Israeli offers Chinese fare at Wok Town

Wok Town isn’t like most Chinese takeout places. This stylish downtown spot serves Cantonese-inspired, light and clean fare (no excess oil or MSG-induced headaches).

The menu is organized into sections like “start to wok” (appetizers), “positive wok” (healthy choices), “boxes and bowls” (fried rice and noodles) and “the main wok” (stir-fries). Spicy dishes are on the mild side, but dine-in customers can add chile sauce or hot mustard from jars on the communal tables.

Owner Shai Ben-Ami was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Jerusalem and South Florida, where his father ran delis. After a stint in the Israeli Army he traveled around Asia, where he discovered street food. He learned to cook in a commercial kitchen in New York, then moved to Miami Beach, where he met his Colombian-born wife, Nazly Villamizar, a fashion designer.

Over the past decade Ben-Ami has helped launch a number of successful restaurants, including Miss Yip. Wanting a place of his own, he opened Wok Town a little over a year ago.

Starters include finger-licking edamame in garlic soy sauce or crunchy lettuce wraps. House-made wontons and dumplings swim with thin rice noodles in huge bowls of soup. Singapore curry noodles and lo mein come with a choice of meat, shrimp or tofu.

The health-conscious can try Asian chicken salad or the steamed vegetable bowl. Or choose a protein and style of stir-fry such as honey-garlic, black bean, orange peel or sweet and sour, and the Chinese cooks will do the rest.

Enjoy a complimentary cup of jasmine tea and end with mango sorbet.

Linda Bladholm’s latest book is “Latin and Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified.” She blogs at

Main Dish

Stir-Fried Squash with Ginger and Oyster Sauce

This easy dish can be served with rice or a noodle dish as a savory side.

1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 4 medium ones)

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then across into 2-inch pieces. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is slightly smoking, add the ginger, garlic and zucchini. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the oyster sauce and stock. Simmer, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Ken Hom’s Asian Ingredients” (Ten Speed, 1996).

Per serving: 110 calories (60 percent from fat), 7.7 g fat (1.4 g saturated, 3.3 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 3.1 g protein, 8.7 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fiber, 385 mg sodium.

If you go

What: Wok Town

Address: 119 SE First Ave., Miami

Contact: 305-371-9993

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Prices: Starters $2.75-$8.95, bowls $7.95-$11.95, stir-fries $8.95-$12.95, sweets $3.50

FYI: Delivery available. Lunch specials are $9.95. Multicourse, 5-7 p.m. dinner special is $29.95 for two or three people, $49.95 for four or five.


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