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Restaurants & Bars 3

Party Planning at New Hong Kong Menu

nja | Jul 10, 200303:26 PM

On Monday night, the Chowhound Picnic communications committee met for a working dinner at New Hong Kong Menu. The committee members in attendance (anti-foodie, Joan Kureczka, amyd, and myself) are fairly new to chowhound and have never been to a previous Picnic. Thankfully, Melanie Wong joined us and not only helped plan, she also got us pumped-up about the Picnic with her humorous and fantastic stories of Picnics past AND ordered a selection of good dishes.

Before I talk about the food, I have to admit that I’m super-gringo when it comes to Chinese food. So much so I don’t even know the Chinese equivalent of “gringo!” Oh, I’ve had tons of it in my life. But apart from a handful of dim sum outings and trips to Golden Gate Bakery, all that I’ve ever eaten have been English Menu staples like General Tso, sweet and sour pork, and eggrolls. The array of dishes we ordered comforted the gringo in me--familiar meats, vegetables, and presentation styles--but I’ll admit the chowhound inside was a little disappointed at not being challenged! Anyway, I’ll offer my uneducated descriptions and opinions; hopefully the others will chime in with theirs.

The restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint on alley-like Commercial Street in downtown SF. The small main dining room is full of two or four seat rectangular tables, while a small mezzanine has several round banquet tables. The restaurant was empty apart from our table, a party of 6 at another banquet, and a lone diner or two.

Big Dumpling in Supreme Soup (double order)
Our waitress first brought out a bowl of soup with dumplings that were not Big. Quickly realizing her own mistake, she left with the bowl and returned minutes later with another. I only got a quick look at the first bowl, but I could swear these new dumplings were no bigger. Anyway, about two dozen dumplings were full of ground meat (pork?) in a clear, simple, full-bodied broth. Very good.

Noodles in Spicy Meat Sauce with BBQ Pork
I’m not exactly sure of the name of this dish. I have the menu in front of me and nothing on it sounds right. Melanie was a bit surprised at how this dish was served, so the description on the menu must not be right. A bed of thin noodles (pan fried, I think) was covered with a blanket of iceberg-like lettuce and finely chopped pork in a thick sauce. The entire dish was greasy, the lettuce did not taste very good (but then I never like cooked iceberg), and there was essentially no spiciness. This dish was unanimously disliked.

Beef with Green Onions
Thin, large pieces of beef were joined by an abundance of green onions, garlic, and dark sauce. Good, enjoyed by all.

Sugar Snap Peas with Chicken
This came as a large bed of peas with a pile of chicken on top. The peas were fresh, sweet, crunchy, and delicious. The chicken was chopped finely and was extremely flavorful (“why can’t everyone put this much flavor into chicken?” someone asked). Very good.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp
They were out of clay pot oysters, so the waitress (and owner?) recommended this dish instead. A huge plate of large shrimp, shells still on, were fried and coated with salt and black pepper. Large slices of fresh jalapeños, garlic, ginger, and green onion added flavor. I hate peeling already cooked shrimp unless the shell is simply too hard to chew and swallow. Luckily these shells were quite thin so I at the entire thing. Very good.

Mango Tapioca
We were given complimentary bowls of mango tapioca. I found it watery with not enough mango. Dr. Wong’s diagnosis was that it had been prepared much earlier in the day so the tapioca was disintegrating.

Overall, the food was quite good and well prepared. The portions are enormous, we left stuffed and ate little more than half of what was brought to our table. I didn’t take any of the leftovers (that’s life without a microwave), but maybe those who did can comment on how the food tasted the next day.

The total bill, everything included, was a steal at $13 each. We were looking for a cheap, respectable Chinese food in a quiet restaurant, and that’s exactly what we found.

The restaurant makes some of their own noodles. I think we finally figured out that the ones they make in-house are called "fook" or "foot" mein. Someone help me out here.

New Hong Kong Menu
667 Commercial Street
San Francisco



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