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Tomato Beef Chow Mein @ New Woey Loy Goey, SF Chinatown

Melanie Wong | May 10, 2006 04:14 PM

Last week I needed a quick lunch on my way downtown, so jumped off the 45 Muni and dashed down Jackson St. into the basement restaurant, New Woey Loy Goey, for a seat at the counter. Service was prompt with a hot mug of tea . . . I liked that insulated cup . . . and a bowl of complimentary soul-satisfying house soup (homestyle of pork bones and dried bok choy) appearing in seconds.

Since this is an old-timey place, I ordered a dish that evokes memories of old Chinatown for many, tomato beef chow mein, and asked for "ga lai" (curry powder). This was a fine version with fattened pan-fried noodles swollen with tomato curry sauce, tender but not mushy charred beef slices, softened to sweetness onions and bell peppers, some anemic fresh tomatoes, and carrots for color. What I especially liked was that the saucing was not oversweetened and the curry powder was so harmonious and subtle unlike the coarse and gritty overuse in some cooks' hands. The noodles were slick and slippery (and delicious!) from a good amount of oil or perhaps chicken fat, yet there was no oil slick on the plate.

If I'd been going home, I'd have taken the leftovers with me. I haven't had a better two-course meal with complimentary beverage for six bucks and change including tax and tip in ages.

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