Welcome back! And for all you first-years and transfer students out there who may just be discovering this gem for the very first time: Welcome! My name is Olivia and this is CT Eats: a weekly column in which I basically eat whatever I want and then share opinions that no one really asked for.
You’ll love it, I promise.
These times have been — dare I say — unprecedented. I personally have found myself in a rough cycle of moving far less and binging junk food far more. And, honestly, sometimes it’s been pretty tough to cope with my newfound quaran-nine-teen. But, I keep reminding myself that treating myself is fun and well-deserved and I should not be stressing out about it too much. Thus, I decided to kick off this semester of CT Eats with my very favorite late-night quarantine “treat yo’ self” feast: Hong Kong House (HKH).
I’ve never actually eaten at HKH, but I have ordered delivery from there more times that I can count. Way back in the BC era (“Before Coronavirus”), my friends and I would have a game night every Thursday and always order HKH around 2 or 3 a.m. because it was one of the only places open that late.
Their menu is… extremely strange. They do, of course, have Chinese food and Asian fusion, but then there are also categories such as “Mexican Corner,” “Italian Corner,” “Greek Corner,” and specialty pizzas (which I’ll come back to later).
This time, we ordered the usual late-night feast that we’ve been obsessed with lately: dumplings, scallion pancakes, cold sesame noodles, and hot wings. For the dumplings, we ordered them steamed and with pork filling. The pork was very soft and moist, which was a nice texture. The dumpling wrapper was also very soft, which was slightly less pleasing because they fell apart a bit easily. But if you prefer a soft, thin dumpling dough, then these are right up your alley. And though the dumplings themselves did not have much taste, the flavorful dipping sauce pulled it all together with notes of soy sauce and hoisin, which made for a salty, acidic, and slightly nutty experience.
These scallion pancakes — or “scal pals,” as my friends and I like to call them — are always a hit. They check all the boxes of what a good scallion pancake should be: They’re thin, flaky, moist, chewy, and crispy around the edges with a light onion essence throughout. They were pretty oily, but scallion pancakes almost always are, so I can’t really deduct points for that.
The dipping sauce included with the scal pals was quite scrumptious. Picture soy sauce, but make it citrusy and spicy. This was a pleasant surprise because the scallion pancake sauce had never been spicy for me any time before. That’s been one of the fun bits about ordering so much HKH this year; it’s somehow a little different each time, which is technically a no-no, but the food is always yummy, nonetheless, and it keeps me on my toes.
The cold sesame noodles at HKH are some of my all-time favorites, and I crave them pretty much nonstop. The flavor experience is a mix of soy saucy, peanutty, and very spicy. At the bottom of the container is a sweet, cool, soy sauce. Then the noodles are stacked on top of that and topped off with a mix of thick, creamy peanut sauce, and sesame seeds — which seems to be where most of the heat comes from. The combination of flavors is addictive and the spice builds up tremendously as you keep eating. The first time I ordered these, it was probably the spiciest thing I’d ever eaten. So if you love heat, I absolutely recommend these hot noods.
Venturing away from the Asian options: I’m also always satisfied with HKH’s hot wings. The sauce could be a bit thicker to better coat the chicken, but it’s still extremely flavorful with intense heat and a smidgeon of sweet. Their wings are always nice and crispy. Although the chicken was a bit dry this time around, it was still more than good enough for a late night treat.
Now venturing even farther from the Asian options: I need to get back to the specialty pizzas, as promised. When my friends and I used to have those aforementioned game nights, we would often drunkenly order the “General Tso chicken pizza.” This pizza is truly divisive with about 70 percent of my friends hating it/indifferent and the other 30 percent (including myself) head over heels in love with it.
It’s literally just pizza crust covered in saucy General Tso chicken. It is heavenly. And it’s only gotten better since I started ordering it last winter. The chicken is saucy, spicy, and crispy, and the crust is thick enough to support all that sumptuousness. I cannot recommend it highly enough and, yes, this is a hill that I am willing to die on.
Other noteworthy yummy snacks I’ve tried from HKH in the past and would recommend include but are not limited to: the spring rolls, egg rolls, fried wontons, crab rangoons, pizza sub, eggplant parm sub, cajun fries, strawberry daiquiri, and orange chicken pizza.
Yes, the menu really is all over the place and, yes, I have tried an absurd amount of it. After all, this is my late-night comfort go-to. And now it can be yours, too! HKH used to be on GrubHub, but now it’s not, so I literally have an account on their website and I am not ashamed. They’re pretty cheap and open really late, so be sure to check them out for pretty much whatever late night craving you may have. I encourage you and your best scal pals to try out the General Tso chicken pizza and leave a comment letting me know what you think! We have to settle this once and for all.