Amy's aunt works once a week at a small Chinese restaurant in Colchester, Connecticut called Hung Won. For years now, Aunt C has asked us to go eat there, not because she works there, but because she has proclaimed that it is "the best Chinese around." She raves. She boasts. She repeats. With her birthday around the corner, we decided, at long last, to go. Which is how we found ourselves, last Friday night, in the back seat of Cousin D's car, heading out to Colchester. About 30 minutes from our house, in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, there it stood: Hung Won Asian Grille on New London Road.
|Steamed Veggie Dumplings|
|Scorpion Bowl for Two|
We were greeted with wide smiles by our server Jason and the bartender Jen. After ordering drinks (we think Aunt C's first Scorpion Bowl is guaranteed not to be her last!), we settled in to peruse the vast menu of authentic Chinese classics, signature dishes and specials. Having some experience as a part-time worker there, Aunt C made many suggestions and our rumbling stomachs led us toward some usual Asian favorites (duck for Amy, of course).
|Cashew Shrimp Combo|
|Crispy Shrimp with Honey-Glazed Walnuts|
You know what? Each bite was better than the last, and we ooh'd and aah'd our way through this incredible Chinese feast. In fact, it turns out, this really is the best Chinese food that we can ever remember having. We especially loved the use of lotus flour, a gluten-free flour made from the roots of lotus water lilies; it offered a nuanced flavor and light, crispy coating to the fried duck and shrimp. Vegetables were crisp and done to a perfect tenderness. The fried rice had a wonderful smoky flavor that was nicely enhanced by the toasted macadamia nuts and the sweet pineapple chunks in it. And oh, the sauces! Such amazing flavors! Every dish tasted fresh and was obviously made with high quality ingredients, vast knowledge of Asian flavors, and, most of all, great care and love.
|Clams in Black Bean Sauce|
Owner and chef Po was a gracious, warm and charming hostess. She made us feel like family, and even brought over a couple of special things for us to taste. We chatted with her far longer that we should have, given that she had a party of 70 coming in for a late-night dinner, but she was so nice to talk to! We're very much looking forward to returning, especially in the summer, when Po's mother coaxes fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden behind the restaurant and uses them in daily specials. But we're sure to be back much sooner than that, and quite often too, because we're already craving another taste of this wonderful Chinese cookery.
|Panang Curry Chicken|
|Macadamia Fried Rice|
So, yes, Aunt C, you were right. We'll say it again: You. Were. Right. Hung Won truly is the best Chinese around. Thank you for introducing us. We'll never be satisfied with our usual delivery place again. The Chan family has spoiled us for life. And readers, trust us (whether Aunt C works there or not), this excellent restaurant is soooooo worth the drive. You'll be thanking us soon enough. See you in Colchester!
Sounds wonderful, and definitely worth the drive!
Too bad I'm so far! All the dishes look so good. I love the macadamia fried rice!
I read this review and wished I cold 'beam myself up' ... one of my all-time favorites is Asian cuisine, and good Asian is such a treasure to find! So ... perhaps this summer, I will venture south to the coast to see Mystic Seaport and make a stop in Colchester for 'the best Asian' around! Excellent review, Amy and Chris!
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