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Hong Kong Wok

Update 6/3/13: Hong Kong Wok is closed.

In a word: Runs as much of the gamut as you can fit in the Hilldale Mall.

The specs: #0238
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Virtual Tourist, and Fringe Foods; Hong Kong Wok on Urbanspoon

JM ate the cashew chicken.
Nichole ate the Singapore chicken noodle soup.
We split an order of crab rangoon.
The bill was $16, or $8/person, plus tip.
JM gave Hong Kong Wok a C+; Nichole gave Hong Kong Wok an A- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Hong Kong Wok news and reviews

Hong Kong Wok

One of the first things we noticed about Hong Kong Wok was its large menu. Though the size was about typical for a Chinese chain, the photos were not the usual glossy snaps you see at a Happy Wok et al. Nor do you usually see congee on a Chinese takeout menu, but there it is, served almost 10 different ways on weekends.

But we were here for dinner, so we started with the traditional (to us, not to China) rangoon, JM got the cashew chicken, and Nichole opted for some soup. We had very different opinions by the end of our meals.

JM found the rangoon to be average, and not very hot upon arrival. Nichole thought they were among the better ones we've had - certainly the most dense with imitation-crabbiness.

Cashew chicken

Hong Kong Wok got off on the wrong foot with JM by charging for refills on the self-serve fountain drinks, which just rubs him the wrong way. Having to manage soda consumption is a chore, especially given the outrageous profit margins that exist on soft drinks in the first place. As for the cashew chicken, JM found the sauce not compelling, the rice substandard and the chicken scarce. The cashews were the best part of the dish, standing out with their own flavor.

Singapore chicken noodle soup

The Singapore chicken noodle soup Nichole picked was really a treasure. The broth had a delicate ginger overtone, and it plus the noodles were as comforting as ramen to a college student. Which is not to say the dish was like ramen in anything but its basic components. The chicken was the least exciting ingredient - it tasted bland, almost like it had been nuked or boiled. The bok choy, (Western) broccoli, and noodles could have stood up as a dish on their own.

The soup was very filling and took a long time to eat, and by the time she was done, Nichole's lips were coated in yummy chicken fat. And JM had wandered off to the toy store, then in search of a bubbler drinking fountain, and returned again, before she was done. You just can't rush good soup.

Many of Hong Kong Wok's customers that night were Asian-American, which seems to be a better endorsement than we could ever give. But you may want to have a bowl of noodles or ask the counter staff for a recommendation if you want to get the most out of your meal.

Comments

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I liked your crab rangoon description - "imitation crabbiness." It made me chuckle.

I've been to Hong Kong Wok a couple of times and I really like it. Last time I had the mushroom chicken, and it was delightfully hot and flavorful.

I moved back to Madison and am looking forward to enjoying its culinary treasures, with your help. Keep up the good work!

The Congee on the weekends is a real treat. You have to severly doctor it with soy sauce and the fresh cilantro they provide, but it's very tasty and cheap. Get there early because it runs out.

The spare rib noodle soup is a treat too. Some of their dishes tend to be greasy, but all in all it's pretty good Chinese food for Madison.

Back in the day, when the Hong Kong Wok used to be on the 600 block of Gorham in the "International Food Court" which is no more, they used to have wonderful dinner specials. Cheap, lots of food, delicious, un-Americanized. Big mound of rice, napa cabbage and different combinations of two different main-course-type things. An example: Ginger-Green Onion Chicken and Salt-and-Pepper pork chop. For $4.10. ($4.33 with tax).

The congee was great, too.

I generally don't get out there now that they've moved out to that wasteland on the west side, but I'll have to go try them again...

Get the HongKong Crispy Chicken next time.

I totally remember when Hong Kong Wok was back on University Ave!

I admit I do miss their dinner and lunch specials. I used to visit them often back when I was a college student at the University of Madison, but I find myself still going back weekly for the good old tasty classics, Hong Kong Crispy Chicken, MaPo Tofu, Pan Fried Pork Spareribs... awesome stuff.

and on another note JM, if you can't afford to pay 50 cents to refill a dollar something drink, then you should learn to drink plain water... for gosh sakes, it's a mom and pop restaurant!

It better not be closed. Last I knew, it had moved over toward Sundance. Hilldale's website still has it listed.

Huh? It moved and that made us think it was gone. But since it isn't, I've removed the offending verbiage and the review remains.

Of course, now we'll get folks telling us to remove the picture but whatever.

It's most certainly still there, and some of my own verbiage will be forthcoming in the next day or so on thedailypage.com.

Suffice it to say here, that the congee is insanely temperature-hot, but no less value-laden than previous commenters recollect. Super-cheap.

Agreed on the crabbiness of the rangoon. And in comparison to the congee, they were most definitely the coolest item on our tray.

I failed to note the fountain drink policy, and whether or not it stood as previously discussed.

Fountain drink refills are now free. Apparently most Chinese restaurants don't do free refills, and HKW didn't either when they first opened on University Ave back in 89'.

However, after they moved to their current location, they finally changed their fountain drink policy to accompany their growing customer base.

Too bad it's still Pepsi. :)

Had the Singapore-style beef ho fun the other day and was very pleased.

I had a chef friend (highly trained chef, actually) recommend this place after my complete meltdown after I heard China Palace had closed. He thought it was one of the best Chinese places in town.

I agree that this is one of the best Chinese Restaurants in Madison, if not in some ways, the best, but you have to know what to order. The Won Tons are the best in town The filling is tasty with a light, delicate, skin. The Won Ton soup by itself is a bit pricy at two bucks or so for a small bowl, but, if you like Won Ton soup, this may be the only decent one in town. Better still is the Won Ton Noodle soup, to which I usually like to add the spare ribs, which are well worth the extra charge. In general, the noodle dishes are really good here, especially the soups. Also, the dumplings, which, although they are filled with chicken instead of pork, are still very tasty and light, just like the Won Tons.

The Congee is really good, and I agree you have to add lots of soy and cilantro yourself, but that’s not a bad thing if you’re watching your sodium. In addition to what’s been mentioned above, I really like the Shrimp and Eggs over rice.

Yes, there are some disappointments here, but what’s good is really good.

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