.

This little restaurant is a find, as the regulars will tell you. Do you have an old favorite? Tell me about it, I may just pay it a visit.



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Location Info

Hong Kong Chef

5112 Bissonnet St., Bellaire, TX

Category: Restaurant


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24 comments
yang jackson
yang jackson

none of those dishes mentioned are served ANYWHERE in hong kong or china for that matter. saying hong kong chef is good chinese food is like saying taco bell is authentic mexican food. go to chinatown where the food is real.

Susan
Susan

I'm from the Southeast and I'm not embarrased to tell you that this was the first place I ever had Chinese food.  It was in the 1990's and I still use this place as my guage.  The sweet and sour is made there, not in the packet.  Won Ton soup is definately the best!  The decor is not up to date, but older Chinese who are more concerned about the food than the decor tend to keep this mantra.  I've been to many great outdated Chinese dives over the years.  Also, it is cash only.  But if you forget, there is an ATM at HEB.  It is owned by real people and isn't a chain.  I love it, my kids love it, and all of my guests love it!  And, by the way, the ketchup shrimp is really a BBQ sauce, but I'm sure back when the dish was invented, the chef mistook a very American sauce as a ketchup sauce, because what is the base of Texas BBQ sauce?  That's right, ketchup.  Some people are too cool to eat in a dive and to them I say, keep movin on.  But if you want good food, try it.  You WILL go back. 

stwilhelm
stwilhelm

One of my all time favorites.  The special fried rice, won ton soup and egg rolls are some of the BEST in the city.   

AmosW
AmosW

there's a mark bittman recipe for ketchup chicken stir fry that is very delicious, if the ketchup shrimp is anything like bittman's it should be great

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

To all naysayers:  Get a quart of soup from there and then tell me how awful it was.

Tressa
Tressa

Great Article.. I think that the wontonSpecial soup is the Best .. Huge handmade wonton and fresh veggie and 3 kinds of meat and Nice big shrimp! It is also enought for 2 meals and I can eat.. Eggrolls.. YUMM! 

Annikins08
Annikins08

Bruce R.. WOW.. You are super open minded and Happy -Dude.. I hope you have a GREAT day!Fatty FatB.. U rock MistaWhisky R-Love that the people who own & run it remember you after a long time- that is really good biz~!.  

Bruce R
Bruce R

It is obvious from the photos that those two sauced entrees are grossly over-sauced.  Looks like your garden variety industrial grade shitty Chinese food.

Ketchup Shrimp. I'm curious, did someone hold a gun to your head and force you to order that?  If so, are you sure the gun was loaded?

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Hell yeah.  I loved this place when I lived over there.  Definitely get the Won Ton Soup  (like $4 a quart) and the egg foo young is great there, as well.  The place doesn't deliver.  That's all you need to know about how good it is.

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

I used to be a regular when I worked in the area. 10 years later, I go there about twice a year. When I walk in they STILL know my name and ask about my friend I used to dine there with. Great people, great food, great place.

ostiones
ostiones

This place sucks.  Stay away.  Ok it doesn't, but I'm not going to tell about favorite dishes or location, figure it out for yourself, shrimp kew. 

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Where is this joint?  I have a place I love but keeping my lips sealed until the Best of Houston winners are released.

Spiralout74
Spiralout74

Well they must be doing something right if they have been open for 50 years...

Bob
Bob

Best Hot & Sour soup ever!

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

 Until you eat there, you have no room to talk.  Everyone I've introduced to this place loved it.

Anamaris Cousins
Anamaris Cousins

 LOL @ostiones. Christine, I understand your strategy. This is located off Bissonet on the strip with the HEB, just before you get to Bellaire.

Bruce R
Bruce R

 Look at the dish on the bottom right.  You can see a grotesque amount of sauce on the plate.  Yuck.  I don't need to go to Hong Kong Chef because I have sufficient evidence that suggests that it sucks.

Interesting that the Butterfly Shrimp were served in a sauce similar to the Ketchup Shrimp.  Sweet and goopy.  There seems to be a theme.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

 Bissonnet @ Rice.  If you get to Bellaire Blvd. you've gone too far.  Anyone who goes here give me a heads up.  I'll join and bring parcheesi.

Bob
Bob

I figured it out.  You own or work in a nearby Chinese restaurant and you've eaten at HKC and realized you'll be out of business soon.  How else could you possibly dare to criticize a restaurant you've never eaten at? Obviuosly you have a dog in this fight. 

Anamaris Cousins
Anamaris Cousins

@BruceR - I will say that the sauce is thick and heavy on it, but it wasn't gross. And yes, Ketchup shrimp sounded odd to me, but not completely foreigng as I use ketchup instead of tomato paste when I cook at home.  I do believe I'm very reasonable and willing to try something on someone's recommendation, which is why I followed the regulars' advice and ordered the shrimp. Though I couldn't finish the portion--a) because it was so plentiful and b) because the flavors get overwhelming--I was happy I did. I also ordered the lo mein and chow mein and they were both very good and not heavily sauced. Their menu is extensive, I'm sure there's something on it even for you. 

Bruce R
Bruce R

Fatty, the problem is that the dishes pictured are grossly oversauced.  And yes, I've been to hundreds of Chinese restaurants.  The good ones don't drown their food in sauce.

But you have a point.  I wouldn't have ordered either of those sauced entrees so maybe I'd do better with a different part of the menu.  I mean, would a reasonable person order something called Ketchup Shrimp and then expect it to taste good?  I think not.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

 You have sufficient evidence to to a picture of one dish that looks sweet?  Have you ever been to a chinese restaurant?  I don't like sweet dishes, either.  That's why I don't order them. 

What a myopic view.  You know, I'm not a fan of decadent desserts, but I still will eat at Steakhouses.

Mag
Mag

I want to go!

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