BBQ pork spareribs – Ton Kiang

BBQ pork spareribs Ton Kiang

You can’t really mess up Chinese bbq pork spareribs, right?  I mean all you have to do is marinate it, cook it, and voila – deliciousness!  Not so.  You certainly can make them really boring and forgettable.  And Ton Kiang succeeds in doing this, sorry.  There was very little flavor in these ribs, and even the fat was somehow bland if that’s possible.  This is also one of their larger dishes you it’s gonna cost you more $$.  Take my advice, don’t pull this one off the roving trays.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

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Tofu skin rolls – Ton Kiang

Tofu skin rolls Ton Kiang

Steamed bean curd skins stuffed with what tasted like a meat and shrimp mixture, in a brown sauce and topped with chopped green onions.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

This was one of the few successes during my visit to ton Kiang.  It was very tasty and the 3 pieces were decently sized.  I’m not sure what the oily brown sauce was, but it had a nice mild flavor.  I loved the texture of the soft, filmy tofu skin surrounding the dense meat filling.  I don’t know if these skins were store bought, but I would love to see how they are made by hand.  It looks pretty cool from what I’ve seen online!

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

Siu lung bao – Ton Kiang

Siu lung bao Ton Kiang

Steamed Shanghai meat (pork) and soup dumplings.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

Are you kidding me?!  This has got to be one of the worst Shanghai soup dumplings I’ve ever tried.  I remember someone once saying that they didn’t like it when xiao long bao are steamed in foil cups, and now I know why!  This dumplings were so dry and barely had any soup inside.  The wrappers were thick and gummy, and the metallic reflection of the foil seemed sad compare to the beautiful, transulent green of a napa cabbage leaf or even a parchment round.  If you want to try Shanghai soup dumplings for the first time, do not go to Ton Kiang!

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

Yeung qi dze – Ton Kiang

Yeung qi dze Ton Kiang

Deep fried eggplant slices filled with a shrimp mixture.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

Yet another disappointing dish from Ton Kiang.  These stuffed eggplants are one of my favorite dim sum dishes, and they managed to completely ruin it for me!  You can see from the photo that the color is a bit off and that’s because this was one of the greasiest things I’ve ever eaten!  The greasy was literally dripping off this thing once you picked it up with chopsticks, EW!  It had absolutely NO flavor except from the excessive oil that end up coating your entire mouth.  Good thing this was the last plate we had, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to taste the others from the oily film coating our taste buds.  Sadness…

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

Congee – Ton Kiang

Congee Ton Kiang

Rice porridge topped with fried crispy wontons and chopped cilantro.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

My first congee experience was horrible and I’ve never liked this Chinese rice porridge since.  I was in the San Francisco Chinatown and had walked into a random Chinese restaurant where everything was written in Chinese except for a few menu items tacked onto their walls, one of which was congee.  I ordered the chicken congee without really knowing what it was.  When I received the HUGE bowl of white rice porridge, I was so disappointed.  There are a few textures I really don’t enjoy and runny, slightly slimey, slightly thick and gelatinous porridge with bits of things floating in it is one of them, lol!  I took a few bites, left the restaurant, and have never tried congee since. 

…Until my trip to Ton Kiang!  And I must admit, that it wasn’t half bad this time around.  It still took some mental tricks on my part to try it, but I believe that I almost enjoyed it.  I think this version was thinner than the previous and didn’t have any mysterious ingredients hiding inside.  The crispy wontons and cilantro also helped to disguise the porridge texture and added some familiar flavors.  I’m not going to start ordering congee on a regular basis, but at least now, I know I can somewhat enjoy it!  🙂

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

Gao choy got – Ton Kiang

Gao choy got Ton Kiang

Steamed then pan fried green chives and shrimp dumplings.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

I’ve mentioned before that these dumplings are one of my favorite kinds of dim sum.  I love the strong, sharp taste of the garlic chives and the crisp texture of the fried ends.  These dumplings at Ton Kiang, however, were SO tiny!  They were the size of those frozen dim sum dumplings you get at Asian markets that always seem to be on sale.  Naturally, these 4 dumplings went down quickly and barely made a dent in our dim sum hunger.  I also remember the filling being somewhat dense and dry.  This maybe one of my favorite dumplings, but this version was a disappointment.

Dipping sauces Ton Kiang

Dipping sauces.  The yellow sauce was hot mustard, but I’m not sure what was the green sauce.

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012

Ha gao – Ton Kiang

Ha gao Ton Kiang

Steamed shrimp dumplings wrapped in a translucent wheat and tapioca starch wrapper.
Ton Kiang, San Francisco

Har gow is one of my favorite dim sum items because it’s delicious and the least scary looking thing on the roving carts (or trays in the case of Ton Kiang). I didn’t like a lot of the dim sum at Ton Kiang, but I did like these. They were filled with HUGE chunks of shrimp and had a great flavor! The wrapper was on the thick side, but it wasn’t tough or dry.  Still a favorite! (Thank god Ton Kiang didn’t ruin this one for me.)

Green tea Ton Kiang

Complimentary green tea.

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2010, 2011, 2012