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One Quick Bite Part I: Wo Hing General Store

Posted By foodgal On January 12, 2012 @ 5:26 am In Chefs,General,Restaurants | 8 Comments

Opened late last year in the original location of the Slanted Door in San Francisco’s Mission District, Wo Hing General Store is the latest addition to the ever-growing empire of Chef Charles Phan.

It’s named for his Uncle Wo and his Dad, Hing, who opened a general store together in Vietnam after fleeing China. It serves up modern-interpretations of Chinese dishes such as jook, ma po tofu, pork and shrimp won tons, and barbecue pork spareribs with harissa — all executed by Chef Michelle Mah, formerly of Ponzu in San Francisco.

As happens when I’m out and about in the Bay Area on assignments for newspapers or magazines, I found myself in the vicinity of the restaurant after concluding an interview. In need of some lunch-time sustenance, I decided to give Wo Hing a try on my own dime.

It’s a casual place, dominated on the first floor by a large sleek bar with a colorful Asian graphic hanging above it.

Since I was eating by myself, I ordered just one dish — the 5-spice roasted pork belly with sweet soy shiitake mushrooms and Chinese Kansui noodles ($14), which are akin to thicker ramen noodles.

While I was waiting, the server brought over a bowl of complimentary boiled peanuts in the shell to tide me over. As I munched on those, I sipped a delightful Ginger Rickey ($6), a nonalcoholic spritzer of ginger syrup, lime and soda water. Garnished with a lime slice and a sliver of candied ginger, the drink had the definite throaty burn of ginger, which I love.

My bowl of noodles arrived hot and filled to the brim. Slices of juicy, fatty pork belly blanketed the top with a few choice mushrooms. The noodles were nicely springy. The broth, though, was not as robust as expected. It was nourishing, but with an almost pork-light flavor. For ramen aficionados used to very intense broths, this one might prove too tame.

After chatting with another lone diner at a table next to mine, who raved about her favorites of gai lan and Westlake beef jook, I’m eager to come back again when I can try more than one quick bite.

Tomorrow: Another One Quick Bite — In Wine Country at the Kitchen Door

More: A Taste of Charles Phan’s Heaven’s Dog Restaurant

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