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Chef Wai in San Mateo

Today a fellow hound and I made our first visit this newest place on 4th Ave in San Mateo.

I was given the lunch menu but asked for the dinner menu also. Found the menu simple and somewhat limited in dish. But a large number of choices

We ordered two orders of seafood noodles with crab roe. Found the seafood fresh, crab roe colored the broth well but did not have a large favor to it. Also the noodle has a under laying hot (spicy) taste. It was a smallish bowl for one.

Then I order a Hakka style Salt "Baked" Chicken. I found it to seasoned just right without using the accompaning salt and scallion sauce. A little salty if using the sauce. But if we had ordered rice it would been just right.

Asked our server what on the meatless section she would recoomed. We had a tofu dish with the tender part of bak choy, with fried tofu prefectly shaped like scallops. The best part was the three or four types of fresh and dried mushrooms, shitake, button, enoki and maybe king oyster (cut fine so I can not be sure). I found this dish to be the best of the all the dishes.

Cost for two for lunch $40 without T&T.

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  1. Did you see Andy himself during lunch?

    Was the salt "baked" chicken baked, or steamed? Given that you used quotes, perhaps it wasn't. The true authentic baked (not steamed) version at Golden Mountain in Hayward is hard to top.

    That tofu dish sounds like something I had when he was at Tai Wu, and also prepared it for our table....it was superb. Sounds like an Andy original.

    4 Replies
    1. re: K K

      I called to this morning to talk about setting up a banquet for my spring class and was told that, "You need to talk to my boss. He's out of the country for the week."

      1. re: K K

        I did not see or ask about Andy. But the tofu dish sounds like somehting he would have created. I found the food to be very decent for a newly opened place.

        What I found to be intesting was the order the dishes came out.

        Tofu
        Chicken
        Lastly noodles.

        It sure of been the reserved. But I am sure the kitchen needs work.

        1. re: yimster

          Maybe he's being traditional. In China, the soup always comes last.

          1. re: Gary Soup

            I am not going to disupte that statement with your last name, but personally I found it more common to have soup in the beginning of the meal. That's certainly true in my household and those of my relatives.

      2. Well...maybe in Northern China. In Guangzhou, soup is usually served at the beginning of the meal. It is drunk as a beverage with the meal.

        7 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            Tea is not part of the meal so to speak in Southern China. My parnets did not premit water, tea or soda at home during the meal. But Dad did have Chinese wine with dinner once in a when.

            If I remember correctly tea was to clear the dust from your mouth before starting the meal.

            What I had was a noodel soup in place of rice so it should have come at the same time as the other food.

            At the next table the customers was serve a soup before the rest of the meal arrive.

            Chef Wai is Cantonese and maybe back in Guanghou in a cook off with some of the top Cantonese chefs.

            1. re: yimster

              My wife seems to think tea is for cleaning off the chopsticks before the meal....

              I guess we are talking different traditions, or mixing circumstances. At restaurants in Shanghai, or at formal dinners at home, rice, if ordered or served at all, will also come at the end of the meal, not the beginning. At everyday meals at home, however, my wife will serve a small bowl of rice at the beginning of the meal but usually do the soup last, except when all the food has been cooked before we sit down. In that case she will place everything on the table at the same time.

              1. re: Gary Soup

                At formal meals rice, noodles and etc are served last so that you can fill up if the highlight dishes do not fill you up.

                My meal a simple lunch where I would have liked the strach to be served with the rest of the meal.

                But all of us have the way we like things served, so there is not right or wrong way.

                1. re: yimster

                  Sometimes the order of dishes may not be an intentional thing, could be based on available kitchen resources (people, time, and materials), what materials might have already been made/prepared that's near completion for the next dish, or perhaps one of the sous chef already had a batch prepared of a popular dish and just so happened to concentrate on say Andy's famous tofu dish to come out first.

                  Every Cantonese restaurant I can think of I've ever eaten at, whether in the Bay Area, Toronto, and Hong Kong typically serve soup at the beginning, while my mom's side of the family tends to serve soup at the end of the meal (where the kids usually say I'm full or I'll drink it later then the soup turns cold next thing you know lol).

                  For most upscale banquets and mid scale Cantonese restaurants, soup in the beginning, and you get your "sugar broth" (aka the house dessert) at the end, whether it be red bean, green bean, peanut based with sago, taro based with sago, fruit or papaya based etc.

                  So yeah bottom line you get a bowl of liquid with a spoon either way start or finish depending on the Cantonese restaurant. Sometimes you have to ask for it (the free dessert), but the really good restaurants will give it to you w/o asking.

                  End of discussion on this off tangent topic.

                  1. re: K K

                    I thought this was interesting so asked about it on the General board

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          2. re: billee

            Clear soup is served at the beginning.

          3. What is the name (and telephone number / website?) Thanks in advance!

            5 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Oh yeah when I passed by the restaurant that time I had a chuckle when I saw the Chinese name of the restaurant, which is "wai sik ga", with Wai obviously being Andy's last name, and Sik Ga as in "eating house or family".

                But if you twist the pronounciation of "wai" a little bit in Cantonese, wai sik would mean that you live only to eat (literally) but another way to put it is having a greedy appetite. Kind of like the name of this message board but more extreme.

                How apt!

                  1. re: K K

                    Even more funny, if you go the right time of the day and the sun is shining just right the Chinese words will be on the floor kind of telling you to eat right off the floor.

                    1. re: yimster

                      Now that's Feng Shui..to the extreme!!!

              2. i haven't been yet, but i'm planning to this saturday for lunch. anyone know if chef wai does dim sum?

                1. No dim sum, though they have rice vermicelli rolls (cheung fun). Other than that stir fried noodles/rice, congee, rice plates, won ton noodle soup.