Treasure-seekers head underground to find Simon Sei’s gem, a bright nook at the back corner of a basement supermarket, where for nearly two decades the Kowloon-born master chef has been cooking some of the freshest, most affordable good food in Chinatown. Expect classic Cantonese wokery and lots of neighborhood regulars, who also come for salt-and-pepper chicken wings that rank among the city’s best. It's cash only.
Salt-and-pepper chicken wings; wonton noodle soup (with roast duck or pork); seafood tofu soup; ginger and scallion noodles; Singapore noodles; beef ho-fun (“dry” or “wet”); satay beef ho-fun; fish fillet (usually flounder) with Chinese okra; fish with Asian eggplant in garlic sauce; spare rib with preserved vegetable; chicken and Chinese mushrooms; young chow fried rice. $4.50-$10. Chef charges “just a few dollars” to cook seafood (lobsters, etc.) bought at the neighboring market.
A nice crisp pilsner or lager should complement the delicate flavors. Or, in honor of this subterranean find, try a bottle of Dogfish Head’s Château Jiahu, the honey and hawthorn beer inspired by an ancient Chinese archaeology site.
Only the occasional 78-decibel clang of shopping carts and shoppers disturbs the otherwise mellow mood. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)