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Garlic Fried Chicken @ Jook N Fun, SF

On Monday my mom suggested won tons for lunch at Jook N Fun on Irving Street. The specials listed on one of the wall boards have been translated into English. The four season beans I liked so much last time are listed as dry sauteed string beans or something like that. Next on the list is garlic chicken. This is a whole chicken, albeit a small bird, cooked to order. You're warned that it takes 20 minutes. It's worth it though for the plate of hacked up, scalding hot, garlicky, tender bites with that gloriously crisp skin. A bit of maltose makes a nice crust and adds a touch of sweetness that catches the deep-fried garlic bits. Mom complained that the chicken was chopped rather unartfully with too many bone splinters. But the three of us ate nearly all of it except for few pieces of white meat after we gobbled up the skin, in addition to our two bowls of noodle soups. Priced less than $8 per order --- highly recommended.

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  1. This looks very much like the chicken served at Cantonese restaurants that refer to it as Dja Dzee Gai (which is a kind of fried chicken that looks like the picture you have, sans garlic and is much smaller than the usual Foster Farms kind used for other preps though not a game hen) though it resembles "Suen Heung Gai" a lot more (fragrant garlic chicken) which I think last time I had a rendition like this was the RIP Seafood Harbor in Millbrae (literally fried crispy goodness garlic smothered all over). This seems like a nice balance.

    1. The skin wasn't as crackly as dja dzee gai (or however you want to spell it). The size of this chicken was on the order of a poussin, which is larger than a game hen but smaller than a 3# fryer.

      1. Mayflower at the Great Mall does a "garlic sauce chicken" (there's actually no sauce): the chicken was merely good, but we all fought over the crispy garlic pieces. Krung Thai in San Jose has a fried beef dish with crispy garlic (the beef is always overcooked, but the garlic makes it worthwhile).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Claudette

          You sound like an excellent candidate to love Filipino garlic rice for breakfast. Skip the meats on those other dishes and get down to basics!

        2. You're right again, Melanie! My four basic food groups: garlic, rice, chocolate, and wine - but not always in that order.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Claudette

            Then we definitely need to hear more from you on your favorites!

          2. Melanie, you're seriously making my mouth water. Where on Irving is this place?

            1. It's on the North side of Irving between 20th and 21st. It's seriously good grub. And the various types of chow fun nad jook are not to be missed either. I had a bowl of oyster and salty pork bone jook once, hoohah it was good. Cash only of course.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Big Larry

                In the interest of "fair balance", here's a link to one bad report on the chow fun.


              2. that chicken looks just great, wow. i am drooling!

                1. Just got back having that Garlic Fried Chicken. It's really good, except for a few breast pieces that were a little dry. Also had the claypot rice with preserved meat. I'll definitely order that again but will ask them to cook the rice a little longer since I like a nice crust on the bottom, which was missing this time around.
                  The chow fun ordered by the next table smells great and I'll probably try that next time, along with some fried tofu....

                  1 Reply
                  1. That's a rice dish that is cooked in a claypot. The ingredients you pick, such as spareribs or chicken and mushroom, gets cooked on top of the rice in the claypot therefore the rice absorb the flavor.

                    1. I had the wonton noodle soup the other day and I thought the wontons were very good, but the noodles and soup were close to awful. The noodles had too much lye taste to them (my lips had a very sandy feeling afterwards) , the soup lacks flavor and the soup only filled out little bit over half way. Next time, I will skip the noodles and go for the wonton soup instead.

                      I did see garlic chicken wings on the menu as well but did not partake. The garlic chicken is a fujianese or fukienese dish, so perhaps the chef is from Fu-Jian province.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: theSauce

                        The lye noodle problem hasn't happened to me yet at J n F, but it is unfortunately rather common with this dish. The soup seems to vary each time I go there. It was less orange-y in color this time and less flavorful. The wonton dumplings were smaller and I think there were 6 instead of 5 of the bigger size I've had before.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          I am so happy to read that this is a common problem, I have spent a dinner or two deciding that either I was being poisoned with amonia or the very sketchiest situation of cleanliness existed in the kitchen. It doesn't make the lye scented broth or noodle any tastier, but it definitely relives my mind somewhat.

                      2. I think I made the mistake of ordering thick noodles. Next time I will order the thin regular wonton mein.

                        1. Was on Irving this past weekend and Jook N Fun was totally gutted with a new remodel. Don't konw what is going in its place.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nomorefun

                            I heard a rumor that it was closing about a month ago, sad!

                          2. Must be very bad feng shui there. Previously it was Taiwan Point, that did not last, and neither did the restaurant before it and I can't remember what it was before.