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Aug 6, 2010 03:51 PM

Roast Duck Lai Mein (Hand-pulled Noodles) and Wonton Mein @ Mr. Fong’s BBQ and Noodles (Daly City)

Last week my mom and I tried out the newish Mr. Fong’s BBQ and Noodles. This casual “hanging duck” and noodle joint shares the shopping center and common ownership with the larger and more sophisticated Tai Wu, site of a recent dim sum chowdown.

Parking was a hassle, even after 1pm, so I dropped Mom at the door to get us a table while I circled for a space. By the time I returned, she said, “I want the wonton mein, they’re very good.” Curious, how could she know? Then she explained, “That waitress put two big bowls on our table. I had the spoon up to my mouth before she came back and said it wasn’t mine. The soup tastes good.”

Pretty soon Mom had a bowl of wonton noodles, $5.50, to call her own. Packed very full, the skinny noodles were perfectly cooked with the bouncy, near crisp texture so prized for Hong Kong style. Topped simply with just some chopped bits of scallion, the orange-y colored stock was indeed a good version with briny, sweet highlights from dried seafood, mineral flourish contributed by long-simmered bones, and delicate lightness. Five wonton dumplings featured two medium-sized whole shrimp bound with pork forcemeat encased in a silky, tender wrapper. The shrimp were a bit too soft and oversalted for my tastes. Yet all in all, this is an enjoyable bowl of HK-style wonton mein that gets closer to the platonic ideal than most, and for a bargain price.

For me, roast duck noodle soup, made with handpulled noodles (lai mein), $7.50. I’d prefer the noodles firmer, but these weren’t bad, having some residual chewiness. Meaty Cantonese-style roast duck, hacked on the bone, was nicely rendered and prepped with minimal spicing for those who like the singular taste of the duck flesh and less seasoning. Topped with tender choi sum, this was a complete, balanced meal in a bowl. But I probably wouldn’t order it again as the soup stock was subpar, overly salted and not much flavor other than the parching sweetness of too much MSG.

I noticed a piled plate of roast duck lo mein (tossed, dry-style noodles) on another table made with fut mein (wide, machinemade noodles) that looked very good. A small bowl of clear soup (probably the same stock) was served on the side, just enough to moisten the noodles if needed. That looked better to me, since the standard soup stock is not an attraction.

I’ll mention that walking in the door, the first thing I saw was a row of whole ducks hung up to dry along the back wall of the kitchen. Later when I went up to the front to get a piece of char siu from the barbecue station to take home, I took another peek behind the curtain. Here’s a look into the kitchen where ducks are drying and whole pigs are lacquered before going into the oven.

Mr. Fong BBQ and Noodles
950 King Dr #101, Daly City, CA 94015

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  1. Melanie, your pictures have been great lately - did you get a new camera? Enjoying the visuals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordon wing

      Thanks, yes, I did a couple months ago. It refreshes faster so I can take more shots and then choose.

    2. Hey Melanie, are you sure the noodles with the roast duck ("lai mein") are handpulled? That could be a type of noodles called "lai fun," very commonly paired with roast duck (not sure why myself), where the "lai" is different from the other character "lai" meaning handpulled.

      2 Replies
      1. re: vincentlo

        These were wheat noodles, so definitely not rice-based Lai fun. There's a section of the menu devoted to various handpulled noodle dishes, not just topped with duck. I think the menu translates them as handmade noodles.

        1. re: vincentlo

          As Melanie notes, the menu itself refers to them as hand pulled, and it takes them several extra minutes to prepare a soup dish with that kind of noodle. However, I'm wondering whether it's worth the trouble or not. It's the kind of fresh wheat noodle that we used to refer to (in Toishanese) as water noodles many decades ago, and it's so thin (compared to hand made non-Cantonese noodles) that I'm not sure it's that much of a step up over regular noodles.

        2. I'm so glad you posted! A friend, who had previously thought Mr. Fong's had closed, just sent me this link.

          Am I correct in thinking they relocated and split into two locations?

          Since I relocated to So Cal myself, I have definitely been missing trips to Mr. Fong's for dim sum!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kuisine

            Mr. Fong's larger restaurant in Foster City closed. I think the Tai Wu noodle shop next to Ranch 99 in Foster City is still open. Tai Wu in Daly City was opened some time before Foster City Mr. Fong closed and has featured more sophisticated preps than the original. At one point, Mr. Fong also owned S & T Seafood in San Francisco after the Foster City Mr. Fong closed. The Mr. Fong that is the subject of this thread is relatively new, so I wouldn't consider it a split. Mr. Fong is also opening a bakery/cafe in the same Daly City shopping center. So you have many opportunities to revisit your Mr. Fong memories!

          2. On Melanie's advice, I trried this place after dropping off my wife at SFO. Delicious. Had the Roast Duck Lai Mein and pan fried radish cake in XO sauce. I found the noodles had some chew, but by no means an expert on these, so not sure if they had enough. The duck was really flavorful and quite meaty. The radish cakes seemed to have been deep fried, not pan fired and then tossed with XO sauce. While I might have rather them not being deep fried, they were delicious. Nice spiciness and funkiness from the XO sauce. On my way out they brought out a fresh whole roast pig. Too bad I was stuffed because it looked great with a beautiful golden skin. Does that crispy skin stay crispy if you take it home?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kmanlove

              Yes, the skin will remain crispy for awhile - be careful in transporting that you don't cover it so that it steams - especially important if it's steaming hot and fresh.

            2. Mom was in the City with me again last week and she asked to return here. This time she ordered her wontons with cha su. It's not listed on the menu, but easy enough to accommodate. At $6.95, the bowl was topped with a whole lot of thickly sliced bbq pork as well as some tender choi sum.

              I went for the lo mein combo bbq plate, think it's called "tossed noodles" on the menu, $7.50. I picked the roast duck again, plus roast pig. For my noodle choice I asked for "cho mein", the wide wheat noodles. Noodles were al dente and bathed in a light and savory gravy with some scallions and sweet stir-fried onion strips, plus choi sum. The soup on the side had too much MSG to consume, but it was simple to ignore.

              The roast pork was good, but a bit funky. Some times that happens. Good job on the crispy skin.

              Once again, we had a huge amount of food left on our plates to take home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Great pics, stellar report, shame about the mediocre broth. Cheers