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Being downtown, our options for what some people would call “good” Chinese food is limited. Since we couldn’t go uptown this weekday evening, my aunt suggested we go to New Ho King in Chinatown.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, I was surprised to see how clean the interior was. My cousin informed me it had been recently renovated, which explained the new-looking tables, exposed brick walls and clean space.

New Ho King

The restaurant has two separate menus – one in English and one in Chinese. They aren’t identical… you’ll find that the Chinese menu contains a lot of items which aren’t included on the English one.

They started us off with some complimentary soup of the day. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what kind of soup it was but it had a nice clear broth and wasn’t overly salty. I helped myself to a second bowl.

Complimentary soup of the day

The first dish that arrived was the Fried Snails – with black bean sauce ($10.95), which was my mom’s choice. The dish came with dozens of snails, with the shells still intact and was topped with green onions. Since the snails are tiny, they provide you with thin wooden skewers to get the meat out of the shells. It’s a pretty messy and labour-intensive process but well worth it!

Fried Snails

I loved the thin, chewy pieces of the snail which went nicely with the black bean sauce. Black bean sauce just goes so well with everything!

Fried Snails

The next dish that arrived was the Shredded Beef in Phoenix Nest ($11.95). The dish consisted of tender pieces of stir-fried beef and broccoli sitting in a fried taro nest. The fried taro was my favourite part! The crispiness of it went nicely with the melt-in-your-mouth slices of beef.

Shredded Beef in Phoenix Nest

Another meat dish that we ordered was the Lamb Stew ($12.95). This Chinese lamb stew contained mushrooms, sugar cane, chestnuts, dry bean curd sticks and tender pieces of lamb. The base of the stew is made using fermented bean curd, which on its own has a very strong, salty flavour. My mom said that the stew could have used more fermented bean curd but I don’t particularly care for the flavour (although I don’t mind it in small doses), so I didn’t mind. Although the pot was piled high, I thought the stew could have used a little bit more meat.

Lamb Stew

The third meat dish that we ordered was the Steamed Chicken, which came topped with green onions. The chicken was cut up well with nice, even pieces and even though I didn’t find the meat too dry, I found that it lacked flavour and wasn’t salty enough. However, the green onion and ginger sauce the chicken came with really helped. I don’t think I’d order this again. If you’re a fan of steamed chicken, I’d recommend the Haianese chicken from Phoenix.

Steamed Chicken

The only vegetable dish we ordered was the Dry Sauteed String Beans – szechuan style with meat ($9.95). I just love stir-fried green beans! The ones at New Ho King were stir-fried perfectly without being too oily and still had a nice crunch to them.

Dry Sauteed String Beans

The last dish we ordered was a fish dish for $12.95. I don’t recall the exact name of the dish but I was informed that cooking this particular fish was a 2 step process – first, they deep fry it and after the fish has been cooked through, they then steam it. Apparently, this is how they used to cook fish back in the day when they didn’t have fresh fish available.

I found the texture of the fish to be on the hard side and found it to be just a touch too salty. If there’s fresh fish available, I wouldn’t recommend getting fish served this way. Not a fan.

Deep-fried and Steamed Fish

After finishing up our meal, we were served a Chinese dessert – a sweet broth which contained orange sweet potato and white fungus. White fungus doesn’t sound very appetizing but it really doesn’t have very much flavour on its own… Why do we eat this stuff? I’ve been told that it’s good for me… like a lot of other funky things Chinese people eat.


Overall, the Chinese food here was solid. Sure, you can get much better uptown, but it’s a great option for those who don’t travel north of Bloor very often.

To end the meal…

At a glance:
• Located on Spadina, just south of College
• For more authentic items, you have to ask for the Chinese menu
• Recently renovated
• Solid Chinese food for Chinatown

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 2.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 2.5 stars

New Ho King on Urbanspoon

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