Red Egg—Breaking out of its shell

By Baxley Aldworth

For the best, most authentic Chinese food in New York, Manhattan’s Chinatown is undoubtedly the place to be. But along with the reputation for great food, Chinatown restaurants also have a reputation for rushed ser­vice and a lack of ambiance. Red Egg, located at 202 Centre Street, has proven that restaurants in Chinatown can provide quality service along with delicious cuisine. “It is important for Chinatown to keep its tra­dition, but it also has to evolve. Red Egg is here to provide the community a venue where the focus is not only on food but also on providing the customer a pleasant dining experience,” says Darren Wan, owner of Red Egg.

And by all measures, he has succeeded. Since opening in June 2008, Red Egg has laid claim to numerous accolades. It is a Zagat-rated restaurant, receiving high marks for both food and service, and has received the Bib Gour­mand rating from the MICHELIN Guide 2010 for New York City, meaning that Red Egg offers not only excellent food, but also excellent value.

Red Egg’s cuisine has often been described as Chinese-Peruvian “Asian fusion,” but this is a misconception. Red Egg serves traditional Chinese food, but offers a splash of Peruvian fare to highlight his diverse upbringing. But what an unusual combo, China and Peru! How did this happen? Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, immigrants from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, among other places, left their homes, either to look for a new opportunity or to escape a regime change in the government, and settled down in Peru. Unlike in the United States, where Chinese people formed “Chinatowns,” Chinese immigrants in Peru integrated with society. Today, it’s estimated that 1.4 million Chinese live in Peru (5% of the population).

Wan’s mother was raised in Peru, and she provides the recipes for the Peruvian dishes. Peruvian menu items include Ají de Gallina, a kind of chicken stew mixed with a Peruvian hot pepper, and Lomo Saltado, which is a spicy beef dish created by using Chinese stir fry techniques. As for its Chinese fare, Red Egg is unique in that it serves dim sum fresh throughout the day. Traditional dishes such as the Steamed Pork Dumplings and the Red Egg Shrimp Dumplings are not to be missed. The Pan Fried Mei Fun with Minced Beef is a favorite among regulars. It looks like a Chinese pizza and can work as a meal or appetizer. A few Western dishes can be had as well, such as the tremendous Red Egg Filet Mignon. Cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and showered with a light, succulent, house sauce, the Red Egg Filet Mignon is giving people serious reason to come to Chinatown for a steak. The menu is constantly updated, and Wan even works with a cardiologist and nutritionist to provide health-conscious dishes to customers.

Regardless of what type of food is on the plate, Red Egg has a complimentary drink for it. More than thirty different bottles populate the wine list. From the full bar, patrons can order any drink, including the Pisco Sour, Peru’s national drink or the restaurant’s very own Red Egg.

Special events, no matter how large, can be celebrated in Red Egg, with catering services offered. Or simply drop in during your day for some amazing Chinese cuisine.