What happens when you get together a group of 20 food enthusiasts, take them to a popular restaurant with a James-Beard award winning chef, and give them carte blanche to order whatever they want? They order almost the entire menu…twice.
A few weeks ago, Mr. K and I were in San Francisco to attend the North America Chowzter Awards, something I’ll discuss in greater detail in another post. Chowzter is a new company that specializes in recommending fast feasts for cities all over the world. The idea is, if you are visiting a certain city, you can look up their recommendations for a good burger, pizza, ribs, burritos, etc. They recruited food bloggers from various cities to make the recommendations and the weekend trip was a chance for us to meet the food blog writers representing cities in North America, celebrate great dishes, and meet the founders of the company. While we were there, the Chowzter group also took us to some of their favorite places in San Francisco.
None of the restaurants knew we were coming so this wasn’t a “media dinner” type of setting. We just popped in randomly and ordered to our hearts’ content.
I was excited Mission Chinese Food was one of the places they took us to because it’s definitely been on my to-do list. And instead of just ordering a few dishes, I got to sample almost everything.
Tiki Pork Belly (soy caramel, mandarin orange, pickled pineapple, shaved coconut, macadamia nuts)
The pork belly was soft and melty. It was a little too sweet of a rendition for my personal preference but it was enjoyable.
Fresh Squid Ink Noodles
This was one of my favorite dishes from our meal. The wide, flat noodles had a subtle salty and briny flavor and this dish really let the noodles be the star.
Chongqing Chicken Wings
This was one of the items I was most looking forward to and it definitely lived up to the hype. The wings were fried to the point where the fat had been rendered off, leaving behind crispy, thin skin. The wings are tossed in Szechuan peppercorns, which leave a tingling and slight burning sensation on your lips as you eat them. Scattered among the wings and red chili peppers are deep fried pieces of beef tripe. They were super crunchy, almost like eating Cheetos. I’ve never tasted tripe prepared this way and it was quite fun to eat.
These were some of the best wings we’ve tasted this year and this was our favorite dish from our meal here. I’m going to try to recreate the dish soon, since the recipe is shared online.
Kung Pao Pastrami
An interesting fusion, though I thought the pastrami was too salty for the dish.
Fresh Rice Noodle (peanut sauce, tofu skin, pickled mustard greens)
A welcome non-spicy dish.
Tea Smoked Eel (fresh rice noodle, chinese celery, salted plum hoisin, braised pork, cognac soy)
I was really intrigued when I saw this on the menu, but I couldn’t taste the tea-smoke flavor in the eel.
Ma Po Tofu (braised shitakes, aged chili paste, sichuan peper, scallions)
Cumin Lamb Ribs
This was a favorite amongst the group.
Salt Cod Fried rice
Another one of my favorites. I enjoyed the briny bits of salted cod fish mixed in.
Tiger Salad (fine herbs, lettuces, fresh turnip vinegar, chili oil)
Spicy Lamb Dumplings
I have to confess, I dropped the ball on taking photos. We also ordered the thrice cooked bacon and rice cakes, general tso’s veal ribs, westlake rice porridge, combination fried rice, schmaltz rice, and mongolian long beans, but I stopped running around to take photos because I just wanted to enjoy my meal.
We had a lot of fun here, exploring the menu and seeing the chef’s creative take on traditional Szechuan dishes.
Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110