Thursday, November 03, 2011

Food, glorious food

On my flight to SF on Virgin Atlantic I watched a video segment created by Chefs Feed. The program is based on an iphone app which gets the recommendations of the best chefs in a given city on where and what they eat when they are not working.

Curious, I took notes on the places recommended, got off the plane, dropped off my bag and went to Lung Shan Restaurant, also known as Mission Chinese Food. It's a short walk from the 16th St. and Mission stop of the BART.

It's crowded and dark and has a faded chinese restaurant decor. I was the only table of one during their lunch rush and they were extremely unhappy about this.

The waitstaff seemed to be a mix of Asian American dudes and tiny older Asian women who don't speak much English. They smiled and chatted with everyone else in the place except me at my four top solo. It was extremely not subtle.

I ordered the Tea-Smoked Eel and the Salted Cod Fried Rice. The Fried Rice was the Chefs Feed chef's recommendation.

The Tea-Smoked Eel arrived and went and then they tried to give me the check and shoo me from the place. I am glad that I insisted on staying for the other course.

The Tea-Smoked Eel sounded like it would be heavenly. I love Eel. I love noodles. A noodle wrapped mess of tea-smoked eel with chinese celery, sounded like it would be a great balance between smokey soy eel, with the crisp celery blanketed in lovely noodle. There was also some kind of crunchy thing, like corn flakes but not. Eel can be a bit boney, scratching your throat with the swallow, the crunchies did not help. I could see adding it to balance the texture of the big floppy noodle.


They also included pulled ham hock in the noodle wrap. The ham hock of itself was delicious. It was also excellently paired with a lovely noodle and chinese celery. And totally went with the crispy thing. But it masked any evidence that there's eel in there.

I was disappointed.

But then there was Salted Cod Fried Rice. It looks like a big heap of fried rice with egg, scallions, chinese sausage and tons of cilantro. And then. Ginger. They also put in thinly sliced slivers of ginger.

Amazing. It was salty and not too oily, very light, and ginger scallion-y. The egg was perfect. The sausage. I thought I was full when the rice arrived. And I promptly scarfed half the plate down. It was love. It was 10 years of hugs. I didn't care how much the staff scowled at me or the about the anxious hungry waiting customers. I was communing with something sublime. And by God, it was going to be a part of me. Such satisfaction. Perfect on a grey drizzly day.

I wished that I had come with a group of people so that I could taste and then gobble up the rest of the menu - the broccoli beef cheek or the sizzling cumin lamb, at least.

So, go with friends. If you don't have friends get take out or make friends for this purpose.

Have the Salted Cod Fried Rice, order everything except the Tea-Smoked Eel and tell me how it is.

They serve booze. They take credit cards.

That fried rice is so good that they don't have to be nice, they just have to bring the plate.


1 comment:

jy said...

I absolutely love that place, I went a couple of times when I was in SF. The beef cheek broccoli and cumin lamb are both excellent, as is the mapo tofu. Yum.