There are a number of eateries called Hong Kong City across this city (and country for that matter), but this particular Hong Kong City’s website makes it look like a single-location operation with only the Buford Highway address listed. Tucked into a corner of the Crossroads Village shopping center, right next to Mariscos La Riviera Nayarit, Hong Kong City is fairly new and has a fancier-than-expected and entirely new-looking interior. It’s nice enough to stay and eat in, which surprised Adam and I when we dropped in on a Friday night recently.
The menu is 100% stereotypical low-end americanized chinese food. We had planned to take out the food and we stuck to this plan despite the very friendly ladies behind the counter and the pleasant atmosphere. We took home some of the classics to see how they hold up to some of the other places we’ve had: hot and sour soup, egg rolls, szechuan beef, and hunan chicken.
The receipt made me chuckle a little because I feel like the inclusion of chinese characters (whether intentionally or unintentionally) serve to give this spot a little more cultural cachet than it would have otherwise. This is a little funny in light of the highly americanized menu.
Each of our dinner entree specials came with our choice of chicken- or pork-fried rice, and a shrimp or pork egg roll. Since we were getting two entrees, we were able to order such as to try all four items.
Our egg rolls were indistinguishable on the outside and inside alike. We didn’t see or taste either shrimp or pork – they seemed exactly like every other vegetable roll we’ve ever had. Okay, I’m not going to flip my lid over a couple of egg rolls, but it was just a “Hmmm” kind of moment. If the menu had just said vegetable egg rolls and offered no choices, then there would have been no disappointment.
Moving on to the hot and sour soup. Despite my unappetizing photography, it tasted just fine. It didn’t blow my socks off with its depth of flavor or anything, but it was still the highlight of this meal for me.
Given a second or two you can make out that one dish has light meat and one has dark and therefore surmise which is which. It’s hard to tell otherwise, either visually or taste-wise. I mean, I can tell they’re different, but marginally. While we did get one chicken fried rice and one pork fried rice that were obviously distinct, the entrees were both your typical soy sauce and cornstarch, sticky-sweet affairs.
I didn’t notice any pepper – sichuan or otherwise – in the szechuan beef. The hunan chicken had about a dozen tiny black beans floating around in it (I know some hunan chicken comes with a black bean sauce, but this was just befuddling). I think it’s officially official: Buford Highway has forever ruined me on this kind of stuff. Even when I have a hankering for so-called slutty chinese food, I am swinging by Lee’s Golden Buddha on Clairmont for something more than a few shades less sticky and more flavorful.
The people here were really nice, and I hope they do a tidy business with people who appreciate what they have to offer. I feel more than a tiny bit guilty at how snobbishly I disliked this meal… but it’s just not for me. 2.5 stars.