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San Wang Report - Japantown, SF

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Before a concert at The Fillmore last night, 5 friends and I ate at San Wang in Japantown. None of us had been before, but we'd read on chowhound that it was an option for Korean-Chinese food in the "Substitute for San Tung" thread.

We had a good meal.

We shared 5 dishes and 5 servings of rice, which was plenty of food.

Eggplant with Garlic sauce: This was a nice version of the dish. It had lots of garlic and lots of ginger, and it almost lacked sweetness (which was a nice change, since similar dishes at other places are often on the sweet side).

Sauteed Chinese Greens w/ Garlic: Lots of garlic in this dish too. Good greens and mushrooms in garlic sauce.

Hunan Pork: Pork with both sweet and chili peppers, coated in a light brown sauce and lots of hot pepper. This dish was quite good as well.

Handmade Noodles with Vegetables: These were some of the best noodles I'd had in a while. It was a simple dish, contained some non-exciting vegetables in a very light (and not-too greasy) gingery sauce.

Dry-Fried Chicken: The chicken itself was similar to chicken at King Sing and San Tung, but the sauce was completely different. Mainly consisted of chopped garlic (tons of it) and scallions. Overall, good chicken, but I prefer the San Tung and King Sing style, which has a sweeter sauce.

Overall, the meal was good, and I'd defintely return for the noodles. Like at King Sing, some of the menu items are translated into Korean (in addition to Chinese and English), so these might be better bets. I think everything we ordered (except maybe the eggplant) had the Korean translation. I saw lots of other tables eating the seafood noodle soup, which I think they are known for.

Total price for this meal was shockingly low: 43 dollars before tip for the 6 of us!

Although nothing was extraordinary, it's a solid Chinese place in a sometimes convenient Japantown location. Worth remembering.

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San Wang Restaurant
1682 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

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  1. Thanks Dave, I live right up the street and have never been there (though I remember a report of a rather amusing Chowdown report from there maybe 6 years ago --)

    The DF Chicken sounds like it may be up my alley as I find the San Tung version to be too sweet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Fig Newton

      There was indeed a chowdown there in 2001. The hard part about finding the report is that this is the restaurant of many names: San Wang, San Wong, Sam Wang, and Sam Wong. Think I've covered all the bases. Anyway, here's the thread,
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/16912
      I've been back a few times just to grab a quick bowl of noodles, but nothing beyond that since. The liang zhang pi was very good here, maybe it's called hot and cold meats and vegetables as an appetizer.

      1. re: Fig Newton

        I haven't been to San/Sam Wang/Wong for years, so it's good to know it's still reliable. I wasn't a fan of the dry fried chicken at San Tung the first time I had it (actually, IIRC, we had two different versions), so maybe I'll like this one better.

      2. i went by here today for a quick bowl of noodles. i drop in about once a year or so, and this was the first time since they remodeled. gone are all the old newspaper reviews, to join the now long gone scroll of calligraphy bearing the name of south korea's former president, kim dae jung.

        i had a bowl of jjajang myon. i stick by the korean pronounciation, i'm just used to it. i'm always pretty satisfied here, but there always seems something missing. today the noodles had decent bounce, and the accompanying sauce had chunks of onion, beef, zucchini, and the bowl was topped with fine cucumber shreds. oddly enough, there were three boiled shrimp at the bottom of the bowl, under the noodles.

        it was satisfyingly greasy, lubricating all the noodles, but i think there could have been more sauce. this place, in the eight or nine years since i first ate here, seems to stay pretty consistent. good, not oustanding. but mind you, this is based soley and completely on their jjajang myon and their jjam bbong, or the spicy soup noodles with seafood, veggies, and meat.

        i'm in japantown at least twice a month, and i always walk right past this place, forgetting its there. hence the once a year at best visits. thanks for this thread for reminding me that it's there.

        1. Just went to San Wang on Sunday for lunch. Several members of our party had the jjajang myon and enjoyed it. My sister ordered the Mongolian Beef and it was very good - a huge platter of crispy, garlicky beef and noodles - possibly the best I've had in SF. My dad ordered his usual sea cucumber dish (yuck). I ordered the San Wang noodles with beef, chicken and shrimp. The noodles were good, but the dish was somewhat bland. Service was spotty. They were very busy, but it's still a problem when the rice arrives long after the other dishes. Overall, I still thought it was good, and I'll be back for more of the Mongolian Beef.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kresge86

            It's all about the baby shrimp in hot sauce. I have been enjoying it San Wang for 25 years.

            1. re: glenmal

              My favorite too! Also like the green mussels in hot sauce. Yum!

              1. re: friscofrog

                You know, those baby shrimp in hot pepper sauce should be awful: battered, fried and doused in sticky sweet-hot sauce. And yet, they're strangely compelling. For many years, my housemate and I had a standing agreement that if one of us went to San Wang she had to bring back a full order (not just leftovers or a shared order) for the other person.

          2. Anyone had the dry fried chicken (aka gan pong ji) at San Wang lately?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I was there about a year ago and had the dry fried chicken. I liked it but I have no other experience with this dish for comparison.

              Michael

              1. re: mdg

                Let me think of some places that are closer to you to draw a comparison. Gan pong ji can be chunks of boneless chicken or the wings (with bones) so be sure to clarify before you order. And it can be called many things in English on menus, e.g., garlic chicken, hot and spicy chicken, sweet and hot chicken wings.

                Tong Soon Garden in Santa Clara has been my favorite, but the dish was not as good the last time I had it. Don't know if that's a one-off or due to some other changes. I've been wanting to try it at China Way in Santa Clara, where it's called Fried Chicken with Spicy Garlic Sauce. But hopefully you can get there before I do. http://chinawayrestaurant.net/m2.php Zazang in Santa Clara has the boneless version, http://dineries.com/ca/santaclara/zaz... . Also have had Palace Chef in Fremont on my list to try for a long time.

                Long ago, I had it at Ten Fu in Menlo Park,
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3052...

                Chef Liu's in Mountain View probably has it on the menu. Likewise Chef Wang's in San Bruno.