I just moved to San Francisco in November of 2002. This represents a 12 year effort on my part in moving to San Francisco. Why? Because of the food. Seriously, I'm not kidding. I've tried for 12 years to get out here, and finally I've done it.
I kick myself when I think that I could have gotten here by way of undergrad at Berkeley years ago.... and I declined! How stupid was that! Instead, I went to Champaign-Urbana in Illinois (think beef) and then spent many years in Chicago (think beef)...
The Holy Grail of Simple Cantonese cooking for me is the simple Wonton Noodle Soup. I eat this everywhere I go. Windsor, Canada (product of growing up in Cincinnati Ohio in the 70s is that your family thinks nothing of driving 4 - 5 hours up I-75 and staying in Windsor Ontario for a weekend at Motel 6 just to eat Cantonese Food for 3 meals a day), Toronto, LA, Monterey Park, Vancouver, Kowloon, Central (HK), etc etc etc. I remember once my buddy and I, about 10 years ago were studying @ Tsinghua U. in Beijing and walked *clear* *across* *the* *city* in a 2.5 hour trek just to go to the one Cantonese restaurant in the city because we were sick and tired of water-dumplings with entirely too much vegetable and not enough meat. (even as recently as 10 years ago it seems condition were quite different there as than they are today...)
Imagine my glee when I found this website.
My lifetime quest is always to find the best bowl of humble Wonton Noodle possible. Of great importance to myself and my family is the noodle .... must have the right springiness and not be overcooked! As well as the wonton (must be only shrimp, must complement the noodle) and the soup (must be the right taste, not too much MSG!) But the noodle itself .... the noodle is paramount. And a good wonton noodle house is no good if its not consistent ... even 30 seconds too long in the hot soup renders the noodles overdone.
Naturally, everyone has their favorite meat in their wonton noodle soup when they order it with meat; mine happens to be the common char-siu, which of course must be succulent. The soup is not meant to reconstitute over-dry char-siu!
(What can I say, my family was a family of BBQ meat butchers 3 generations ago)
So its easy enough to talk about the tasty-fancy cuisine, you know, the Geoduck clams, the shark fin, the abalone, etc etc.... but ultra humble wonton noodle? Who makes consistently the best?
By the way .... I've been looking for uh.. "Hai Wong Tsee" .... uh... literally "Crab Yellow Fin" ... its this Orange flavored Shark Fin Soup because it has mega-amounts of Crab egg in it (hence the yellow part of the name) but I have not been able to find this dish in San Francisco. Last I had this dish was a restaurant right off the "Gum Chung" MTR stop in HK a few months ago (I think this is 'Admiralty'?) and I've been craving it but I'll be damned if I can never find it in the States .... has this dish yet to travel to this side of the Pacific yet?