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Nov 20, 2008 08:31 AM

Lime Tree redux: tasty Malaysian snacks in the Inner Sunset

When we discovered that our first full November day in San Francisco would reach an (for us at least) incredible 70 degrees, plans to check out some museums in SOMA were scrapped and we headed out to Golden Gate Park. A glorious morning and early afternoon of checking out the carousel, the conservatory, the Academy of Science, the Japanese gardens and Stoke Lake, earned our feed. After a meander down Irving, we returned to Lime Tree (near 11th) as we were both craving comfort food and knew it would be good.

As I mentioned, it was a warm and sunny day and we discovered that Lime Tree has no AC but we braved the rather toasty atmosphere and were rewarded with the announcement that they were featuring Thai iced tea (FYI there is a very nice clean bathroom here and it IS air conditioned). The iced tea was much less sweet but had a similar flavour to a Vietnamese iced tea I had sampled last trip from Out the Door and, despite its rather alarming orange hue and the eyeball-like appearance of the round ice cubes with holes in them, disappeared speedily. We decided to order mostly snacks and only one main dish, as we knew we had work to do in just a few hours at Canteen.

We sampled the martabek ($5.49), the corn fritters with minced prawns ($4.49) and the potato cakes ($3.49) along with a dish of rice noodles. The martabek came with a mildly zingy curry sauce that the SO preferred to the mayo-ish dip with the other two snacks. We both enjoyed the martabek and fritters very much, followed by the potato cakes and the noodles, which were a tad bland and really needed the fresh lime slices provided. The fresh slices of watermelon provided gratis at the end of the meal were a gracious and appropriate touch for a warm day. We rolled out of there very happy for $23, which ironically was the same amount we had paid for breakfast at Blue Bottle that morning. Even with so many options both nearby and all over San Francisco (4300 restos???), I have no regrets about returning to the Lime Tree.

See also the following links for all our other food-centric ramblings this trip if you're interested:

Tadich Grill
Blue Bottle
Canteen dinner
Farmers Markets
Bar Tartine
Canteen and Café de la presse breakfasts
Bodega Bistro
La Ciccia
BonBon Patisserie
Anchor Steam SFO

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  1. link

    Lime Tree - Southeast Asian Kitchen
    450 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Three Singaporeans and two Klang Valley natives report Lime Tree to be very much the real deal.

      1. re: isaac1972

        I don't remember the last time I had Singaporean food in Vancouver and then lo and behold, I found myself in front of Prima Taste with a hungry friend last night. With Lime Tree still fresh in my mind, I was ready for more. Sadly, the roti pratha were the first and only highlight. We had a very amateurish mango salad doused in Thousand-Island-esque dressing, prawn balls with not-so-fresh breading and a disappointing fried chicken dish that was supposed to be a house special (kind of like Hainanese chicken but marinated in a soy mixture and fried before being served at room temp with dipping sauces). And the meal cost nearly double what we paid at LT. How I was wishing I was back at Irving and 11th!!

        1. re: grayelf

          Hi, grayelf, I've enjoyed (and used) your posts for SF and Vancouver. Thank you! Re Prima Taste, if they are a branch of the Singapore eatery, they should be using their nitrogen-packed spice mixes (which are almost as good as being in Singapore). The Laksa should be excellent, and the Hainan Chicken Rice and Singaporean Chicken Curry very good, too. There is (or used to be) a Prima Taste in San Jose, but the woman who seemed to manage the place was so rude we never bothered to go back and have been relying on Prima Taste packets from Singapore and on Layang-Layang restaurant in Cupertino for our Singaporean and Malaysian food fixes. I'll try Lime Tree next!

          1. re: pilinut

            I tried Lime Tree with Limster a few months ago. It was fine but not compelling. We didn't get a chance to talk to the chef until after our meal . . . next time I will try harder to speak to him directly about giving us the authentic taste. I do want to try his chili crab or pepper crab now that the season is here again.

            I do think it's better than Singapore Malaysian on Clement . . . but that's not saying much.

    2. Stoke Lake.
      One minimal error in all these wonderful reports. I usually make more than that in every post.
      Rent a boat and drift or paddle around circular Stow Lake with Strawberry Hill in the center. The largest of Golden Gate Park's lakes, Stow Lake was completed in 1893.
      In 1984 The cascade at Stow Lake was dedicated and named Huntington Falls after Collis P. Huntington.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        Hanging head in shame. I was going by memory and didn't think Stoke sounded right; should have trusted my instincts and checked my notes. Ruth just found another doozy in my Bodega Bistro write up. So it's two boners and counting...

        We were enticed by the paddle boats but didn't quite have the time if we wanted to see the Academy of Sciences. Next time...

        1. re: grayelf

          No shame. You were close. How would you like your family to remind you that years ago you called it Too-lee-du Ohio?