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trip down memory lane - Tong Kee

t
tenom dude Mar 28, 2006 09:22 PM

am returning to SF for a visit after many many years. one of the things I've missed is the fried tofu at Tong Kee. Is that divey place still around?

  1. g
    gfsf Mar 28, 2006 11:01 PM

    The San Francisco Tong Kee locations have closed and the owners have opened Tong Kee in a very unusual mall in Daly City at 2055 Gellert (up the street from Pak N Save and OSH). You have to enter the mall via a driveway and drive down a grade to get to the restaurant. You can not see it from the street. The name of the mall is City Heights. The food is still very good and VERY reasonable. Their phone number is 650-878-9811.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gfsf
      p
      Peter Yee Mar 29, 2006 07:48 PM

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for that report. It broke my heart when the last Tong Kee location in SF closed. I've been without my vegetable beef stew chow fun fix for too long. The wok breath they got on their noodles was incredible and the beef stew was above average -- nice bits of orange peel (chen pi) in there just added to the complexity of flavor.

      I know what I'm doing for dinner tonight!

      1. re: Peter Yee
        p
        Peter Yee Mar 31, 2006 08:00 PM

        Had the vegetable beef stew chow fun, just as I promised myself. The noodles were as good as ever, with that nice smokey wok breath that is a sign of high heat cooking. Didn't find any orange peel or ginger in the noodles, which I used to. Did find a lot of pieces of star anise, which I didn't previously. The beef stew (niu nan) was good, although it needed more heating -- it was incongruously closer to room temperature than the noodles which were piping hot. The baby bok choy was a bit mushy; I prefer them on the crisp side so that they are easier to bite into.

        So, overall not as good as they used to be, but it's great to see that there's still a Tong Kee in business. Of course, with their miserable location, it's hard to see how they could remain so -- as noted, you have to go down a *curving* driveway from Gellert Blvd. which means you have no idea from the street that a treasure is hidden below.

        I'll definitely be back. Fried tofu was on the menu.

        1. re: Peter Yee
          p
          Peter Yee Apr 4, 2006 04:02 PM

          One more follow-up. Went yesterday with my mother (who's the fried tofu fan of the family). We agreed that the tofu was not exactly the same as in the SF locations -- the pieces are larger, the tofu not the same texture. Good, but not the same.

          Tried the dan dan mian. Not recommended -- al dente noodles in a nearly flavorless broth with some preserved vegetables, chopped roasted peanuts, and a bit of hot sauce.

          Also had the chow fun again. This time the meat was well heated, but the wok breath wasn't as good on the noodles. Oddly enough it was excellent on the bok choy which was not mushy either. I guess you can't have it all in one plate.

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