3680 W. Waters Ave.
Tampa, FL 33614
When I was a young girl going to the Chinese restaurant was an event. We would get dressed up and pile in the Chinatown bound car with visions of pork rolls dancing in our heads. The waiters spoke broken English badly and tables were covered with white tablecloths. The owners’ family crowded around a table close to the kitchen and helped their kids with schoolwork over supper. Porcelain teapots filled with a delicious brew was sipped slowly from small cups with no handles while we waited for our order. They didn’t serve soda but made sure to keep our water glasses full. Every meal ended with either a Fortune or Almond cookie. We left content and joking with each other about how full we were but how hungry we would be in about an hour.
Today about the only time you sit in a Chinese restaurant is if its buffet or a P.F. Changs, which I don’t count, but that’s another story. Since there is no Chinatown here in Tampa, most places are takeout, and the food is horrible. Lots of the buffets are pretty gnarly as well after customers finish picking through, the who knows how long its been sitting there, food. Not so with Wong Fu, the food here reminds me of the type of thing I ate as a girl.
The place itself is tucked away in the corner of a small strip mall in Carrollwod and could easily be overlooked. The decor, well there is no decor, just a couple sad looking chairs and a table that I’m sure has never been eaten on. The most attractive thing in the place is an alter in the corner laden with incense sticks and fresh fruits surrounding a Buddha. I wondered if I should say a little prayer myself and then I checked out the menu. It had all the usual things we have come to expect, in fact maybe a little less. I just ordered a small Roast Pork fried rice, hoped for the best and took my little container home. I was not feeling particularly hopeful but my enthusiasm began to soar when I opened the red and white designed cardboard container.
The rice was brown, not beige or blond or yellow and full of green peas. It was brown and loaded with lots of finely diced pieces of pork and bits of fried egg. I haven’t tasted anything that good since I was a child. Wong Fu had my full attention now and I knew I would be going back. Like I said, the menu is not expansive but everything they cook they do well. The Lo Mein is loaded with whatever protein you pick and lots of veggies. Their Won Tons are light and flavorful with a great dipping sauce. The shrimp and scallop dishes taste fresh and are not overcooked.
All in all this place is a godsend. The next time you have a craving for real Chinese takeout be sure to give this place a try. I bet you will find yourself coming back for more.
I’m getting tired of eating out and started to crave a home cooked meal. I feel a new recipe coming on before the week is out. Stay tuned.