By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
Chinese Fast Wok is located on 7th Ave between 23rd and 24th here in NYC. There are countless Chinese take out places in this city, but Chinese Fast Wok is something special.
If you do enough research, it isn’t hard to find lunch for under $10 here, but Chinese Fast Wok makes all other <$10 lunches look amateur. The lunch special menu is vast and offers classics like sesame chicken for $6.25. On top of the hefty portion of sesame chicken, the lunch special also comes with pork fried rice and either an egg roll or the choice of wonton, egg drop, or hot and sour soup. The portion is so large that I often save half of my lunch for the following day, which means it's really more like $6.25 for two days.
But Chinese Fast Wok is more than just a good price. For Chinese take-out, it's vastly superior. As far as classically fried sesame chicken goes, it's some of the best I've had and the wontons are consistently delicious. The food can't be compared to a place like Mission Chinese, but when I want some easy Chinese-American food this is the place I go.
Because this spot acts mostly as a take-out restaurant, there’s not much to be had in the drinks category aside from house-brewed iced tea and an assortment of sodas and bottled teas.
The lunchtime rush in Manhattan is like nothing I’ve seen elsewhere and I find that the wait staff at Chinese Fast Wok handle it better than most. Even when it’s crowded, the line moves quickly and the food comes out without much of a wait. The guys behind the counter are friendly, helpful, and even have a great sense of humor. During my last trip to Chinese Fast Wok I was disappointed to watch a woman with an awful attitude argue with one of the guys over how long she had been waiting (it wasn’t long at all) and he remained collected and did his best to keep the situation from amplifying. If they had a tip jar, I would have forked over the remainder of my cash just for his grace.
As far as the ambience goes, Chinese Fast Wok is absolutely no place to hang around. It has a fair number of tables, but I wouldn’t want to stay and eat especially when it’s crowded. This spot is simply functional and nothing more, but there’s nothing wrong with that.