Was at Hing Lung this weekend after a 18 month hiatus. I live on the central coast and haven't gotten up to SF in a long while.
In the past, I would always plan a Chinese brunch there for their signature congee, fried cruellers and fresh steam rice sheets filled with shrimp, availiable at any dim sum spot, but made to order at Hing Lung.
When I arrived this past Saturday morning, the first thing I noticed was how empty the restaurant was. In the past by 10:30 there would be tons of people waiting for tables spilling out onto broadway, clutching numbered tickets, waiting for a table to open up. This time we walked right in and was seated right away in a half empty dining room.
The congee was, as in the past, exceptional and better than any I've had in Chinatown. The fried cruellers were fresh, crispy and delicous... they also had a faint smell of ammonia that I associate with them from the use of ammonium bicarbonate as a leavening agent.
The rice noodles with shrimp were pretty ordinary and pasty ..nothing like the soft pillows of noodles and crispy shrimp I had had in the past. We also ordered a seafood chow mein, hong kong style which was perfectly dreadful---the noodles were obviously deepfried and not panfried, and the seafood which consisted of a few scallops, squid, and shrimp was served over the noodles in a gluey corn starch mess....We also had a diet coke and a regular coke.
The bill came to about 56.00 which really is not very much but in the context of Chinatown... it was quite expensive. I look over the menu again and realized the prices were about 30% higher than they had been a year before.
Does Hing Lung have new management?? Have the new prices scared away the cost conscious congee lovers... or has the quality declined to such an extent that people are staying away in droves...
Any insight would be appreciated...I really loved this restaurant in the past and hope they get their act together.
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