Veggie bao at Jook Time [San Francisco]
Mom requested veggie bao from Jook Time - 3 for $1.80 - generously filled with a delicious mixture of shiitake mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts, celery, some shredded cabbage and bamboo shoots — with a small order of veggie chow mein and shrimp cakes for $5.65. She also likes their won ton soup.
It's on the corner of Balboa and 35th Ave. Closed on Tuesdays.
3398 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121
A few weeks ago I stopped by TC Pastry on Irving Street, my go-to take-out dim sum spot, to fill a special request for the baked pork buns. All sold out by the time I got there, but the counter lady said that there's another location on Balboa but she couldn't tell me the exact address. I started at 25th and drove west. Approaching Jook Time at 35th, I saw it with new eyes, the blue of the awning looking pretty close to the color scheme at TC Pastry. Once inside, I recognized the same items and the same style of labels used at TC.
Since it was after 5pm, I got the closing time discount of 3/$1.25 instead of $1.70 for the pork buns. I also bought some soft tofu topped with brown sugar syrup which I don't think I've seen at TC.
I was back here a few days later needing a quick lunch in the neighborhood with my mom. For lunch we picked wonton noodle soup, $3, pork and preserved egg jook and a fried chicken drumstick. This lunch tray cost $6 and was more food than two of us could finish.
More about TC Pastry
Jook Time was a short walk from hsbg and a welcome respite from crowds and sun.
Those fried shimp (and chicken) cakes were really good, my favorite menu item there. A generous patty of chicken and shrimp in a thin noodle wrapper fried in a little scrambled egg. Buttery and flavorful enough not to need embellishment. Also liked the spicy fried won ton filled with curry and the stuffed eggplant (chicken?). I saw no shrimp only cakes, but maybe they were out that day.
As you say an hard-to-beat bargain. Black bean sauce spareribs rice plate, 3 of those shrimp cakes and a fried chicken drumstick were $5.85. 2 item rice "plates" were only $3.25. The mapo tofu looked good. They also had salt and pepper pork. Didn't care for the spareribs or the chicken, but the pork buns and sausage buns were good.
Not over that way much, but would definitely return if only for the shrimp cakes. At hsbg, a lemonade cost almost as much as my dim sum lunch!