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Chef Change at Hakka Restaurant - San Francisco

Melanie Wong | Aug 16, 201902:42 AM     1

The founder, Master Chef Jin Hua Li, who made this one of my favorite restaurants retired and sold the place to his sous chef in the latter part of last year. One of my culinary friends assured me that his assistant has stepped in well. Last month I was close by and dropped in for a solo lunch.

After ordering some of my long time favorites, I’ll say that flavors and ingredient quality have stayed pretty close and true. Portions are still on the large size and prices seem the same as last year. But execution is no longer flawless, falling down on some textures and presentation becoming haphazard. The empress clam was cut too thick and therefore steamed unevenly. The sauce for the pan-fried tofu stuffed with pork was heavier and the tofu was not silken and custard-like showing some interior bubbles from being overheated.

The biggest offender was the Hakka salt baked chicken (half). From the dampness of the surface and the pulling away from the cut edges, it’s easy to see that this was chopped and then microwaved! The flesh should be silky and the cross cuts of the joints, red. So sad. That said, the other dishes are still pretty good, just not perfect any more. The complimentary watercress old fire soup was actually the best thing.

I’ll still eat here when I'm in the neighborhood but not with the same anticipation. After this meal, a friend pointed me to Zhong Shan Hakka on Taraval, where Chef Li opened another restaurant after some time off.
https://www.chowhound.com/post/zhong-...

Hakka Restaurant
4401 Cabrillo St
San Francisco, CA

Earlier discussions of Hakka Restaurant:
https://www.chowhound.com/post/chowdo...
https://www.chowhound.com/post/hakka-...
https://www.chowhound.com/post/good-b...
https://www.chowhound.com/post/hakka-...

Hakka Restaurant
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