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Aug 21, 2012 08:25 AM

Zhenjiang Pork Chops at Lucky River [San Francisco]

I went to Lucky River for dinner last night, and ordered the Zhenjiang Sweet and Sour Pork Chops, which were my favorite from the Chowdown there back in 2007. They aren't on the regular English menu, but it seems that they are always available (and it might be in Chinese on the wall, not sure). They are listed on the set-meals menu in English, which is how i was able to order them.

Anyway, they were still really great. Crispy fried, thin pork chops coated in a sweet and vinegary sauce—sour and sticky. Huge serving for $10.

We also had Hunan stringbeans, which weren't too spicy, and were cooked well- still a nice snap to them, but not underdone.

Complimentary dessert was a warm coconut/tapioca (or sago?) soup, which was very nice.

Total bill for 2 people was $18 before tip. Enough food for both of us, plus plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Lucky River is on Monterey Ave @ Gennessee in SF

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  1. Just the mention of Lucky River's Zhejiang spareribs makes the mouth water, too long since I've had them. Besides being sweet, vinegary, and sticky, the black vinegar from Zhejiang gives them a woodsy complexity that is haunting.

    Here's a link to your previous thread (2009) about them, including my own post for the lunch plate size order for two.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Ha, thanks for finding my 2009 post! It was much less chaotic on a Monday night than it was on a Friday night!

    2. We were there last Saturday. My 12 year old son's favorite Chinese place. Hot and Sour soup (which has some nice preserved vegtables), Egg Rolls (a very satisfying version); Beef w/ Green Onion, Salt and Pepper Prawns and Soy Sauce Chow Mein. We use it to get our fill of the Cantonese standards, but they often have some attractive sea food items, such as Spot Prawns.

      1. I went in a few nights back-- the ribs were as delicious as you suggested, and were great cold as leftovers in the two days that followed. So much food ...

        I also had the ox tail stew, which was a very pallid dish that contained tofu skin and green onion. The meat was very fatty and the sauce seemed like it had been thickened with corn starch.

        They have two menus there and the chef is from Hong Kong. One menu has largely Americanized and Cantonese fare. The other is pink and has a banquet menu on one side along with English translations, and the other side is only in Chinese. The Zhenjiang Spareribs are listed as part of the pink English-translated banquet menu, and pointing allowed me to order it with no fuss from the server. Just make sure you're clear you just want the ribs and not the full banquet!

        For some reason, the ribs are not listed as an ala carte item on the Chinese-only menu. That menu has a hodgepodge of Cantonese dishes not on the English menu (e.g., quail, intestines, and some kind of fish balls) but also things like kung pao chicken. There are still tons of specials on the walls.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          Actually, we had a chowdown there six years ago to order the banquet dinner. The Zhejiang spareribs were the run away hit. Here's the report,

          I should also mention that the dining room is up a flight of steep stairs from the front door. When I take my mom there, we go in the side entrance that's uphill a bit. Still some steps but not as many.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            Glad you liked them! Not sure why they don't put them on the regular menu, along with the other style of pork chops that's on there. They're really delicious!

          2. I recently had a work lunch there. The BBQ roast pork (chashu) was exceptional. It was a generous portion of succulent, moist pork. We had other dishes, but that's the one I keep thinking about.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jillyju

              I've had mostly great stuff at Lucky River recently.

              Off the Chinese menu, the roast pork, roast duck, & jellyfish salad (叉燒火鸭海哲拼 , $10.95, top left of main section) had fantastic pork as jillyu mentioned and even better jellyfish salad. The roast duck was juicy all around, but had a few flavorless pieces. The skin wasn't crisp, but I had this just before closing so YMMV.

              The taro & cured duck clay pot (芋頭臘鴨煲, $8.95, yu tou la ya bao , 4th from the bottom on the left side) is one of the best taro dishes I've eaten. The flavor of the duck bathed the taro, which was soft but held its structure. Once the dish was finished, I had lots of the intense liquid leftover. Mixed with rice, it made for a great meal the next day. It's not the most elegant looking dish, and I've since seen this dish on other Cantonese menus around town, but as my first stab at this dish, I'm a fan and crave others.

              The won ton soup was kind of a dud

              The sauteed pea greens, I think I just asked the server for seasonal greens, were lightly cooked and abundant.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Thanks for the specific recommendations, you're starting to make me think I should dine in next time as I've had no luck with take out.