Our plan to eat at every food serving establishment along San Bruno Avenue continued this week with a very big lunch at Wing Hing Restaurant. Run by Flora Luo, it has been in business for 18 years, opening in 1994. I was joined, as usual, by Robert Ramirez and William Lee from the Portola Neighborhood Association. We sat down at a table overflowing with great food for our lunch.
The first impression, as we delved in, was that this was classic Chinese food. The duck was very tender, full of flavor and had a clean, crisp skin. Then the roast and BBQ pork arrived, again the meat was very soft, moist and full of flavor. So often I’ve eaten these types of dishes and they arrive dry and tough but at Wing Hing’s they were clearly serving up fresh and carefully cooked proteins.
Our request to sample their specials and most popular dishes ended in a very crowded table. To our delight we were about to devour their special West Lake Style Soup, roast duck, BBQ pork, roast pork, sweet and sour pork and Jie Jie Gai Bow (something not on the menu which features Chinese sausage, chicken, mushrooms, carrots and snow peas all cooked in a clay pot).
The roasted pork, duck and BBQ pork are usually seen hanging in the window of many Chinese establishments. It is very popular for patrons to buy 1lb of meat for under $10, which then serves a family of 4-6. Many will just buy the meat, have it butchered onsite and then take it home and prepare the rest of the family meal around it. The prices on the menu are very affordable. If you order lunch, it will include a fresh soup of the day, something many restaurants do not include.
Talking with Flora, she said that in the daytime, the place is packed at lunch and in the evenings they mostly cater for take out orders over the phone and they are picked up by locals. Note: they do not deliver but are located on San Bruno Ave, with parking right out front. Flora said their most popular dishes are BBQ pork, broccoli beef, sweet and sour chicken and the seafood is a common order from Chinese locals. BBQ pork is very popular because of the variety of ways it is served: with rice, in a noodle soup, with chow mein, with eggs or rice. Unlike the roasted pork and duck, which when refrigerated can lose its crispness, the BBQ pork can be stored and reheated.
The head chef, or as Flora referred to him, Sifu (which translates to “master”), spent most of his time butchering the meat at the front of the shop. He was very friendly, and his agility with the knife, separating a duck in seconds, was quite a sight.
Then came the surprise, Flora walked over and asked if we wanted to try the one dish, not on the English menu, they serve that is unique to Wing Hing… frog! I didn’t hesitate, I’ve had frog in my travels through Europe, and I was keen to try it Chinese style. After some discussion and translation between Flora and William, it was decided the best preparation would be with garlic and fresh roasted ginger.
Within ten minutes, they had stir fried up the frog dish which Flora was keen to mention was “very high in nutrients and often drunk with a beer”. Unfortunately we had forgotten to order beer, (something we’ll correct at the next lunch outing!) but actually the delicate taste of the ginger, garlic with the onions and frog was excellent. It was a good end to a very satisfying meal.
This was the first of quite a few Asian restaurants along San Bruno Ave and they have set the bar high. We plan to eat at them all and report about it here! Next stop, Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe at 3030 San Bruno Ave. We will be there at 12pm on Wednesday the 25th April, feel free to join us.