1010 Bryant Street, SF, CA | 415.552.7676 | Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm | facebook
If like me, you have a passion for San Tung’s dry fried chicken, you will be glad to know that there is an offshoot that opened up in SOMA last year. Since I live and work in the East Bay, the SOMA location makes it much easier for me to get my hands on those ridiculously addictive wings that I find myself craving. It’s a cozy spot with a sleek modern ambience that is an improvement from the original location on Irving. I believe it is run by one of the sons and has an updated menu with a focus on the noodle dishes. This is fine by me, because they serve fresh handcut noodles which I always overlooked at the other restaurant because I was focused on the wings. Someone has painted the lively figure of the feral staypuft marshmallow fiend from the movie Ghostbusters that covers the side of the building facing the parking lot. Sorry, I didn’t pay attention if this is a pay parking lot…
I had to try this interesting Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA a brew created as a benefit for the Japanese tsunami relief effort. The beer is “dry-hopped” with Sencha, a variety of whole-leaf Japanese green tea! I found it to be a bit bitter, but very drinkable and paired very well with the sticky sweet spicy fried things to come.
The Dry Fried Chicken Wings were as good as I remembered. The only difference is the portion is smaller, so we asked for a double order, which was still smaller than a regular order at San Tung… It is the cooking technique which gives the chicken that amazing texture: double frying. This same technique that is used for perfect french fries, double-frying ensures that the chicken is cooked properly in the first stage and then achives the perfectly crisped skin by rendering out all the subcutaneous fat in the second round. Then it is tossed with a fragrant sauce made with soy, ginger, honey and chili paste. The result is a marvelous combination of flavor and texture: crisp and juicy on the inside, and covered with a sticky glaze that is savory-sweet, garlicky and spicy that is hard to resist.
The same treatment is given to the Fried Mushrooms, whole button mushrooms that spurt dangerously hot juices when you first bite into them.
We shared the Black Bean Noodles Jajangmyeon which are derived from the Chinese dish zhajiang mian which literally means fried sauce noodles. The thick sauce is made with shredded pork stir-fried with salty fermented soybean paste which looks dark and full of mystery and is splendid over a mound of handcut noodles which are made fresh daily. We ordered it topped with a fried egg for an additional $1
JT mixed it up thoroughly, exposing lots of plump shrimp & pieces of calamari.
I found the dish to be addictively salty, chewy, savory, with a tinge of sweetness and couldn’t get enough of those noodles.
We also ordered the SO black bean sauce noodles, a spicy black bean sauce with pork, scrambled eggs, jalapenos, cayenne, and paprika. P, who is Thai and has an incredible tolerance for spicy, took one bite and proclaimed it pretty spicy, so I suggest that you proceed with caution. I took a tiny bite and it was like a mushroom cloud of heat that suffused my mouth. This was way out of my comfort zone, so I stuck with the other noodles.
Fried Shrimp Dumplings, nine fried dumplings filled with a savory mixture of ginger and garlic infused ground shrimp and chinese chives. I think I prefer these steamed, but the fried versions were pretty dang delicious too.
Fried Pork Dumplings, dumplings filled with ground pork and napa cabbage delicately seasoned with fresh ginger and garlic. Both dumplings were served with a spicy vinegar-soy dipping sauce, which helped balance the friedness.
Curry Fried Rice (Veg) all fried rice includes eggs, peas, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, onions, and zucchini. Fried rice is pretty fantastic, and it becomes otherworldly delicious when fragrant curry is stirred into the mix.
There are many reasons to recommend this restaurant: the wings, the mushrooms, but especially the draw of those noodles! And the service was very attentive, I might add…