Sherman's Food Adventures: Hon's (New West)

Hon's (New West)

Being that this was the last session of ice hockey for the summer at Brit, some of us were gonna head out for eats afterwards. You know me, I am not passing up an opportunity to eat! At around exactly the same time, Viv was at Adonia doing tea with her sister-in-law. 2 blog entries at the same time! For some reason or another, people were having difficulty deciding where to eat. Finally, they all looked at me and figured I should have an idea or two. Taking into account that we had about 10 people including kids, I suggested Hon's. We chose the New West location because it was closest to where most of us lived. For me, Hon's is a part of my childhood. Back in the day, Hon's was one of the few places where you could get a decent bowl of wonton noodles, congee, whole fried yee mein clusters and of course, potstickers. I remember going to their first, and only location at the time, on Main Street in Chinatown. In fact, we once spotted Tiger Williams dining there, I got his autograph! From those humble beginnings, Hon's has grown to 6 locations including a fusion restaurant.

Almost everyone knows about Hon's, after all, it's synonymous with good portions at reasonable prices. But this begs the question, is Hon's necessarily the best considering it's popularity? Universally, I'm sure most people would say it is not the best; but you know what you are getting. It is a safe bet for most people, including those who are not necessarily that adventurous. Let's take the most basic item - the wonton. Although the wontons are perfectly fine at Hon's, it is far from the best in town. I would say that the wontons at Congee Noodle King, Congee Noodle House, Ho Yuen Kee, New Maple and McNoodle are superior in terms of the filling, size and taste. However, I must note that the aforementioned places serve all shrimp wontons. The one at Hon's is the mostly pork with shrimp. Then there is the matter of personal taste. I have some friends who don't like all shrimp wontons and actually prefer the pork with shrimp. Today, everyone had different variations of dishes that included wontons. There was a small Wonton Soup, Wonton & BBQ Pork Rice Flat Noodle, BBQ Duck and Wonton Noodles, and just plain Wonton Noodles.

Other than the wontons, there are 2 other components that can make or break wonton noodles - the soup and noodles. The soup at Hon's is actually pretty good, good depth of flavour and not too salty. The noodles have the right elasticity and are visually appealing. All-in-all, a solid bowl of wonton noodles, assuming you like the pork and shrimp type of wontons. The BBQ duck and pork were also very respectable, being quite meaty and juicy. Alright, a visit to Hon's is not complete without ordering Potstickers. These pan fried dumplings come in pork, chicken, beef or vegetarian fillings. Today, they only had pork. I'm sure there are better potstickers to be found; but I do like the ones from Hon's. In fact, I buy them frozen in a bag and make them at home. They have a relatively thin outer skin and just enough filling inside. When prepared correctly, you can eat quite a few of these. I actually prefer making them at home, because they seem to use way too much oil at the restaurant.

To be a little bit different, I ordered the BBQ Pork Lo Mein and Yeung Chow Fried Rice to share. Lo mein is essentially dry noodle usually mixed with some oyster sauce and sesame oil. In this case, they took dry to a whole new level. The noodles were so dry and devoid of any moisture that it was stuck in a clump. It had the texture of rubber bands. Even after adding copious amounts of the side soup, it still didn't change the texture. Add to the fact that it had no flavour whatsoever didn't help. At least the BBQ pork was tender and not fatty. The Yeung Chow Fried Rice or BBQ Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice was very good. Packed with crunchy shrimp, BBQ pork, egg and peas, the rice was well seasoned; yet not salty. Moreover, it wasn't oily and the rice itself was perfectly firm.

Pretty much another predictable meal at Hon's. Nothing more, nothing less. In my youth, Hon's was THE place to go for this type of food; but with the influx of newer and better wonton noodle restaurants, it's hard to get overly enthusiastic about dining at Hon's. There is absolutely no major problem with eating here; in fact, it's not a bad choice. However, there are better places to go for the same price. Yet, Hon's will be one of those places permanently embedded in my childhood memories.

The Good:
- It's a safe and reliable place to eat
- Good portions
- Cheap prices

The Bad:
- Average wontons (personal preference)
- Some of their dishes are quite greasy
- Most of their food is neither bad nor good

Hon's Wun Tun House (New West) on Urbanspoon


holly said...

Hon's was also part of my childhood growing up in Chinatown. However, it's more of a fond memory rather than a place I would pick to eat. The current shop in chinatown is very dirty, cramped and run down. It is still popular because compared to what's available, at least it is edible (sometimes).

I think the New West location is nicer because it's located in suburbia. I feel they've lost their touch with the gyoza and no longer deserve the reputation as serving the best gyoza in town.

Overall, I prefer the wontons at Ho Yuen Kee or Mak's because I love shrimp.

Sherman Chan said...

Agreed. I think time has past Hon's by. They haven't improved to meet the new competition out there. Ho Yuen Kee and Mak's are far superior. But Hon's still has their customers. I don't fall into that category though.

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