Macao (sic) Friends Restaurant replaced So on Irving Street. It features a big and diverse menu (242 items) of Cantonese, Macanese, and Western style dishes and beverages typical a of cha chaan teng (coffee shop). In March, shortly after it first opened, I had a light dinner here with my mom and brother. Here’s what we tried:
Portuguese style mackerel fish balls, $5 – Ordering this dish, I was looking forward to something akin to the bacalhau croquettes served with just about every meal in Portugal or Brazil. These mackerel balls were fried beautifully with a greaseless, golden crust, but were mainly mashed potatoes with little fish element or taste.
Portuguese style baked pork chop with spaghetti, $6 – Mom took one look at this plate and said, “Cheese? What kind of Chinese food is this?” The two thin pork chops had been over-marinated so that they were juicy and well-salted but had a spongey and too-soft texture. That said, we prefer this softness to overcooked and dried-out pork chops. The one-note curry sauce, smothered with cheese on top, was not nearly as tasty as Denny Café’s or the curry sauces I’ve had in Portugal. The bloated spaghetti was standard.
Fried dried shrimp and shredded pork yee mein, $7 – This was a lip-smacking tasty umami bomb with a lot of depth and complexity, but you have to like the intense brininess of dried shrimp. The noodles had perfect texture and soaked up the flavors beautifully. The serving size seemed quite skimpy to us.
This report may read like a pan, yet I must say that this is one of the better examples of the genre locally. Execution and presentation are quite good, and the menu features some unique dishes not found elsewhere in San Francisco.
What else have ‘hounds tried here?
2240 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
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