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REVIEW: Hong Kong Diner remains unassuming and wonderful

By Kyle Young
Published: Last Updated on
Spicy crispy pork chop

Hong Kong Diner has been serving satisfying Chinese food to Reno for well over a decade. With a huge menu, they offer all the classics including fried appetizers, fried rice, rice plates, noodles, soups and combinations. They also offer lesser found dishes such as porridge, short ribs, hot pot, egg foo young and a modest dim sum menu.

Hong Kong Diner shines after midnight

I have been coming to Hong Kong Diner (HKD) since I was a teenager. I think their food holds up against any spot in town, and when you consider the speed at which they cook and that they’re open until 3:30 a.m. daily, they nearly demand their own category amongst late-night eats.

HKD keeps their food prices down around $8-9 almost across the board, and their portions are always generous. I would love to learn more about their recipe for success, but the only available employee was buried with orders when my wife and I popped in at 12:30 a.m. on a Sunday.

The employee seemed to be at least six large tickets deep when we entered the cashier line, and he killed it on every level. He served the entire mostly-occupied dining room, plated food, ran food out, took down phone orders and rang diners up without missing a beat. Did I mention that he was also friendly, funny and articulate?

Hong Kong Diner at 12:30 a.m.
Hong Kong Diner at 12:30 a.m. Image: Kaitlin Young.

I asked him if this was an especially busy night. He responded, “Not necessarily.” I followed with, “See any zombies this evening?” It was the night of the Zombie Crawl. He countered, “Not necessarily. They could be hiding.”

I really appreciated that he addressed me by my name, chatted with us and offered us a variety of sauces, chopsticks and cutlery as we paid for our take-out order.

HKD delivers the goods

Our first dish was the wor wonton soup for $8.95. Some friends recently asked me if I knew the origin of the “wor” and what it signified. After some internet sleuthing, people seem to be split on the meaning. The “wor” does not refer to the type of wonton, fried or steamed. As far as I can tell, it translates to “everything” or “big pot.” A few accounts say the dish originated with Chinese Canadian cooks. In practice, the “wor” version of the dish is similar to a kitchen sink version of standard wonton soup. Some say that cooks will add whichever ingredients are plentiful and nearby.

Wor wonton soup. Image: Kaitlin Young

My soup included generous portions of steamed wontons, zucchini, cabbage, snow peas, water chestnuts, green onion, carrots, BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, broccoli, good-sized shrimp and cubes of chicken. The broth was a little weak in flavor and in volume, but I didn’t mind much. The solid ingredients were a touch overdone, but I enjoyed the dish on the whole.

Pot stickers
Pot stickers at Hong Kong Diner. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Next were the pot stickers for $5.95. The dough seemed house-made and the preparation was on point with one side steamed and one side fried. They had a great ratio of chew to tenderness. HKD serves them with what tasted like a sauce that includes soy sauce, ginger and maybe plum vinegar.

My wife ordered the sesame beef special with pork chow mein for $7.95. The noodles had great texture, color and flavor without any additions. I like my chow mein a bit salty, and these did not disappoint. The breaded strips of beef were a bit tough, but the flavor was great. The beef came topped with a generous amount of sesame seeds.

Sesame beef special with pork chow mein
Sesame beef special with pork chow mein. Image: Kaitlin Young.

For my entrée, I ordered the spicy crispy pork chop with extra jalapeños for $8.95. The pork pieces were battered well and fried until crisp. They came with white rice, garlic, shredded lettuce, spring onion, yellow onion, a good amount of jalapeños and chili oil on the side. The onions and jalapeño were sharp against the savory and salty pork. The chili oil was tasty and seemed to be made in-house. Despite the pork being a little dry, this dish really hit the spot.

Late-night eats galore

I count myself lucky that I live in a place with so many attractive dining options available well after midnight.

Our late-night food scene certainly doesn’t represent all cuisines, but we have a good few including Mexican, diner, Chinese/Vietnamese, burgers/bar food and pizza.

I’d guess that I’m not alone when it comes to running through my what’s open right now? list. Yelp has its merits, but sometimes I find it tedious to scroll endlessly to find what I want. As such, here is a quick list of after-midnight eateries that pop up on my radar. The list is not exhaustive, and it’s not curated or ranked. I tried to focus on restaurants that could be quickly accessed without having to trek through a casino. If I missed your favorite spot, please let me know.

Hong Kong Diner details

Visit Hong Kong Diner at 180 W. Peckham Ln. #1170 near Reno Town Mall. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. Call in your take-out order to 775-828-3636.