With a front window full of hanging and marinading roasted meats, Hung's set their stall out early. It would have been churlish to ignore this carnivorous bounty and, being no churl, we went for a selection of char siu, the honeyed roast pork, along with crispy cubes of belly pork known as siu yuk. Neither was bad by any stretch of the imagination, but served simply on a bed of rice they came over either as underpowered or too subtle, depending how charitable you're feeling. Moist and well cooked, I just wanted more taste.
Flavourwise, things improved with a beef brisket hot pot. Big chunks of meltingly tender beef fell apart in a thick gravy of umami flavour. MSG enhanced? Almost certainly, the cloying afterburn of the flavour enhancer was unmistakable, but a perfect dish for a cold February night notwithstanding. Oddly, despite being a hot pot dish, it was obviously cooked in another dish and served in the clay pot as the outer container arrived stone cold, hastening the cooling down of the meat inside.
Not tried this time, but Mr Noodles also recommended the King Prawn Dumpling Noodles, something I'd be happy to come back for having seen them ordered and demolished by a tiny Chinese lady on the next table to us. The service is as perfunctory as you'd expect from a Chinatown joint and the decor is basic. I won't be making a beeline for Hung's in the near future, but what we had wasn't bad.
While we're on the subject, I thought I'd mention another Chinatown institution that I've had some success with in the past. Like many along that strip, they tend to bulk out out mainstream standards with onions and overload on MSG, but if you choose right there are some goodies here. The roasted meats are good if not exceptional and their pork hotpot is a rich and worthy winter ribsticker, full of soft yielding aubergine and slippery pork slices flavoured with star anise punctuated with shards of garlic and chilli.
Roast meats at Hung's
View to the front, and the sui laap
The pork and aubergine hot pot at Gerrard Corner