Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hu Tong San La Ju, Roppongi

Duck! To my knowledge, this is the only place to go if you really want a duck lunch in Roppongi (Café Eight is known for it, but only at dinner, and their lunches are insipid – I think of it as bad Chinese diner.) The too-much-food and too-tasty Y2000 duck lunch is well-met by lots of other stir-fried and noodled options, many of which are in the Y1000 range, and those nice gyoza that come to the table too hot to eat in their own cute little pan.

As part of the Kiwa Group (along with Wan Zhu Ji, which has branches in Monzennakacho, Kiba, and Hatchobori among their 43, so I’m all over it), Hu Tong goes in for what I think of as the ‘country Chinese’ décor. I don’t really know what that means (other than what I’ve seen in kung fu movies!), but the walls are white and rough, the furniture is dark wood and rough, the service is Chinese and rough…there’s a theme.

The food is definitely tasty and authentic, based on my deep exploration of Chinese culture and cuisine while growing up in southern New Jersey. The duck is pretty good (a lot of meat on each piece, but not enough crispness to the skin), the fried things are tasty in a very-oily-but-fresh way, and the noodles are often very tasty (black sesame noodles are my very favorite, especially the ones with no soup, or even better the cold ones that are special to Summer. Just to be explicit, we mean 黒ゴマ坦々麺 (汁なし), or 冷やし坦々麺 or something like that.). Yesterday I had the chicken and chili stir fry, which is an awful lot of soft and tasty chicken with lots of bamboo and pepper mixed in. Not that spicy, come to think of it. I’m also a fan of the aforementioned gyoza, but trying not to overeat quite so often these days…

I think this is the go for Chinese lunch. Chin Kinichi has its points, Eight is OK once in a great while for a strange mood, I haven’t been to the place across and just West of Roppongi Hills by the pedestrian underpass, and I’m not sure about the place with the orange front that’s on the South side of Roppongi Dori on the way to Nishi Azabu. Just like the New Jersey thing, I’m not such an expert on Chinese food, even Roppongi lunches!

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