Sunday, July 17, 2011


I cannot understand how I didn't discover the place sooner. It's clean, the staff are capable, courteous, and friendly. And the food is excellent.
It's a narrow place, but it feels larger because of the high ceiling.
There are six tables that seat four along the wall facing the counter.


First time I went there I had something simple - fresh cilantro steamed rice sheet (香茜腸粉 heung sai cheung fan) and a chicken bun (雞飽 gai bao).
Plus coffee.
Unlike many places in Chinatown, the coffee was actually drinkable at that time of day. Chinatown coffee always comes out of a large cafeteria machine that is filled and turned on around seven in the morning, and by lunch time what's left is usually dark, bitter, pungent.
This was much better.
I drank the whole cup.

930 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

(415) 308-3819
(415) 828-0856
(415) 986-2783

The steamed rice sheet was mild and very fresh, which let the fragrance of the cilantro (芫荽葉 yuen seui yiep, AKA 香茜 heung sai) come through. There is a subtle citrusy hint, almost of oranges, to fresh cilantro. Delightful.
The filling in the chicken bun was surprising - it included noticeable water chestnut chunks that provided an endearing crunchiness.
I would've wished for more meat, but it was nevertheless quite good.

At that time the only other steamed rice sheet they had was beef-shred rice sheet (牛肉絲腸粉 ngau yiuk see cheung fan).
I have an antipathy towards beef. But it too looked exceedingly fresh.
More than many other places, their cheung fan are objects of beauty.
Naturally it all sells fast once it's brought from the back.

They have most of the usual dimsummy stuff: siu mai (燒賣), haahm sui gok (咸水角), ha gau (蝦餃, and what looked like totally LOVELY jin-deui (煎堆)! Plus a respectable selection of baked snacky things and buns.

Additionally, they offer eat there or take-out 糯米雞 (lo mai kai: glutinous rice and chicken steamed in a lotus leaf), plus a reasonable selection of steamed dumplings (蒸餃 tsing gau), and steamed rice combinations (蒸飯 tsing fan) as well.
One dish I recommend is the 豆豉排骨蒸飯 (dau si pai gwat tsing fan - black bean sauce spare rib steamed rice).

The noise from the kitchen is lively in a professional way, a veritable hive of activity. Regularly a bright-eyed young man would come flying out with a new offering to add to the counter, or an auntie would hurry back to grab something.
Busy lah, ho sang yi!


Among the take-out foods mentioned on the wall, the 炆羊肉腐竹 (man yeung-yiuk fu-dzuk: slow-cooked lamb with tofu skin) looks particularly intriguing.
Fu-dzuk (腐竹 "tofu bamboo") is one of those things you either totally love or maybe not-quite love. It doesn't have much flavour of its own, but absorbs sauces and juices most marvelously, and has an inimitable texture. Lamb is a particularly apt pairing for tofu skin.
As is ox tail, by the way.
The word 'man' (炆) for combined ingredients slow-cooked together is a Cantonese culinary term.

NOTE: This post came about because one of my friends in Holland (Vera Puichi NG) on her Facebook page asked if anyone wanted to go drink tea (飲茶 'yam cha' – enjoy snacks at a teahouse, usually with friends).
By which, in her case, she purely meant eating jook () somewhere in R'dam. She particularly likes jook.
So whatever the rest of the crowd was having would be fine, totally fine, really, as long as she could have jook. She wanted company while eating her jook.
Sorry, Chi-djeh, I didn't bother checking to see if they had jook.
They probably do.
But ordering what looks very fresh means IMMEDIATE gratification.

我食得好滿意嘅喇! 你呢?

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Ari said...

Crack in the mortar fixed by spearmint chewing gum. The color even matched perfectly. True story.

The back of the hill said...

Hi Ari, welcome back!

Now, as to your comment.....

You probably meant to put it under this post: It seems more fitting there.

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