Mission Chinese Food – San Francisco, CA

Prior to dining here, I have only heard about Mission Chinese because of the ever so popular Salt Cod Fried Rice. I am a huge fan of salted fish fried rice and have not found one that I like as much as what I have tried in Canada. A told me about this place some time this year and I have been itching to try it out.

I met Jo, Sandy & Ben an Urbanspoon event a few blocks from Mission Chinese; when Jo and I tried to order some take out from Mission. The wait was a tad too long that night so that idea fell through. A couple months later, we did manage to get together for dinner at Mission Chinese.

To avoid any long waits, we picked a random weeknight and made plans to meet before 6 pm at the restaurant. As luck may have it, we got a table pretty much right away. The restaurant filled up by 6.30 and a line has formed by 7.

It is so random that this restaurant does not have its own signage and the glaring Lung Shan banner, which is a Chinese delivery restaurant is all you see.  Not to mention the gaudy decor that makes this place looks like a brothel in Asia or some scene of a Chinese horror movie. LOL

The menu is not super extensive but has enough choices.

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We ordered way to many dishes for four but we did enjoy a nice range of the menu:

Smashed Cucumbers in Garlic Sauce $4

Salted chili, sesame paste and fresh coriander

Refreshing and delicious. The cucumbers were crunchy, creamy, salty with a hint of spice.
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Savory Egg Custard $12

Sea Urchin, Trout Roe, Citron, Apple and Green Perilla

I did not enjoy this dish at all. The custard was served almost ice cold – topped with random bits of salty briney sea urchin and cod roe. The roe was awfully fishy and even the crunchy bits of sweet tart apple did not help. I thought it was strange and not very good.

That said, Sandy really enjoyed this dish so it could be just me?
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Mapo Tofu $11

Berkshire Pork Shoulder, Broadbean past and chili oil

Not intensely meaty like what I am used to – the soft silky tofu with salty spicy mabo sauce was the star. Very good with rice! It is greasy with chili oil but that is typical of mabo tofu so it didn’t bother me.
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Salt Cod Fried Rice $10

Mackerel confit, chinese sausage, egg and scallion

The signature dish that seems to be raved about. It was definitely one of the better dishes of the night. The rice was a tad over done and was missing the “wok hei”, smokiness from usual fried rice at Chinese restaurants but it did taste good. Bits of salty fish, sweet salty chinese sausage and scrambled egg was evenly spread around. Pretty good.
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Mongolian Long Beans $10

Leeks, roasted chili, horseradish and garlic shoots

I was a not a huge fan of this dish. I don’t think many of us were coz this dish looked quite untouched at the end of the meal. The veggies were covered in chili oil and was kinda bland – with the prominent flavour being bitter chili oil and cumin.
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Sizzling Cumin Lamb $13

Salt and Peppered Lamb Belly, chili picked long beans

As much as lamb is usually my favourite, this was not the case. I appreciate that the meat was not intensely gamey but there was too much spice on this dish. It was covered in salt pepper cumin powder that it coats the mouth and was overwhelming. After this dish, all we smell was cumin because it was prominent in three of our five main dishes. Not a fan..
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General Tsao’s Veal Rib $17

Spit Roasted and Dry Fried

I was expecting a crispy fried rib but we ended up being served this slab of braised meat. I almost wonder if we were served the wrong dish and got the hot and sour rib tips. But I was assured this was the veal rib. Regardless of not being what we expected, this was the favourite dish of the evening.

Rich fatty veal, not the least bit gamey and packful of flavour – sweet, salty with a nice kick from the spices. A little too much oil like all the other dishes. It was meaty with nice layers of melt in your mouth fat. Delicious.
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Lamb Face Noodle Soup $11

Braised Lamb Cheek, Fresh Shanghai Noodles, Pickles, Peanuts and Pea Shoot

Another group favourite. The soup was so fragrant with bits of meat, peanuts and complex flavours. Almost like the Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup but gamier from the lamb. The noodles were cooked to a nice aldente and it slowly absorbed all the flavours from the soup.

The chunks of lamb were so tender and delicious! This might be a bit much to finish alone because of how intense the soup is and by the time I am done with my share, it starts being overwhelmingly salty.

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Total Damage: ~$110 (I can’t remember the exact about but it was about $25- $30 each)

Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 (Pretty Good)

The food was tasty but everything was pretty similar. There was definitely cumin and chili oil overdose and in the end, our taste buds were all muddled. This is nothing cutting edge or creative, the flavours are quite traditional chinese. Other than fancier names and ingredients, the taste of home is still there.

I don’t think I would wait in line for the food but I would not turn it down as an dining option because the food for the most part was quite tasty.

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Mission Chinese Food

Lung Shan Restaurant
2234 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94110

(415) 863 2800

Mission Chinese Food on Urbanspoon

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