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Aug 14, 2001 04:15 AM

Recent Chinese Restaurant Experiences

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Here is a summation of recent Chinese restaurant experiences I have had over the past few weeks.

Koi Palace:Dim sum: middle range, good variety.Dinner, rushed with arrogant service and frequently delivered the wrong dish to surrounding tables.Best dish: Outstanding roast duck with steamed bread, although lack of duck meat as opposed to fat noted.Worst dish: Yu xiang qie zi - fish fragrant eggplant (spicy sichuanese style), used the wrong flavourings -sweet soy sauce and too much sugar, dish should be salty.I agree with Melanie on this restaurant.

Also Koi seemed to have a bizarre policy of seating Chinese and western parties in different parts of the restaurant and Chinese American mixed couples all together in the same section!

Hong Kong Flower: dim sum slightly under par compared to Koi palace. Didnt try other dishes.

Ton Kiang: Dim sum didnt impress at all. Perhaps I should give another try as arrived after the lunchtime rush. Freshness appeared to be an issue. Dinner: the white cut chicken was the best dish, closely followed by the mu shu pork. Many of the other dishes including the Hakka style fish and pork were definately over salted and lacked depth, as if the additional salt was added to camouflage the ommission.I wouldnt go back for dinner.

Far East Cafe: A shocker!Bad service if in the booths and overcooked duck with frozen veggies thrown in the sizzling rice soup...Decent ma po dou fu ( pockmarked grandma 's tofu) was a welcome surpise but not worth going back for by itself.

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  1. so where are the good chinese restaurants in sf? are there any? please advise. we've tried a number and ton kiang has been the best by far...most likely because the others have been terrible.

    4 Replies
    1. re: robin

      My favorite Chinese restaurant is R&G Lounge on Kearney Street. You have to share a table with strangers sometimes, but the food is so awesome. Reasonably priced too. Nothing fancy, but excellent Cantonese cooking. Their special beef and salt and pepper anything really stands out in my mind. I go there for lunch and dinner and always leave happy.

      Another favorite is Dragon River on Geary Street. Also not fancy, but great if you're looking for some chow fun, chow mein, and other quickly take out type meals.

      1. re: HKL

        it's my fave, too, and also a fave of many other users around here. surf down the SF board index for hundreds of postings...obscure things to order, strategies, etc. And, above all else, the blessed baby-chicken-stuffed-with-sticky-rice (studded with bits of chinese sausage)

        1. re: Jim Leff

          thanks for the tips!


      2. re: robin

        Robin, which regional Chinese cuisine are you looking for? We seem to talk about at least one Chinese restaurant - dim sum, Hong Kong-style, Shanghai, Taiwanese - every day here. They're not all in San Francisco proper, but you'll not find a better English language resource for Chinese dining, regional specialties, how to order or where to go than here on Chowhound.

        Please take a look at earlier threads, and click over to the past threads using the link on the top right of the SF Bay Area Message Board.

      3. Boy, Far East Cafe sounds awful. Even though it's a Chinatown old-timer, I've not eaten there. Thanks for the warning. The price competition is so tough in SF Chinatown, I have a senses that some restaurants are cutting corners on ingredients to stay afloat and relying on tourist dollars for business.

        I'll return the favor and warn you off of Kam Lok in Chinatown. I'd stop in there periodically for a cheap meal at the counter. Always enjoy the big bowl of complimentary chicken soup (with lots of boney shards and some beans). But the last time the beef chow mein was inedible. They'd switched to a cheaper type of noodle that had little flavor of its own. The beef was hacked into irregular shapes and widths and was very tough. No increase in price but the quality is way below average now.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I didnt mention the strange smell in my add insult to injury I had to endure a fetid odour arising from a mildewed wall throughout my dinner..

          1. re: panpan

            Also wanted to mention that you were fortunate to get a worthy roast duck at Koi Palace. My first time there was a Chinese New Year's eve banquet. The duck was soggy and pale on one side. It was a couple years before I was interested in returning. If you go back, definitely order the suckling pig.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Yes it really was of uneven quality. Some dishes were fantastic and some were disasterous. Perhaps the duck wasnt all that good but I was so desperate for duck a half way decent one would have fit the bill at this stage.I think, however, from what I saw that Koi is capable of greatness at times. (One thing for sure the duck offering at Far East didnt even make the grade).I suspect Koi is having staffing problems. I think the staff need training: they really are rude and Im afraid to say I felt they were definately discriminatory against europeans and mandarin speakers..although my partner noted that they appearred to be dolling out bad behaviour to the cantonese as well..Goodness, they better be careful or they'll run out of customers!Melanie, apparently you know the owner here??Would that person benefit from knowing what is happening?

              1. re: panpan

                After our first (and only) visit to Koi Palace, we vowed never to return because we (all westerners) were treated so poorly and rudely. We were placed in a back room next to a bunch of spare chairs. Throughout our meal, people kept going around us to take chairs to tables that needed them. We probably should have left then, but we were there for the food. Alas, no one would answer any questions and the food we received was mediocre at best. We've been to many excellent Chinese restaurants in SF and the Peninsula in which we were the only Westerners and have usually received excellent service. Sometimes there have been language difficulties, but for the most part, people have tried to be helpful, especially when they realized that we weren't interested in the Americanized dishes on the menu. Koi Palace and Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae are the two major exceptions. In both places we were treated like dirt. We won't be going back to either restaurant.

        2. I've eaten at Far East twice this year and both times the food was pretty good. I don't know why you got such a crappy meal with similar service. But hey, Chinese restaurants are known for abrupt service and dirty bathrooms.

          But I've lately frequented Superior Palace on the corner of Balboa & 37th(?). Dirt cheap and good family-style Chinese food. I can usually get 3 dishes and it'll be under $20 including tip.