2234 Mission Street, SF, CA 94110 | 415.863.2800 | website
After indulging in roasted crab and garlic noodles at Crustacean the night before, I met up with the Chowzter group the next morning at Mission Chinese Food, where we planned to sample a couple of dishes and continue on a tour of the Mission district to stop at Foreign Cinema restaurant for fried chicken, then onto classic Mission style burritos and tacos (a future post). I’m not exactly sure what happened, perhaps because we found out that we wouldn’t be able to order the famous fried chicken after all at Foreign Cinema, that pandemonium ensued and we plowed through a monumental feast where we ended up checking out just about every dish on the menu.
It’s always an adventure when dining at Mission Chinese, the shabby interior contradicts what’s going on in the kitchen which I’ve posted previously about here. Our table of 17 or so food enthusiasts decided that we would each order one dish, and our servers opportunistically said we would need to order 4-5 of each dish for the entire table to partake. Here is where we began with an appetizer of Beer Brined Sichuan Pickles ($4), chinese cabbage, cucumbers, peanut, chili oil and szechuan pepper. We each had a few peanuts and a crunchy bit of pickled this and that which definitely served to wake up our tastebuds.
Grandma’s Spicy Lamb Dumplings ($9) were tossed with roasted peanuts, slices of dill pickles and drizzled with chili oil. The meaty dumplings had a toothsome bite and was lightly coated with a piquant and savory sauce. A refreshing and unusual combination of textures and flavors.
Fresh Rice Noodle ($8), coated in a savory peanut sauce, with bits of tofu skin, paper thin slices of cucumber and thin slices of pickled mustard greens.
I loved the Tea-Smoked Eel ($9.5), which was rolled up in fresh rice noodle smeared with salted plum hoisin, and filled with eel, braised pork, julienned chinese celery, spring mix, and drizzled cognac soy. The server told me that some corn flakes were tucked in for extra texture. Totally delicious and refreshing!
Note that the menu says no reservations, no parties over 8, but they made room for 17 food bloggers and a few others… (pictured center Mijune from follow me foodie in Vancouver BC, Stella from food junkie chronicles in Toronto, Bradd and Kristy of 22nd & Philly foodblog, then center left, Scott of Charlston Food Bloggers Donald and Jennifer of San Diego blog Kirbies Craving, Tim from Savannah Foodie)
This was my favorite, the Tiki Pork Belly ($10) gorgeous chunks of fatty belly marinated with soy caramel, mandarin orange, served with a slice of pickled pineapple, shaved coconut , macadamia nuts and a couple of satsuma segments and a maraschino cherry. The pork was fall apart tender, layers of crispy caramelized meat interspersed with rich pork custardy love – each bite was a medley of rich flavors and delectable textures.
Another not to be missed dish was the Chongqing Chicken Wings ($11) , fried to a crisp and coated in a lip-tingingly spicy mixture topped with explosive dried red chili peppers, and chewy, crispy bits of fried beef tripe. The spices will haunt you and I kept digging around to look for bits of the coveted fried tripe.
Another paparazzi shot… The hands in the far left belong to Fiona of Gourmet Pigs of L.A., Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps in Orlando, Drew of Man Up BBQ Texas, Yvo of Feisty Foodie from NYC, Donny of Buffalo Eats, Omeica and Beth of Talk.Eat.Drink.Portland.
There were several platters of the incendiary famous Ma Po Tofu ($12) mixed with braised shitakes, aged chili paste, sichuan pepper, and scallions. This dish is like a molotov cocktail to me, the spices set off my heat sensors, so I enjoyed just a couple of bites on steamed rice.
Another great dish is the Kung Pao Pastrami ($12), cubes of tender and savory pastrami tossed with peanuts, celery, potato, chili. This dish is super flavorful and exemplifies the attention to detail of the kitchen with respect to serving exceptionally well prepared meats. All of the meat was kick-ass awesome.
Fiona of Gourmet Pigs ordered the Fresh Squid Ink Noodles ($14) which is available for eat in only. Stir fried in lamb fat with chickpeas, fennel, cumin and mint, served with lamb broth for dipping, it was a lovely symphony of soothing flavors and textures.
I ordered a bowl of the Westlake Rice Porridge ($12) which was flavorful and sustaining full of chopped beef, dungeness crab, sawtooth herb and included two gorgeous poached eggs. I really liked this dish which was completely transcended by all of the spicy, flavorful dishes that Mission Chinese is known for.
The Cumin Lamb Ribs ($16) were served on a sizzling hot platter emitting aromatic puffs of smokey hickory infused aromas, fresh chili, scallions, and dates. The ribs were tender and so good.
Mongolian Long Beans ($11) Xinjiang spices, horseradish and chili oil. Vegetables are good once in a while!
I don’t even remember trying the Combination Fried Rice ($15), which was piled with roast pork, crab, and mixed with the exciting flavors of pineapple and curry.
We had a vegetarian version of the Thrice Cooked Bacon And Rice Cakes ($12) made with sweet tofu skin, bitter melon and szechuan pepper. This was a bit too spicy for me, and those dense rice cakes just expand uncomfortably in your belly…
The table was packed full with platters of beautiful food.
And we staggered onwards to continue our eating adventures in the Mission. to be continued…
p.s. The murals of Clarion Alley are a mere block away, a great path to wander along to recover after feasting at Mission Chinese. This entire meal was funded by Chowzter an organization dedicated to finding the world’s tastiest fast feasts.