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Wonderful opened a few months ago and serves Hunan food. Service was helpful and nice.
A plexiglass wall separates the kitchen from the seating area, so you can see them prep everything. Nice decor. Prices are a few bucks more than SF's newest Hunan place, Made in China.
There are five $14.95 dishes with Hunan smoked pork. The smoked pork with radishes has long pellets of preserved radishes, leeks, and slices of smoked pork with tight and flavorful fat. Whatever brand of dried radish they use has lots of life and crunch to it. I'd recommend this dish with the caveat that it should be split among at least four people. As someone commented about the food in general at Wonderful http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9751... , this dish has a wicked amount of sodium. I wondered whether that's an issue with the preparation, or whether the nature of this dish/ingredients dictates that it be high sodium, and that this dish is supposed to be eaten in restrained portions. Either way, the owner said they would tone down the saltiness on y*lp, so that may change since my visit.
The large green onion pancake (cong you da bing) is fantastic. The fluffy, layered interior has a yeasty and slightly sweet flavor, similar to a steamed flower bun, and the outside has a light crunch. Cut open and stuffed with some hunan smoked pork, this is a killer sandwich. It's not on the menu, but I'll ask next time if they can do a sesame seed version of this. It takes a while to make, so expect this to come out after some of the other dishes--- this came out five minutes after the pork
The cabbage with chilies and house made bean sauce was disappointing and cost $11.95. The cabbage was overcooked and, despite the warning from the server that it would be spicy, it was a mild and watery dish. The beans are labadou ( 臘八豆 ), which I've never had before. Are these a variety of soybean? They are firm, have a little black eye on them, and have a mild fermented flavor, kind of cross between fermented black beans and olives.
Some other interesting things they have are "griddle dishes," which are heated on the table in a pot, and "iron skillet" dishes which are brought to the table on a heated cast iron pan. The food in the iron skillet dishes doesn't contact the pan though--- a piece of aluminum foil separates them. I'm curious to hear how this works--- the meat at the table next to me looked cooked but lacked the browning you'd expect to see.
Millbrae, CA 94030
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