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Jun 13, 2012 10:06 PM

Broken rice plate at Kim Son, and bubble tea at Purple Kow [San Francisco]

Went to Kim Son in the Outer Richmond tonight for the first time, and it was very good. Dining companion had the Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong (broken rice with pork chop, baked egg, and shredded pork), and I had a rice plate with grilled pork and spring rolls. My plate had regular rice, as opposed to broken rice. Complimentary soup before the meal was cabbage with bits of ground pork, and was very good - one of the better free soups I've had at any restaurant. The rice plates were big and hearty, served with fish sauce/vinegar dipping sauce on the side. I liked that the meat on both plates was garnished with scallions, and my favorite was my dining companion's pork chop (on the bone), though the grilled bbq pork (boneless) was tender and tasty too (I could cut it with my fork). I'd definitely return, as they have a wide range of noodle soups here.

Afterwards, we went next door to Purple Kow. I guess we arrived at a particularly busy moment, because it took about 10 minutes in line before we ordered, and another 10 mins to get our drinks, which in my book is way too long to wait for bubble tea. The drinks are served in large, wide plastic containers that are too big to fit in a car cup-holder. Drinks were $2.50 or so, excluding boba, which costs an additional $0.50, so my grand total for two drinks was over $7.00 with taxes, while a similar order at Wonderful Foods would be about $5.00 (although granted, Purple Kow's drinks are bigger).

Plain green tea with boba was fine - the boba had a good consistency, green tea was not too sweet. The almond milk green tea tasted really bitter to me (compared to the version at Wonderful Foods), so I wouldn't get it again. Anyway, I'm still in the Wonderful Foods camp, even though it's nice to have some variety once in a while.

Both Purple Kow and Kim Son are on Balboa Street @ 37th Avenue in the Richmond

Dave MP

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  1. Two weeks ago I was on the block at lunch time and walked over to see what might have happened to Kam's. The last time I was in Kam's, the side dining room was in the midst of remodeling. I thought that it was just a refurb, but as I discovered, that half of the storefront is now Purple Kow. And Kam's door has a sign saying it's on vacation. Inside, there's no real wall separating the two, just a divider. The remaining Kam's side has a bunch of chairs and tables piled up. I wonder what the real plan is.

    Anyway, I was going to post to ask about Purple Kow, so glad to see your report. I was there around 1pm, at the end of lunch hour. The line was about 20 deep then, too long for me to wait to get a drink to try. I wonder if it's always that busy, since you seemed to run into it too.

    The card I grabbed has a second business on the back. Dessert by Sarah's Creation, (under construction today).

    Purple Cow
    3620 Balboa St
    San Francisco

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Purple Kow had about 10 people waiting in line outside the door, no idea how many more inside, when I drove by on Sunday afternoon.

      Really that good?

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        The macha green tea smoothie with pudding was good when I had it. But I wouldn't want to wait more than 10 minutes for it.

        As I wrote above, the regular tea w/ boba is nothing special and not worth waiting for at all.

    2. The main appeal of Purple Kow is for the "iced milk" drinks with pudding rather than the standard boba. I thought it was OK but very sweet and rich; a half order would have been more than sufficient. Friends who are devotees to the locations in Southern California claim those are significantly better.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bigwheel042

        The website only lists this single location in San Francisco and googling didn't turn up any Purple Kows. Where in Southern California?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          You're right, that's weird that nothing else shows up in Google. My friend (who is from Orange County and went to school in LA) mentioned that she'd been to a SoCal location before as well, but I'm not sure where

          1. re: Dave MP

            Hm, that's all I know too - it's my friend's sister, she lives in Orange County, and she and her husband apparently go to the PurpleKow near their house nearly every week. Didn't catch where it was though; I'll see ifI can find out.

            1. re: bigwheel042

              Ah, so the place down south is actually Half and Half Tea Express, which has a number of locations down there. No idea if the ownership is related to Purple Kow or if it's just that the drinks are similar. I think they said the iced milk drinks at Half and Half are not as cloyingly sweet as Purple Kow's.

              1. re: bigwheel042

                Appreciate the follow-up. The pudding idea is new to me.

      2. Went to Purple Kow today (Wednesday) at 1pm. Only a handful of people in line before me, but I'd been warned by the receptionist at my dentist's office in the next block that they don't brew the tea until you order so I was prepared for a bit of a wait. My almond milk black tea with boba was $3.90 ($3.40 for the tea, 50 cents for the boba), and it arrived in about 10 minutes.

        I had a similar reaction as you Dave MP: From the first sip, the tea tasted on the bitter side to me. Also, the tapioca balls were smaller and mushier than the ones that came in my Wonderful Foods almond milk bubble tea.

        I enjoyed my Purple Kow milk tea but I would never wait in line for it, and for my money, Wonderful Foods' version is far superior.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DeborahL

          Oops, meant to upload a photo with my post, here 'tis.