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China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

davidg1 | Jul 3, 201403:32 PM     28

I've had several quick meals there in the past month and been impressed every time, although one lunchtime meal appeared to have been cooked by someone different and wasn't up to the standard of the others.

I've had the twice-cooked fish almost every time. Photo attached. It's battered (although quite lightly) and then stir-fried with cabbage, black bean sauce, whole chilis, green bell peppers and a little bitter melon. Really excellent (except one lunch time).

I've also had what's wrongly described on the menu as cold cauliflower (I think that's it). I was told on an early visit that it's a very popular item. It's actually bean curd skin and cucumber, with peanuts and cilantro. (Photo attached). It's quite spicy and really excellent - particularly for those who like a cold Chinese cucumber salad - one of the best I've had.

I tried the Spicy Garlic Fish, which I also thought was really good. The batter was heavier than on the twice cooked fish, but it was excellently spiced with both sweet and hot flavors. It reminded me a little of the dry fried fish at Shanghai House on Balboa - but this was seasoned a lot better with a great combination of flavors.

I also had the chive and fish dumpling. Unfortunately I wasn't there on a day they'd made it fresh, so it was defrosted and too soft (soggy) for my liking. After a night in the refrigerator, however, it made a great snack dipped in their outstanding chili garlic table sauce.

Every time I've been, there have been at least two women making dumplings in the open area behind the cash register. They also make their own noodles, they said, which I'll try shortly.

Service has been friendly and helpful.

It's not particularly sophisticated, but I've really enjoyed eating there and I've developed a bit of a craving for the twice cooked fish and the "cauliflower" (bean curd skin & cucumber).

Balboa Cafe
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