Qi Gong is a small, unpretentious Cantonese Seafood and Hakka restaurant on Geary near 19th. In addition to the ancient, very well thumbed, and extensive menu, there are many specials posted on the back wall in Chinese which, if you are patient, you can get someone to translate for you. There is also a slip-in page of family dinners ranging from $25 to $168. This too, is in Chinese which for most of us will require translation.
There were only four Chowhounds along on this trip, but they were *opinionated* Chowhounds and gave the menu a going over worth twice their numbers. The discussion included thoughts like "This might be good" but also included comments such as "Oh, that is very plain, you don't want to order THAT." Negotiations ended with a very good selection which consisted of...
Fishball AND Meatball soup (Hakka^2) with Bok Choy in a light but clean and flavorful chicken stock. A plain soup, but there was none left over.
Crispy fried pork intestine on a bed of Napa cabbage. This was not my favorite, as I thought it was a bit fatty (how can intestine be fatty? I don't know!). Seasoning was light, I don't believe we finished this dish.
Wok sauteed On Choy, seasoned with garlic and soy sauce which was very tasty.
Salt baked roasted lobster with chili. Now THIS was something special. It was the normal cleaver-chopped lobster, but it was coated with a delicious seasoning mix (salt baked?) which made for a completely delicious dish. Every scrap of this dish was cracked open and scraped and sucked to get out all of the meat and super seasoning. It was a bargain at $12.50.
Hakka style braised pork with Carrots and other vegetables which I cannot remember. I believe this was a clay-pot dish. It was very like a western pork stew and was quite tasty.
Wine flavored meat stuffed tofu with pickled vegetables. Another good (Hakka) dish. The tofu was a bit course in texture, but the sauce and the meat were fine as were the pickled veggies.
This is not a destination restaurant, but the food is well prepared, reasonably priced and a good change from the Cantonese fare which you find in most other Bay Area Chinese restaurants. The food reminded me of what I imagine really good Chinese home cooking would be with the exception of that lobster, which was solidly in the fine food category. If the truth be known, I enjoyed this meal more than a recent one I had a Great Eastern.
5524 Geary Boulevard (btwn 19th & 20th)
San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: (415) 386-4170