Chowdown at San Tung (Korean Chinese) – SF
I think the Gan Pong Chicken they had was pretty good tasting in its own right – but it’s not authentic. And the real version tastes better in my opinion.
The version at San Tung is too sweet. The Gan Pong Chicken’s main flavor should saltiness rather than sweetness. Sweetness should be one of the background flavors. There should also be a strong garlic flavor. The dry-sauteeing refers to the bits of garlic, carrots, and onions being stir-fried together with the meat over high-heat with minimal wetness. The meat (can be chicken or shrimp) should be infused with this sauce. While the version at San Tung was more like glazed with honey – it reminded me more of Honey BBQ Wings at KFC than Gan Pong Chicken.
The use of chicken wings also contributed to the lack of flavor inside the meat. Normally the meat choice (if boned chicken) are chopped into smaller pieces so that the flavors are better able to get into the meat. By keeping it whole, only the outer skin had flavor.
I’ll have to try the version Han’s recommending to see if it measures up to the original spirit of Gan Pong Chicken.
Dumplings – their filling was good, but the skin suffers from being previously frozen. I wuld rate it similar to the Wei Chuan “high-end” frozen dumplings – which is better than 80% of all the restaurant dumplings I’ve tried in the bay area.
The “two pieces of skin” (salad with julienned veggie and seafood) was one of the two better dishes at the meal. There were a generous amount of seafood and the mustard based sauce mixture tasted good with just the right amount of heat.
Gan ZhaJiangMian (noodle with black bean sauce (dry)) was one of the other better than average dishes. Although the sizes of the diced vegies were bigger than normal, the sauce was done nicely and had right level of saltiness.
ChaoMaMian (spicy seafood soup noodle) was an ok version. Due to the sharing, I couldn’t see what all seafood was there. If it was less than 3 types, then it’s not good. The soup base was also not very rich or spicy as normal.
The sweet & sour beef was a disappointment. Normally, the sauce is very lightly drizzed and the remaining served in a separate bowl on the side for dipping. It should also be slightly sweet and has a vinegary sour taste, neither of which was evident. The beef should be thinly sliced and not in big flat slices like they had.
Overall, I think this place is not up to par on the main entrees. Although one of the reason may be we did not order enough main entrees. Besides the string beans, only Gan Pong Chicken and Sweet & Sour Pork were the main entrees, not a high percentage. The Gan ZhaJiangMian was good, but all others we tried were average to sub-par.
The search goes on for the best Korean-Chinese in bay area…