When we lived in Tribeca, I could walk to Chinatown for breakfast. In general I am a morning person who avoids crowds and noise where possible1, so I especially enjoyed being in the usually crowded and noisy neighborhood when it was on the quieter side with mostly just the residents of the neighborhood out and about, getting ready to open shops and stands and whatnot. You can get a great breakfast—you can get great food at any meal or snacktime—which is too often classified as “cheap eats” just because the prices are generally very reasonable (which feels pretty reductive, and dismissive of the skill required to consistently make a perfect soup dumpling or pumpkin bun or hand-pulled noodles or what have you). The other day we made the long and arduous journey from Brooklyn2 to have breakfast at Big Wong which is one of my favorite spots because it feels like a diner and I love diners. We ordered the crispy roast pork, which felt decadent, especially for breakfast, along with a salted pork and preserved egg congee, rice rolls with shrimp, and a plate of greens. (I’m getting hungry thinking about it again.) I’m pretty sure the meal fueled the rest of my day.

Visually busy shot of Mott Street in Manhattan Chinatown, flanked by rows of buildings with multiple colorful paper lanterns strung between them

Mott Street, looking downtown

Bright yellow banner with '大旺' and 'Big Wong' on it, longer than it is wide, hanging on the side of a red brick building


Congee, rice rolls, roast pork, sauteed green vegetables, short glass of tea on a table

A table of comfort foods

Backlit restaurant worker looks out the window, which has 'egg roll spring roll' lettered on it

I don’t think I’ve ever had an egg roll or a spring roll from Big Wong

Handwritten lettering on a blackboard: 'Two lobsters w. ginger and scallion $55'

Iconic sign

  1. I know what you’re thinking: why do I live in New York City? I’m still trying to figure that out hehe ↩︎

  2. I’m being dramatic. It took 15 mins on the train ↩︎