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B & M Mei Sing [San Francisco]

Recent reports? Few mentions on the board. What to get, and what to avoid? Thanks.

B & M Mei Sing
62 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105

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  1. Haven't been in literally 11 years? i used to love their black bean chicken. that's all i've got for you.

    1. I haven't been in a long time, but my rule of thumb was to get the cooked-to-order dishes.

      1. I started eating there in the mid 80's when I worked in the Dark Tower and still return when I am near the financial district.

        My favorite dish is the scrambled egg (well done with wok hei) and cha sieu over rice with gai lan. Beef stew is not on the menu but they still have it and it is very flavorful. I used to also get the black bean sauce chicken and the mixed vegetable chicken. A lot of people seem to order the fried fish. I am not particularly a fan of the noodle dishes and have never eaten off of the steam table, although it looks tempting at times. I did once have the salt and pepper pork and it was tasty but too much of a good thing.

        I was last there about a month ago. My friend Mr. Kayo calls the place Poker Chip because of the ordering method. I can tell you that from time to time I run into people who used to work in the fidi and have returned for a rice plate.

        1. A coworker reported the Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice is marginally good.

          1. I've been here twice now - so I'm reviving this thread.

            First visit was with david kaplan, and I had some very good chow fun with roast pork and Chinese broccoli. Nice wok-char on the noodles, and a huge portion (it was enough for two lunches)

            Second visit was with several others, and we shared a bunch of dishes — all ordered off the menu. For me, the highlights were the wonton lo mein (which was thin noodles in a light sauce, with various types of meat and wontons), eggplant with tofu (sauce was similar to what you find in the carts at Cantonese dim sum - mild, almost-clear sauce), and again, the chow fun.

            Salt and pepper pork chops were good, but super salty - too much salt for me. Chicken with asparagus and stir fried broccoli w/ garlic were fine. Chow mein was mediocre at best. Beef stew with tofu was good - the beef stew had several chunks of tendon, which I wasn't crazy about, but the stew had a nice flavor. Not sure if that one was actually on the menu. Shrimp with scrambled eggs were cooked well done - the egg was almost omelet-like and browned, but the shrimp were tender. Another huge portion here. Whole fried fish (sole) was a bit greasy, but there were some tender pieces of fresh-tasting fish beneath the fried layers.

            I think ordering off the menu (as opposed to the steam table) is key here, although the place is busy enough during lunch that the steam table gets decent turnover. I still haven't tried any noodle soups here yet, but intend to do that soon.

            Dave MP

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dave MP

              I've been going there since the mid 80's. I always order off the menu, although the steam table sometimes looks good. They probably use too much msg and oll, but damn the food is good.

              I have had the s&p pork chops and one order is too much of a good thing here. I've had less salty versions elsewhere. The beef stew is not on the menu but they still have it. Their version is nicely spiced and does have a lot of sinew, but that is the way it is supposed to be. My favorite dish is cha sieu with scrambled eggs well done with wok hei. Again, I have never seen this dish with the eggs any other way than well done, which happens to be the way I like it. For years, I have watched many people order the fried fish. Someday I will be in the mood. My friend Dr. Kayo favors the won ton soup when he can't get to a place with matzoh balls or albondigas.

              The other thing I like about B&M is that it still attracts long-time customers. On different occasions, I have run into Chinese woman friends there from my 1st job in 1976 in the East Bay. Occasionally I see people with whom I worked in the financial district in the mid 80's.

              1. re: Dave MP

                Great prices, huge portions. I recently had the scrambled eggs with shrimp, and I prefer my eggs well done so it was just right, and just what I was looking for that day: a big pile of comfort food.

                1. re: DeborahL

                  Yes, Chinese comfort food. Better than a free lunch! When I am attending an event at Moscone where lunch is included in the registration price, I still try to duck out and go to B&M for a rice plate, but not one with duck.

              2. i go there fairly frequently.
                i usually order gun lo mein with wontons and duck with choy sum. ive been having it for 15yrs or so. i now also order the crispy noodles with beef and choy sum. its kinda like oyster sauce chicken over cake noodle from hawaii, which i adore.
                everyone does seem to order the fried fish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mikeylikesit

                  How is the Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice here? Any word? Would be nice not to have to rush to New Loey Woey Goey (and back) when that particular craving strikes.

                2. I ate there more than 3 times a week for several years in the 80's when I worked a few blocks away. Now I have an early lunch there if I go to the Mechanics Institute library. I always found it a value for the rice plate dishes. I came to casually know the son and daughter during that time as well. The son opened a place with similar format in the late 80's near the embarcadero, but I don't think that it survived.

                  The place did an amazing volume. We came to time things to avoid a few rush hour periods - it's a little hazy now exactly when they were. It's also a spot where reserving tables while waiting in line to order wouldn't work - it was just too busy. There were also some distinctive regulars. One fellow always spent a couple of minutes wrapping napkins around his tie and part of his shirt to avoid spills...

                  I used to get a variety of stuff cooked to order (poker chips), most of which were mentioned. The daughter got me started on the (off-menu) soft eggs with shrimp. This is real soft eggs - not scrambled eggs.

                  I haven't been there for a few years (my work schedule changed), but I may be back just to see how it is now.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Tom Simonson

                    Thanks for the report! I think I should try the soft eggs with shrimp!

                    1. re: Tom Simonson

                      Do you remember the other Chinese place on south side of Market past Kearney during that time?. There was a gift store on the ground floor and steep stairs leading up to the "cafeteria." They had the best won ton: duck yee foo and hung tao yee. Also soy sauce with little slices of green hot peppers in it.

                      1. re: Tom Simonson

                        I used to frequent the place in the '80s and they really did an amazing volume. I have vivid recollections of getting my numbered chip, lurking around waiting for seats to open up, and having the food set in front of me pretty much the instant I sat down. I returned a few times in the '90s and the volume had been reduced and the menu changed a bit - but this thread has piqued my interest in returning. The food was not mind blowing in the least, but the overall experience and value was exceptional.

                        1. re: BernalKC

                          I think that it is just as busy now as it was in the mid 80's. At least the times when I have gone during the week when attending a conference at Moscone. They are also open on Saturdays until 2 or 2:30 and not at all crowded then.

                      2. someone brought back some chow fun and chow mein to the office the other day; not mind-blowing, but delicious nonetheless.

                        1. Went again today.

                          Had chow fun with shrimp and black bean sauce. Asked for gai lan instead of peppers, and this cost $1.75 extra, but in my mind is worth it. Nice to have the greens. Noodles had great wok char, shrimp were plump and not overcooked, onions were nice and translucent.

                          They also finally have bitter melon (no more asparagus), and we tried bitter melon with fish (over rice). The fish was thin pieces of fried filet, and were pretty tasty. Also in a black bean sauce, with lots of thinly sliced bitter melon. I'll probably get this with beef next time, as I like the beef/bitter melon combo.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dave MP

                            Bittermelon with fish! I'm heading there asap.

                            1. re: escargot3

                              The bittermelon is an unexpected downtown treat. But the fish breading at B&M Mei Sing is heavy for my taste.

                              They'll do anything you ask. One of my current favorite made-up dishes is bittermelon and chashu chow-fun. It's how I get all of my favorite things from B&M Mei Sing in one dish.

                          2. I've been back here several times over the past year. I've even tried the buffet once or twice, though I think ordering dishes from the menu is better.

                            Recently I had the shrimp and scrambled egg chow fun. The menu notes that the egg comes undercooked, and that was definitely true. Lots of egg, plump shrimp (happily not overcooked), and nicely browned rice noodles. It was a little bit greasy, and the egg was definitely pretty runny, but if you're into this sort of thing, it's definitely worth a try.