Restaurant Review: Big Wong

Details: Located at 67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013. Official site is http://www.big-wong.com/

Score: 6/10

Big Wong is a Cantonese restaurant that’s been around a long time… and it shows. The restaurant is dark and dirty. The floors are tiled and slippery. I almost fell a couple of times walking into the restaurant.

The food is decent, standard Cantonese fare. I ordered some Cantonese barbecue, which was about average. I’ve had better. I’ve had worse. What’s noteworthy is that it didn’t come with any vegetables, a standard side with most order of Cantonese barbecue. The price was only about seven dollars for some char siu and soy sauce chicken, which is pretty good considering this is Manhattan.

Also worth mentioning is that most of the tables here order the more expensive Cantonese dishes and they all looked pretty good. Some ladies got the lobster, which looked good. There were also some people who ordered the basic Chinese takeout type items like something that looked like General Tso’s chicken. It all looked good. If you want a family style meal and are willing to spend some money, this looks like a decent place for a Cantonese meal.

Overall, the food here is all right, but the environment is dark and dirty.

Restaurant Review: Hometown Hotpot & BBQ

Details: Located at 194 Grand St, New York, NY 10013. Official site is http://hometownhotpot.com/index.html

Score: 7/10

Hometown Hotpot is one of a many hotpot places in Chinatown. There’s nothing special about this place. They have all you can eat and Korean barbecue as well.

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Restaurant Review: Taipan Bakery

Details: Two locations in Flushing and in Chinatown. The official site is http://www.taipanbakery.com/

Taipan Bakery is a Taiwanese bakery that’s been around a very long time. There used to be more locations, but there are only two now.

You can get a variety of things here. There are the many  breads and pastries, such as egg tarts, hot dog buns, shredded pork and mayo bun, corn bun, etc. There are too many to name. You can also get coffee or tea. They also do cakes, which I haven’t had for while so I can’t speak as to their quality.

Breads range from around a dollar to a few dollars. Usually, I get a Danish hot dog bun, a curry beef pie, and a corn bun with a hot milk tea. The one thing that this place has that other Taiwanese bakeries don’t have (I’m looking at you Fay Da) is the Danish hot dog bun. It’s just a hot dog bun wrapped in a croissant instead of the normal squishy bun. I much prefer this type of hot dog bun though. The curry beef pie is simply wrapped in puff pastry. The corn bun has corn and ham mixed with mayo sitting on regular bun.

People… are pretty rude here. They don’t really have a grasp of the concept of queuing or respecting others’ personal space. I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, if you’re looking to try some baked goods from an Asian (or more specifically Taiwanese) bakery, Taipan Bakery is a good choice with some relatively unique options.

Score: 6.2/10

Movie Review: The Nice Guys

Details: About two hours long. Stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

I originally heard about this film after watching some reviews for it on YouTube. It received glowing reviews, which is interesting because it mostly flopped at the box office. After watching this movie, I don’t think it was that great nor was it terrible.

The Nice Guys is a film that attempts to replicate or take inspiration from films like Chinatown with Jack Nicholson, or L.A. Confidential, or any other old noir, detective story. The only difference from those films is the tone; this film is a comedy.

The premise is this: Ryan Gosling plays a private detective and meets Russel Crowe, who plays a thug, while investigating a case. Together they try to solve the case and see where the case leads.

In regards to the plot, the film was very reminiscent of Chinatown in that there was this big subplot involving Detroit and the big three car producers which didn’t really have that big of an impact on the overall story. That’s the thing with noir films, they have all these subplots that don’t really matter. The most interesting part of noir films are the dialogue, the interactions between characters, the surprise twists, and eventually the big reveal of who done it.

While there is certainly elements of suspense and noir here, those elements are not the primary draw of this film. The best parts of this movie are the funny pieces of dialogue between Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling. This movie is essentially two hours of watching these two guys make fun of each other and screw around, which is great if that’s what you’re into. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that entertained.

A noteworthy mention is the actress who played Gosling’s daughter, Angourie Rice. She was good, but good child actors generally creep me the hell out. Rice had a lot of fairly adult lines she was asked to say, which was somewhat uncomfortable. Watching her mostly reminded me of all the child entertainers who tried to make it in show business and mostly grew up into messed up adults. I hope Rice has a better experience with show business.

It was okay. I didn’t find it that funny. The movie tried to be somewhat noir, but noir films generally have a mess of a plot and that was true here. I’d recommend it to Gosling or Crowe fans. I’d also recommend to people who want to see topless women. I saw an R rated version and there was a substantial bit of nudity. If you enjoy seeing young, scantily clad women, you may want to give this film a watch.

Score: 5/10