Okay- Hang Ah Dim Sum here we come!
Oh-no-- we were still on East Coast time and we arrived early-- 9 in the morning! I know Dim Sum is a brunch of sorts, but nobody opened until 10 and, as we discovered later, nobody really started rocking until noon. We left the Hilton with our bags and trekked the 10 steep blocks or so from O’Farrel up to to California Street.
I bought a couple of packs of salutes and he discreetly wrapped them in Chinese newspaper- Awesome!
When I tried to take a photo, the middle-aged Chinese woman abruptly chirped “No Picture”. What did she think that I was with PETA or something? I just wanted a little souvenir picture...
Around 9:50 we found ourselves back in the alley. The door was still open, the lights were still off.
Hang Ah is a place that is so square it is hip- so old it is new. The entrance hall has dirty black and white, almost faded sepia photos of Chinatown days past.. They are not there to be retro, they just haven't been changed. There was a collection of 'Miss Chinatown USA' candidates from 1958 along with a 1963 Chinatown Chamber of Commerce poster. Wow!
The weird feeling of the place, the silence. It was like being alone in the home of someone you barely know, and it made us wary. We decided we'd forgo the best food and go for the most genuine Dim Sum experience after all.
We left with a commitment to return later.
On Washington there was a place that looked busier...
That felt better. It was called 'New King Tin.' It was pretty dingy inside and made us wonder about the Old King Tin... It had a glossy Hong Kong BBQ window complete with a whole hanging shiny, seductive and sexy suckling pig, ducks, geese, and cuttle fish.
Next we skirted the Dim Sum offerings and went for the big stuff. I ordered a plate of suckling pig and one of BBQ octopus, which was actually cuttlefish.
Next Stop, Dim Sum Action.
We went down two doors to another monstrosity of a place called 'The Hong Kong.' When we entered the foyer there was a waiter with a Dim Sum cart waiting for an elevator. I asked him if they served Dim Sum and he pointed to a sign that said 'Dim Sum, 3rd Floor.' He got into the small service elevator and the doors closed behind him.
But, eventually, we found the experience we were hoping for the old fashioned way.
Pork Feet with Jellyfish - This is the kind of dish that I mess around with in my kitchen but nobody ever buys. The pig feet were deboned, rolled and braised, sliced like a roulade and served cold. They were topped with a nice hairdo of shredded and marinated jellyfish- served cold. The jellyfish was almost like rubbery noodles. The flavor of jellyfish reminds me of pork anyway and in this dish, it paired perfectly with the briny foot roll.
For Dessert? Turtle Shell Jello, of course!
Wine Country Cheap Eats...