If you caught the Hong Kong episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, you saw jook sing noodles being made the old-fashioned way, with a giant bamboo pole. And based on the picture in the window, that’s how they’re made at the recently opened King Won Ton.
Bamboo or no, the house-made noodles are superlative, says Melanie Wong, who joined a lunchtime crowd with lots of Chinese expats, including a few Hong Kongers who vouched for the wontons. “Silky textured with fluttery tails, the dumplings were filled with coarsely chopped pork and two or three whole shrimp and lived up to their ‘swallowing clouds’ name,” says Melanie, who got shrimp wonton noodle in soup. The noodles, very fine and wiry, were perfectly cooked to a bouncy texture; but the broth was lackluster, tasting more of chicken bouillon than of the sea.
Soft pork-bone lai mein is like a riff on Japanese ramen, which itself is a riff on Chinese noodles, Melanie says. Rich, meaty broth with outstanding noodles—chewy and thick—gets jazzed up with psychedelic fishcake, bamboo shoots, red ginger shreds, half a soy egg, scallions, and wakame. The roasted-then-braised pork “had the smooth succulence and buttery tenderness I love about this cut of meat,” Melanie says; limster picked up “a tiny clovey hint of what I thought was star anise” in the pork, but reports getting mushy noodles.
Xiao Yang says the aromatic beef stew, with very tender meat, has better spicing than that bland broth, and passes on the floor manager’s observation that curry beef noodles are even more popular.
Caveats: the wait at lunch, the disorganized waitstaff, and the less than pristine silverware.
King Won Ton [Sunset]
1936 Irving Street, San Francisco