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Ming Kee Restaurant formerly known as Happy Bakery, Ocean Ave. - Just Opened 4 days ago! Roast goose is back on our radar... [San Francisco]

Drove down Ocean Ave. today to see what might be happening at the former Happy Bakery. We almost drove on by because there still isn't any new signage & it almost looked like it wasn't open. A closer look revealed a couple of roast ducks hanging in the window & the door was open. With parking Karma on our side, we pulled into a spot almost in front of the door!

After dealing with a little ordering chaos, we were able to buy some Soy Sauce yellow chicken to go, can't remember the prices before, but a whole one is now $17, half $8.50. I'm a little confused by the menu as Soy Sauce chicken is listed at $3.95/lb...

Roast goose was not available today & they were just too busy to answer questions so time will tell. It's on the menu at $25 whole, $13 half.

The eat-in menu at this point is just rice plates w/roasties. A plate of roast pork & duck with rice went by that looked terrific & seems like a good buy at $9.50. This plate might serve 3 average eaters...

Wish they had the fried rice with crispy taro bits & roast duck that we enjoyed when they were on Irving St. during the reconstruction...

Ming Kee Restaurant
Hong Kong Style B-B-Q
1548 Ocean Ave. (near Capitol St.)
San Francisco CA 94112
Open 7 days a week - 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

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  1. This is excellent news!

    The soy sauce chicken has been available in two versions. One is made with the yellow crowned heritage breed, the other with conventional American chicken, and the prices are different.

    1. I got the same soy sauce chicken ($17 whole/$8.50 half) and it is as I remember it from the Irving location. They seem to have managed to keep the quality up in spite of just having opened in a new location.

      I was very glad we had a Chinese speaker along. The place was absolute chaos with lots of frantic energy and loud shouting, though the line was not long. I almost ended up with the wrong style chicken after trying to communicate my order myself, but thanks to my friend I ended up with what I wanted. And it is delicious!

      1. I can help you with that confusion about soy sauce chicken. There's two kinds of soy sauce chicken. One is the yellow chicken which is essentially the Princess yellow chicken but in soy sauce, so that's the same price as the Princess yellow chicken. The other one is more meaty and I believe raised differently? So that one, the price is based on weight.

        1. Ate there last weekend and I must say, except for the new digs, nothing has changed. If it weren't for the good food, they probably would go out of business. Lots of people waiting for take-out or a table, and hardly any organization - but I'll be back for sure.

          1 Reply
          1. re: caryjones

            caryjones: did they have the roast goose when you were there?

          2. Today I heard from a friend who speaks Cantonese that the roast goose will only be available on the weekends...

            3 Replies
            1. re: RWCFoodie

              ah, that makes sense--- goose was available this past weekend.

              I didn't notice an eat-in menu. There was only a big board listing all the roasted meats (half or whole orders). They must have had something I didn't see... there were lots of people eating rice plates with roasted meats and a ginger/green onion/garlic condiment.

              BTW, it's nice that Ming Kee is just a block from Champa Garden!

              1. re: hyperbowler

                When we were there the eat-in menu was under the glass on the table tops. IMO it is quite reasonably priced. I saw very full, luscious plates of roast pork & duck with rice go by and I think they were about $9.00 or so... We had lunched already so we didn't sit, just got our goodies to go.

                I did manage to get a tiny container of that ginger/green onion/garlic condiment but dear husband scarfed it up with his chicken before I could even get a taste!

                Plus I saw a recent Facebook post from KK of a gorgeous plate of regular cha siu, cha siu pork jowl & pork neck. Looked fabulous but I don't know how easy it would be to score these goodies without a Chinese speaker...

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Actually, it's not that roast goose is only available on the weekends. It just depends on whether or not there's stock. It probably just so happened that there wasn't any stock/or sold out the day you went and they had it during weekend. Or while you were there, it wasn't ready yet.

              2. I tried the roast goose at Yee's in Chinatown. Sad to say it was inedible (tough).

                1. I've had the Cantonese roast duck and the salt-poached chicken feet and can say that they're as good as ever. A new item is the char siu made with pork cheeks for a fattier, richer flavor. I've also had the roast pork belly with crispy skin, and it's good but not the run away best in town like the other items.

                  As far as the stir-fry dishes offered at the Irving Street "pop-up", Chef Bill was cooking at Guangdong BBQ Tea House, the successor in that venue. But he changed the menu and the fried rice with crispy taro and duck was not available. And my most recent visit did not taste like his cooking though I did not ask if he had left.

                  A possible lead . . . a look at the online ordering site for Cheung Hing in South San Francisco has a slide show photo of a shrimp dish served in a bamboo cornucopia that is identical to the mountain tea shrimp we had at Ming Kee. I don't know if this is just a stock photo or if this is available at Cheung Hing. Also, I'm not finding anything like that dish listed on the menu. But you might want to follow-up.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I was able to visit Ming Kee today and we had the roast goose and I asked the owner if it was available every day and was told it would be.

                    What was missing was the roast pork belly and was told that they have not made in while and would not until things change (not sure if the chef is too busy or the supplier is lacking) soon.

                    Every was up to par with the food we plates of roast goose, the American soy sauce chicken since we were not fans of the yellow feather chicken and cheek meat BBQ pork.

                    As for the Cheung Hing question on the shrimp dish I had it there a couple of years after a service so it been there for a while. So it not something new.

                    The menu it Ming Kee has been scaled down from the last time my friend was there with a couple of rice plates removed. Business was good even it the rain. I hope the roasted pork belly return soon.

                  2. Last month Jonathan Kauffman wrote a piece on Chinese chicken breeds, including wong mo gai, and took a translator with him to Ming Kee.

                    "The shop also offers two varieties of soy sauce chicken: The fatter, cheaper chicken costs $3.95 a pound, while the yellow-feathered version costs $16.50 for a whole bird. American-born customers, the owner tells my Cantonese translator, prefer the white birds because they want lots of meat. Recent immigrants, who give higher priority to taste, know better."


                    Kauffman told me that Ming Kee's owner said he should be writing about duck or pork, not chickens. I hope that will spur another piece on Chinese ducks and pigs.

                    I'd revisited the soy sauce chicken made with wong mo gai a couple weeks earlier, and I'm happy to say that it is back on form. Complex, nuanced flavors, silky flesh, red at the bone, and perfect snap to the skin.

                    I also really love the barbecue pork neck. And the roast duck is still my favorite in town.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Pork neck = money muscle...or perhaps a portion thereof?

                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          I don't think it's the money muscle. It has a sort of ovoid shape rather than cylindrical.

                          Here's a photo of the same cooked item, uncut, at Guangdong,

                          And a shot of a pig's masseter muscle that looks the same to me.

                          It's well-marbled, has a firmish texture and great flavor. This muscle has an open-grained texture once cooked from dissolved collagen. There's a layer of sweet firm fat on one side. I'd love to try it smoked. A couple times I've scanned a Chinese butcher's counter for the cut but have not seen it.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Compelling. Is the photo of the cooked item sliced from a longer muscle?


                            1. re: Civil Bear

                              No, I don't think so. The ends taper down and the pieces tend to be close in size, so I think they're the full muscle. The cross-cut slices are the shape and about the length of a weeping willow leaf.

                              The photo you linked is the money muscle, yes?

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Yup, the lower left portion, which is the part of the shoulder closest to the neck.

                    1. Just another update Ming Kee has not had goose for while and does not know when it will be back. Was told that to call first to see if it is back. So still looking for goose but will have duck instead.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: yimster

                        In years past, the supply of geese in Chinese businesses dries up during the holidays when there's demand from other market sectors.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Yeah but I asked about 3 months ago and they said they were looking for a new goose source and weren't sure when it would be back.

                          1. re: Civil Bear

                            In September I posted another roast goose source here that no one seems to have acted on.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              if you are referring to Yee's, i did go there in December or January and ordered a half goose to eat in but found it to be very tough and didn't finish it. Maybe i just went on a bad day or they didn't give me the "good stuff"

                              1. re: barleywino

                                No, not Yee's (goose is terrible there), Duk Hing on Stockton Street.

                      2. I'd be thrilled to pay that for goose since the Mary's goose I bought frozen for Thanksgiving at Andronico's the other day was $80, and I've got to cook it.