Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food, a Chinatown favorite for roast pork, reopened this week, after a months-long closure. The restaurant, located at 79 Chrystie Street, at Hester Street, had been out of commission since May, due to what it claimed were “Con Edison issues,” relating to a gas leak in the storefront, John Siu, a spokesperson for the restaurant tells Eater.
Since May, the restaurant updated its Instagram bio every couple of weeks with the date, confirming it was still closed. Eater has reached out to Con Edison and the Department of Buildings for more information.
The cash-only takeout spot has legions of fans who consistently line up in front of the red awning for its large portions of char siu and duck served simply over rice with a side of cabbage. Fans were so passionate about the establishment’s status that several months ago a Reddit thread started speculating over the reason for the institution’s temporary closure; one commenter wondered if new management was taking over. Siu confirms that the management has remained the same.
In 2020, Eater critic Robert Sietsema checked in on the restaurant after it had returned during COVID-19, reporting on the particular delight Wah Fung’s affordable carryout offerings provided at the time.
A year later, the New York Times named its roast pork over rice one of New York City’s “essential dishes”; Galindo Maria, owner of Nene’s Deli Taqueria and a customer, told the Times for its list: “When I was a minimum-wage cook at Jean-Georges, all the cooks used to go to Wah Fung after the lunch shift.” The Chinatown spot even has its own merch collection, in collaboration with the brand Neighborhood Spot. “The shirts were a big source of income for the restaurant while it was closed,” says Siu.
In a video posted to its Instagram announcing the reopening today, the business looked the same as ever. Locals, including nearby Cantonese restaurant Uncle Lou, have flooded the comments section, congratulating Wah Fung No. 1 on its return.