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Apr 14, 2012 12:55 PM

Sun Hong Kong - Berkeley

Got out of an event nearby and seemed like a good opportunity to give Sun Hong Kong another try. Had to ask for the chef's specials menu.

My favorites were the Sichuan eggplant with fish (not spicy), I could have eaten a whole plate of that myself; an off-menu fresh lotus root dish; and an oyster omelet with Sichuan preserved vegetable (off-menu variation of one made with fish). Salt and pepper pork chops, stir-fried tender greens, and bitter melon with beef and black beans (might have been off-menu as well) were all good. Tried a sort of iced strawberry soup with tapioca, very light and refreshing. With a couple of orders of brown rice the total food cost was $63 for four.

Wine list is weak but the Riesling was a good match and a great value at $19. Racer 5 on draft was $4.25.

I really have to plan a meal ahead one of these days.

One odd thing, the main menu includes all the Kip's stuff, I guess you can also order Chinese food upstairs if you want. They posted it on MySpace:

2439 Durant, a few doors west of Telegraph

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  1. Thanks for the recs. By "off menu" do you mean they were on a specials board, the special menu, or you asked for them?

    I stopped in there about a month ago. Their chicken wings were tangy and not overly sauced. Unlike the one's I've gotten at San Tung, these were still delicious as leftovers the next day. Their Chinese broccoli was as good as I've ever had and plentiful . The one flop was a sizzling plate of salmon which would have been good had the salmon been fresh.

    I hope they do better business during lunch and weekends--- there was no one else there on the Monday night I went there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      We ordered the eggplant, greens, pork chops, and eggs, asked what else was good, the owner suggested the bitter melon and lotus root and substituting oysters in the omelet.

      There were several other parties there when we walked in sometime after 9. I think it's fairly common knowledge among Chinese students that it's a good place to get real Chinese food.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Good calls, Robert. I revisited and took your advice to get the Sichuan Eggplant w/ fish (excellent, not greasy, nicely cooked fish) and the salt & pepper pork chops. I vacillated between whether or not I like the pork chops--- they were thinly cut and bite sized, which was good, but the teriyaki glaze & crispy fried sliced garlic sometimes bordered on overly salty or overly bitter, respectively.

        I asked for what good vegetable options they had today, and the server checked in with the kitchen and mentioned a lotus dish and a mini-bok choy dish. I opted for the lotus, and the waiter soon after told me that the chef wasn't happy with the lotus today. Wow, that was so awesome--- I don't think I've ever been told that at a Chinese restaurant before and I really appreciated it. Instead, he made a lovely dish with crisp and fresh asparagus, shrimp, and black beans.

        Note that they have three menus: a standard multi-page menu, a 3 dishes for $20 menu, and the chef specialties menu.

    2. Is this restaurant related to the sun hk that was in downtown a few years ago?

      3 Replies
      1. re: ckshen

        same owner, not sure of the other specs.

        1. re: ckshen

          Yes, Betty the owner was waiting on us and said that was them. They've been on Durant since 2008. The current chef took over last year.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Do you know if the new chef cooks at lunchtime too? I have gone a couple of times for lunch and I'm getting the feeling the time to go is dinner.

        2. Wow, what a blast from the past. I remember getting rice plates from Sun Hong Kong, twenty years ago. They were always consistently good, at least to my tastes back then. Beef with oyster sauce over rice, I got so many many times. So good.

          Weird that they're located in the old Kip's spot.

          2 Replies
          1. re: choctastic

            I can't believe Kip's is gone! What about Al's(?) pool hall upstairs?

            1. re: Sarah

              Kip's is upstairs, they have a pool table.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Damn, what a bad year for Chinese restaurants in Berkeley.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I was thinking the same thing. Next one over to Sun Hong Kong, please ask where they're moving.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I bet they're not moving, just trying something different. The question is, where will chef Siu turn up next?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    You're right, they're just changing it up. I checked with my friend who is connected there. He said that Chef Siu is "pursuing other interests" and still dreams of opening his own place. I asked that he keep me posted on his next kitchen.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      A few minutes ago I got the sad news that Master Chef Bill Siu has passed away. His service is Wednesday in Oakland. That's all I know. April 2, 1957 - August 6, 2012 RIP.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Seriously!! It's a good thing I cook most of my food at home, including Chinese. Currently my most visited, China Village, Great China, Happy Golden Bowl, and L&L Chinese Seafood are out of commission. I never made it to Sun Hong Kong--I walked in to Kip's once at lunch from work, hoping too, but was too confused by their frat food menu to figure out where to go/how to order. I don't usually believe in conspiracies, but when ALL of the Chinese restaurants between El Cerrito and Berkeley I like better than my home cooking are out of commission...

                    1. re:

                      tm, have you tried Yuet Foo Seafood? Nothing very unusual except the quality of the ingredients and the care with which presented. I had excellent lobster in a spicy ground-pork sauce.