Saturday, January 4, 2014

Big Groups on a Budget

Ever since I joined ALESN, Saturday nights after class has become bonding time with fellow students and teachers. We typically go in a big group 10+ people, so finding a place in Chinatown has became sort of an art. Our mantra is find a place that is cheap and can fit all of us, the rest is whatever. After a semester, here are the places that I find to be good for group and your pockets:

X.O Taste

This is our most frequent stop because of their wide variety of menu (200+ items and counting) and spacious seating. The service is very quick and prompt too. I usually go here with a $5 budget and come home quite satisfied. My go-to item is this delicious Taiwanese-style pork steak with rice (and yes, only $5 for this humble plate of meat and starch (+hard boiled egg and a leave of veggie):

Congee Village

Don't expect a good service here. Everyone always ordered congee in our group, but the servers always fail to remember which congee is what or whose. The last time I was there, they ran out of you tiao too! Anyhow, the congee is alright. It comes in a small sauce-pan sort of thing. For the price ($5 average), the serving size is quite generous. My favorite item from here is Sampan Porridge, because I haven't found it elsewhere:

Feng Cheng Yuan

This place is actually right next door from Congee Village. Below-mediocre Chinese restaurant that has typical take-out items, just with plenty of seating and servers. I had this bowl that they call "Szechuan-style Noodle Soup", and oh please, not again. So much sprouts as opposed to the noodle, very little meat, and no taste at all:

Dessert Bonus: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Dessert time! Everyone who's taking the subway from Canal Street with me love to stop here for dessert. Their space is rather tiny, but don't underestimate their ice cream and the power of long line of customers waiting to be served. I totally love their exotic flavors that are rather hard to find elsewhere (lychee, pandan, ginger, green tea, red bean, and the like). Here's me posing with their dragon mascot and my pandan ice cream:


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