Y’all know that Ming Kee (fka Happy Bakery) is my favorite spot for Cantonese barbecued meats, per this thread.
The early reports for anything else ordered from the menu at the new Irving Street location were basically “avoid”. However, a new chef took over the non-barbecue side of the menu and has introduced some high touch “Chef’s Selections” stir-fry dishes listed on the printed menu in English/Chinese
and on a whiteboard in Chinese.
Thanks to tips from “KK”, I’ve tried a few of them now and am pretty impressed for what you can get here for $8 to $10.
My favorite so far is 椒鹽豬頸肉 shown on the whiteboard for $9.95 at the far right side. This is salt and pepper pork jowl (shoulder) with impeccably seared green beans. Ordered spicy, the seasonings include fresh jalapeño and Thai bird chiles, a blizzard of crispy fried garlic bits and scallions. I’ve had this twice now with consistent results.
Also excellent is the sautéed prawns with High Mountain tea, presented in a woven bamboo cornucopia and spilled out tableside. About a dozen fat, crisp-juicy prawns deveined and cooked in the shell are seasoned with a lip-smacking sweet and savory soy-based glaze. Toss-cooked with colorful squares of sweet red and green bell peppers, seared onion, and fragrant fresh basil, the crispy bits of tea leaf fade into the background visually but make their presence known in a pleasant tannic-bitter counterpoint.
While not my style, the beef steak with longan deserves a special mention. Precisely cut batons of beautifully seared and tender-chewy steak and whole longan fruit are bathed in a sweet and sour prep that leans more to the savory side. In the same genre and R & G Lounge’s Chinese-style beef, I prefer this one.
In the not so hot category, fish maw with egg whites was much too oily and the egg component overcooked.
And the dry style beef chow fun was average and nothing special, leading me to suspect that another cook in the kitchen executed this one.
This has been a terrific discovery. BUT, the kicker is that Ming Kee will close on Irving Street on April 15, when the new, permanent tenant takes over occupancy. It has the permits to start construction of its burned-out space on Ocean Avenue and expects to re-open there in June or July. However, the stir-fry chef is not in the plans at this point though when I approached the owner, he said he would think about it. So, before it’s too late, head over there to learn more about the art of stir-frying. And, PLEASE, eat them on site, not for take-out, to enjoy them at their peak glory.
I'd love to hear about other dishes anyone has tried. And some help translating the whiteboard specials would be much appreciated.
Ming Kee Inc.
Hong Kong Style B-B-Q
2191 Irving St (between 22 & 23 Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Open 7 days a week
9:30am to 8pm