Last week my mom and I tried out the newish Mr. Fong’s BBQ and Noodles. This casual “hanging duck” and noodle joint shares the shopping center and common ownership with the larger and more sophisticated Tai Wu, site of a recent dim sum chowdown.
Parking was a hassle, even after 1pm, so I dropped Mom at the door to get us a table while I circled for a space. By the time I returned, she said, “I want the wonton mein, they’re very good.” Curious, how could she know? Then she explained, “That waitress put two big bowls on our table. I had the spoon up to my mouth before she came back and said it wasn’t mine. The soup tastes good.”
Pretty soon Mom had a bowl of wonton noodles, $5.50, to call her own. Packed very full, the skinny noodles were perfectly cooked with the bouncy, near crisp texture so prized for Hong Kong style. Topped simply with just some chopped bits of scallion, the orange-y colored stock was indeed a good version with briny, sweet highlights from dried seafood, mineral flourish contributed by long-simmered bones, and delicate lightness. Five wonton dumplings featured two medium-sized whole shrimp bound with pork forcemeat encased in a silky, tender wrapper. The shrimp were a bit too soft and oversalted for my tastes. Yet all in all, this is an enjoyable bowl of HK-style wonton mein that gets closer to the platonic ideal than most, and for a bargain price.
For me, roast duck noodle soup, made with handpulled noodles (lai mein), $7.50. I’d prefer the noodles firmer, but these weren’t bad, having some residual chewiness. Meaty Cantonese-style roast duck, hacked on the bone, was nicely rendered and prepped with minimal spicing for those who like the singular taste of the duck flesh and less seasoning. Topped with tender choi sum, this was a complete, balanced meal in a bowl. But I probably wouldn’t order it again as the soup stock was subpar, overly salted and not much flavor other than the parching sweetness of too much MSG.
I noticed a piled plate of roast duck lo mein (tossed, dry-style noodles) on another table made with fut mein (wide, machinemade noodles) that looked very good. A small bowl of clear soup (probably the same stock) was served on the side, just enough to moisten the noodles if needed. That looked better to me, since the standard soup stock is not an attraction.
I’ll mention that walking in the door, the first thing I saw was a row of whole ducks hung up to dry along the back wall of the kitchen. Later when I went up to the front to get a piece of char siu from the barbecue station to take home, I took another peek behind the curtain. Here’s a look into the kitchen where ducks are drying and whole pigs are lacquered before going into the oven.
Mr. Fong BBQ and Noodles
950 King Dr #101, Daly City, CA 94015
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