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Red Egg and Ginger Party @ Canton Seafood & Dim Sum, SF

Melanie Wong | Jan 26, 200507:28 PM

On Saturday, my dad's side of the family gathered to welcome young Thomas to the clan. Five months old, he's the cutie pie in the red Mandarin suit shown below, being kissed by his proud dai gaw (big brother), Kevin.

Some of the worst dim sum I've ever been served was here at Canton Seafood some years ago and I've stayed away since. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but be curious about how the food might be now as I climbed the stairs to the second floor banquet room. Lunch was served from a buffet line where attendants loaded up your plate. Chow mein, gai lan with oyster sauce, sweet and sour spareribs, salt and pepper chicken drummettes, whole roast pig with crackly skin (some of the little girls in attendance were grossed out by the displayed pig head's missing-a-few-teeth grin), har gau, siu mai, and steamed char siu buns were the order of the day. The food was not kept warm on sterno, so nearly everything was barely above room temperature. Best items were the gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and siu mai. The har gau was notably bad, having been rewarmed and tasting of iodine-y shrimp. The spareribs had good texture, but the sauce was candy sweet. Also unusually sweet was the bbq pork filling in the char siu bao as well as the coating on the fried chicken. Diabetics be ware! The chow mein was made with very thin, pan-fried noodles, and flavored with lots of tasty morsels. My plate is shown below, although absent mindedly I snapped this shot before the red egg and ginger from the next table appeared. The candied ginger in sweet syrup was marvelous, though I think it was supplied by the family and not the restaurant. We also had fortune cookies (enclosing a thank you note from Thomas for being part of his special day), "it's a boy" See's suckers, a strawberry whipped cream cake from Alex bakery, and cantalope/honey dew, red jello, and punch from the buffet line.

I have a slightly higher opinion of the food here now from this small sampling, but not enough for me to recommend it for dim sum or lunch. What I would recommend though is this room for a banquet. Natural light streamed through the wall of windows on two sides overlooking Folsom and Hawthorne. A hardwood dance floor, wet bar, TV monitors overhead for screening the baby's slideshow, and bathrooms made this a well-equipped party space. We had about 150-200 people with plenty of room for the guests to mingle and the kids to run around. The room well-kept and nice enough that I'd suggest a test drive of the banquet menu for the next time anyone's trying to pick a place for a wedding or other special occasion.

Link: http://www.cantonsf.com

Image: http://home.earthlink.net/~melaniewon...

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