Tuesday, September 4, 2007

San Francisco: San Tung (Friday night)

Well, it was a fabulous weekend! A ton of thanks go to G. and K. for taking the entire weekend to take me around San Francisco. I arrived Friday night and we kicked things off with a great meal at San Tung Chinese Restaurant. The place is packed, but with a reservation and G.'s arsenal of imposing glares, we were seated quickly. San Tung is in the Sunset District, near the intersection of 11th and Irving.

The potstickers were ok. They were lightly fried all over (instead of darkly browned on the bottom) and they were a little loosely wrapped, but the filling was fresh. The filling was pork and, I think, leek. I'd say the ones from Dumpling Inn or Luscious Dumpling in L.A. totally stomp over these ones.

K. ordered the spinach and bean curd soup, which looked really good. Simple and delicious.

We also ordered the noodles in black bean sauce, which was my favorite dish. Homemade noodles drenched in a thick sauce. The sauce is pretty pungent and it's nicely contrasted by fresh cucumber strips. It also contained shrimp, squid, and chunks of cooked daikon. The daikon was cooked until mushy, so it had the consistency of cooked carrots and the taste of potato. The noodles were a little overcooked, but I liked that they were homemade and they went well with the overall consistency of the dish.

San Tung's signature dish is the dry-fried chicken. I'd have to agree with some of the critics on Yelp and say that it's a tad overrated. Mind you, it was good, especially with rice, but it was not to-die-for. It's diced chicken fried crisply (likely dredged in flour beforehand) and tossed in a sticky sauce comprised of white pepper and honey. There was no excess sauce. Hence, "dry"-fried. The flavors meld clumsily, as if the cook didn't take care to mix the sauce thoroughly. One moment you're hit with the mild peppery bite of white pepper and the next is a sweet shot from the honey.

All in all a good meal. I would definitely go back and try some of their other dishes, but would I wait 1+ hours? No.

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