Hang Ah Tea Room
Is anyone familiar with this place? It's on Pagoda Place, an alley off Stockton. I went there in the early- to mid-seventies several times a year on mother-daughter outings to SF Chinatown that would begin with dim sum lunch at Hang Ah, then some time in the Chinatown playground, and a stroll among the shops, where I would spend my allowance on trinkets. My memory is of a small place with a tacky fake waterfall in the back, linoleum and formica decor, Wrigley's gum at the counter, and a count-the-plates sort of menu. Mainly Chinese clientele and friendly staff with enough English to deal with us. It was the first place I had dim sum, except for snacks from the street cart in downtown Berkeley. I have no idea of the quality of the food, as I was so young, but since it's still in the yellow pages, I'm wondering if anyone else has been there, long ago or more recently, and if so, what they have to say about it.
Hang Ah was introduced to me by some Chinese downtown coworkers in the early 80's. I used to go for lunch every so often and remember liking it. Now I happen to live close. The food was not too good, but I only tried it once or twice in the past couple years. The clientele is often tourists. They do offer Dim Sum items outside of the usual hours, which may be why it was not so good.
One thing, though--they seem to have the best steamed BBQ pork buns to my taste (and some of my recent co-workers). Not too sweet as usual, and very lean which I like--can't stand fatty clumps. The bun is very good. I often get a 6-pack to go becasue they reheat well in the micro. I don't even usually really like BBQ pork bun except for these.
Interesting that it's now apparently not so good and filled with tourists. In the mid-seventies, it definitely had a mostly Chinese clientele, but perhaps it's changed because tourists tend to want to eat in Chinatown, while the best SF dim dum is not in Chinatown now. As I said, I was so young when I was a sort-of regular that I don't remember the quality of the food.
Sounds like Joy Luck Club mom-daughter days, Caitlin. This was also my first exposure to yum cha, and remember my dad saying that he and his college friends would hide the plates to lower their bill.
Hang Ah is still there. Walked by it recently and had the same sort of thoughts as you. Would have stopped in if it had been meal time. It's been given some type of Calif. historical designation.
I haven't been there since about 1980 - used to go with my college roommates. I shifted when the big Hong Kong-style places like Asia Garden and Miriwa opened in the early 80s, then completely forgot about it when the HK migrants like HK Flower Lounge came to the area.
re: Melanie Wong
Thanks, Melanie. Yes, our Hang Ah days were long before the big dim sum parlors hit SF. I don't know how my mom first found it (not actually being much of a Chinatown adventurer); probably some one took her there. I'll have to tell her about the landmark designation--I know it's been years and years since she was last there.