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Jan 8, 2008 05:55 PM

Place to get War Su Gai / Almond Fried Chicken?

War Su Gai / Almond fried chicken is my all time favorite chinese dish, one which I have enjoyed many times at Tai Tung in Seattle's International District. Unfortunately, I have been unable to to find a single chinese place around the bay (or any other part of california!) that serves it. Any suggestions?

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  1. There are occasional sightings of the duck version, would that work?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I may be imagining things but I think I saw it on the menu at Lucky River Restaurant over near Glen Park?

      There is a chinese buffet next to Good Luck Dim Sum, walking towards Green Apple Book Store on Clement Street. I saw it there once. War Su Gai might still be the best place.

      1. re: Lori SF

        I am confused, place or dish name?
        "War Su Gai might still be the best place."

        1. re: wolfe

          opps yes thank you that is what I get for multi tasking- still the best dish!

          I am from Santa Barbara and a little chinese place (family friend) made this dish, maybe my first chinese food experience I had and I was about 10 and as I remember it today it was the best chinese dish ever..

            1. re: wolfe

              The sherry ingredient says not the economy, unless its the cheap stuff.. the batter part is just loved in the Mid West. Or maybe they just discovered this dish.

              I was 10 when I first had it and there was a gas crisis going on.

            2. re: Lori SF

              so this is basically a fried chicken breast w/ some sauce over it like a lemon chicken, but w/ almonds in the sauce?

              1. re: kc72

                No, based on the Chinese name, I was assuming it was the chicken version of what's called almond pressed duck. Here's a recipe for pressed duck on the HOme Cooking board, so you can see how complicated it is,
                and a link to CYL's photos of the endeavor,
                But dishes in restaurants can turn out to be all kinds of things and very different in interpretation, so we'll need to hear from the original poster on what she's looking for.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Thanks but I was just going off of what the links above. I've eaten Chinese food for over 30ys, have been to Seattle many times and have never heard of this dish -- just curious.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          These places appear to have Almond Pressed Duck but only Almond Chicken.
          Jade Dragon Restaurant
          2368 Junipero Serra Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015
          Phone: (650) 756-8900
          3624 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121
          Phone: (415) 752-6355
          Yet Wah
          2140 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121
          Phone: (415) 387-8040
          Empress of China
          838 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
          Phone: (415) 434-1345

        3. I am familiar with “Wor Sieu Opp,” but not “War Su Gai. Wo Sieu Opp has been variously called Almond Pressed Duck, Pressed Duck, Mandarin Duck, etc., etc.. I have not encountered the Gai version in my time while growing up in S. F. Chinatown. Wo Sieu Opp became very popular to the extent that it became an Americanized Chinese dish with time. Then, it seemed to have disappeared from sight possibly because it is labor intensive and time consuming to prepare. However, to my surprise, a Google search immediately hit on a web site showing that it is still very much available in San Francisco!

          BTW, I have also gotten to doing Wor Sieu Opp at home. I made another one just a couple of weeks ago prior to New Years. A few days ago, to satisfy my curiosity, I substituted a chicken instead of a duck to see what I may be missing. Wor Sieu Gai is good but, IMHO, the traditional Opp was much better than Gai. Duck meat simply has more taste than chicken! Though you may have been looking for Gai, do not pass up trying the Opp if you see it!

          Photos show:
          1. Deboned duck after 1st steaming
          2. Deboned chicken after 1st steaming
          3. Chicken coated with corn starch before final steaming
          4. Wor Sieu Gai

          2 Replies
          1. re: CYL

            CYL: That Looks Delicious! I don't think I've eaten Almond Pressed Duck in at least 40 years or so and every time it comes up in a CH discussion I just sigh remembering how much we enjoyed it. We used to order it at a place on I think either Jackson or Washington St. I believe called Tao Lee Yuen or something similar... too many years ago for me to remember! Ancient History of SF Chinatown...

            1. re: RWCFoodie

              Tao Lee Yuen was on Washington Street across the street from Sam Wo. It later became the Golden Dragon, notorious as a tong war scene. Tao Lee Yuen used to have a great simple beef rice casserole dish Other popular good eating places less than a block on either side of Tao Lee Yuen on Washington were Sun Wah Kue and Sun Hung Hing and Nam Yuen below Grant Ave.

          2. Dear departed (sob!) China Station in Berkeley had something wonderful they called "walnut chicken". Deep fried chicken nuggets in a batter containing chopped walnuts and covered in a gravy that had some veggies included. I've never seen it anywhere else.

            1. Someone please help a confused white boy. I have fond memories of Dad (Big big Al) taking the clan out to Bali Hai Restaurant ("Polynesian and American Cuisine") for Sunday dinners in thedays of pu-pu platters and eggfu yung and the pressed duck was the most exotic of the lot. Recently on a whim I ordered something called just that at Great Eastern(?) on Grant Ave, (I know,I should have known better, but I've always been curious about the place) and got one of the most inedible bits of fried glop ever delivered to a willing eater. I've never eaten scrapple, but I would imagine that there's good scrapple and bad scrapple. This was like bad scrapple. How can I avoid it in the future?