Positively 10th Street: Ting Wong Reviewed

Ting Wong | Philadelphia magazine

Ting Wong | Philadelphia magazine

I go to Ting Wong for lunch—hiding out at a sticky table along the wall, hot tea and perfect shrimp congee in front of me. I’ve got a book (something with spaceships and ray guns) in one hand, spoon in the other, and I’m smiling because I’m supposed to be eating at some hotel restaurant a few blocks away, but I got there and hated it (hated the vibe and the look of it and the feel it gave me walking through the door), so I about-faced and retreated here, which, yes, was probably the wrong thing to do (considering my job), but it feels good, like skipping school, so I’m happy.

I go to Ting Wong for an early dinner and everything on the block smells like hot, wet garbage, but my dinner is excellent. On another day, I drop by for a quick plate of roast pork over white rice—the meat pink, honey-sweet but also complex with ginger and garlic and five-spice—just because I’m cutting through Chinatown on my way to somewhere else. The pork needs nothing. It is delicious as it is, fanned over rice, shiny under the harsh lights that seem designed to allow no shadows. But if you’re smart, you’ll ask for a little bowl of chopped ginger and scallion—bright green like pickle relish but so much better.

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Chinatown’s Eastern Tower Gets Groundbreaking Pushed to 2016 (Renderings)

Some things are worth the wait and Chinatown‘s long-discussed Eastern Tower is undoubtedly one of them. However, should things progress without a hitch, the wait for the long-planned 20-story building at 10th and Vine (map) could come to an end by next year.

Although we reported last year that the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, the project’s developer, was looking to break ground this fall, Flying Kite Media now says that’s been pushed back for financial reasons, though not of the strapped kind:

“We had initially thought that we wanted to break ground in the beginning of [2015], but we actually spent the bulk of this year strengthening our position financially,” explains [Sarah] Yeung. The last several months have brought significant contributions from PECO and Comcast, as major public and private funders took notice of the project’s traction.

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17 Things to Do in Philly This Week



T-swirl Crepe Hits Chinatown

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Japanese crepes (like pretty much everything Japanese, and particularly most convenience foods that are Japanese) are a little bit weird. I mean sure, the idea of a crepe sounds excellent. And the idea of a fast-casual restaurant serving up hot, fresh crepes sounds even more awesome. But then you get to T-swirl (which opened just a few days ago in Chinatown and has already seen crowds big enough to scare away those not arriving precisely at 11am when it opens), and you look at the menu, and your very first thought is why are they putting boiled asparagus in my Thai chicken crepe? followed shortly by and why are there carrots in EVERYTHING?

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Gastronaut: The Case for Crawling

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Illustration by Kagan McLeod

When we were young cooks, none of us could ever stand still.

Work — 12 or 14 or 16 hours. White jackets and checked pants; prep and then more prep and then the first hit, the dinner rush, the long, slow glide toward wipe-down. Crews rolled out the back doors of restaurants, converged on the nearest bars for first drinks, then moved on — looking for salty things and fried things and sushi and pho and flat, floppy slices and weed. We were perpetually unsatisfied, a whole knot of us growing antsy and weird if we spent more than 45 minutes in any one place, because no matter where we were, there was always the chance of something better waiting right next door.

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Philly’s First Shabu Shabu Restaurant Closes

simply-shabu-940Philadelphia’s first shabu shabu restaurant, Simply Shabu has closed after a year-and-a-half. The BYOB, owned by the Tuan family, was located at 1023 Cherry Street. Though Simply Shabu was first, Chinatown has seen Hippot Shabu Shabu and Nine Ting open since. The restaurant earned a two-bell review from Craig LaBan last spring, but more recently was temporarily closed for a family vacation, a closure that was extended. Simply Shabu only survived two more weeks after its reopening.

Read the note from the Tuan family »

Rai Rai Ramen Is Now Open in Chinatown

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Rai Rai Ramen is now open on at 915 Race Street in Chinatown. The “House of Noodle” offers seven varieties of Japanese ramen plus another 21 specialty ramen that run from seafood to pork intestines. The location is open Sunday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The menu also lists the North Brunswick location that was closed do to fire and a location in Kailua, Hawaii.

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Well Liked Ramen Spot Coming to Chinatown

rai-rai-ramen-940Rai Rai Ramen was located in North Brunswick, New Jersey until it was damaged in a December fire. The ramen restaurant is now relocating to the 900 block of Race Street in Chinatown. In their North Brunswick location, Rai Rai had a four-star Yelp rating and 261 reviews.

Most reviews were impressed by the number of ramen varieties, 25 by our count and in particular, by the spicy seafood ramen.

Rai Rai Ramen [Foobooz]

Chinatown Restaurant Sickens Lawyers

joy-tsin-lauPhilly.com’s Sam Wood has the story on a severe case of food poisoning that struck nearly 100 lawyers and Temple University law students in Chinatown last month. An eight-course dinner at Joy Tsin Lau was held as a fundraiser for the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and the outcome was severe.

Several attendees had to seek medical attention and David S. Haase, a Center City lawyer, told Wood that “a combination of non-stop puking and explosive diarrhea kept him bedridden for four days.”

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