Wow that looks crazy legit
Next time you’re in SF pickup some excellent waxed meat goodies at Mow Lee Shing Kee & Co in Chinatown. You won’t be able to find anything equivalent in LA.
Thanks @Sgee! You scared me for a sec when I read “waxed meat”! I was thinking… “like the waxed fake food displays in front of some Japanese restaurants?!” LOL. Then I clicked the link.
Ah, so like preserved duck, sausages, etc. Wow that looks good! How do you cook that? Any recommendations?
This is the classic HK Cantonese method to serve the waxed goodies “Lap Mei Fan”.
Alternatively just toss in a couple sausages into the rice cooker mid-way through cooking to steam them. Slice the sausages thinly and serve with a dipping sauce of white vinegar&minced garlic. This dipping sauce is especially good with the liver sausages (darker colored).
They carry the best waxed meats I’ve in had in the US. Definitely worth a detour.
This looks incredible! Unfortunately I don’t have a clay pot at home. Also I don’t think clay pots heat up on electric stove tops do they? But I can try the sausages into the rice cooker method you mentioned. Thanks!
Yeah the clay pot & cooking over charcoal imparts a wonderful added aroma & bonus socarrat if get a chance to try it in the future. The meats are also great diced and tossed into fried rice.
I was hoping you would go!!! I am so glad you got to try Ming Kee out!!
I think you trust me
I randomly daydream about that pork neck and roast duck!!
Thanks for the great recommendation @JeetKuneBao.
This place is special. I wish there was an HK BBQ shop in So Cal that served this BBQ Pork Neck.
Not HK BBQ but I had grilled pork neck at Night and Market Song. Very tasty.
Still prefer Ming Kee. I am not sure about Vancouver/Richmond B.C. but this place might just be the best HK BBQ in the West Coast. I don’t think anyone is doing HK BBQ at this level in SGV or Bay Area.
Seems pretty unappreciated by the foodie media.
Majority of the customers are local Canto’s and Chinese college students.
That pork neck has to be one of the best damn pork dishes around. @PorkyBelly you need this in your life, might even change your screen name to PorkyNeck
I was going to suggest the pork toro at night + market too, grilled fatty tender porky goodness.
We were there after lunch rush, maybe 2 p.m., and they still had all 3 of the primary BBQ meats, but @beefnoguy might know if that’s normal or if they sell out earlier than that.
Hope you like it!
One more note on that arrival time: At that late period in the afternoon, while the roast duck still had crisped skin and was very tasty, it was only barely warm (not hot). Which makes sense if they roast all their ducks earlier in the day. The BBQ pork neck was still hot though (probably the way they can keep it, vs. hanging ducks in the chopping block area). So maybe earlier would get you slightly warmer duck? (But the duck was delicious as is with the hot steamed rice.)
Over the years there have been lots of Cantonese dishes available in San Francisco that have been rare to non-existent in Los Angeles. Reason is fairly simple–in Cantonese-American parlance, San Francisco was always “dai fow” or big city. And what was “yee fow” or second city? That was Sacramento, because Los Angeles was a Chinese backwater until late 60s immigration reform, such that food pickings were slim. I’d read discussions on the predecessor board of old time Cantonese dishes that people were looking for or reminiscing about in SF Chinatown and never heard of any of them. And to this day the Bay Area is much more Cantonese than LA is.
So glad you made it to Ming Kee!
I’ve spoken enough about them on that other food board, but sometimes it fell on deaf ears or people are going but not saying anything. Either that or people encounter inconsistencies or they prefer one of their competitors, Cheung Hing (on Noriega) by Toishanese where the roasted meats are supersized (makes you wonder if they were injected with growth hormones or anabolic steroids) and customers get a false sense of value while savoring in their marinades that are far less complex and far more salt forward (e.g. CH’s soy sauce chicken)…but hey to each their own!
But folks, one key point about Ming Kee is that the butchers/owners are 100% Hong Kong Cantonese. Cheung Hing and many other places (e.g. Chinatown) are Toishanese Cantonese, and they do things properly to Hong Kong expats. There are seasoning and recipe marinade differences/approaches even to roasties vs how other places do it. The same goes for if you get a roast duck from a Vietnamese Chinese place in the South Bay. Hard to explain, you have to taste enough for yourself to tell the differences.
Ming Kee does roasties right and as a neighborhood place with a super loyal local following, the QPR / ROI is very high. SF is lucky to have them. In other markets one would have to spend money at a seafood place with a roasties department to get premium quality, but the value is not there as much (and those are meant as appetizers). The duck at MK is not the absolute greatest, but not bad at all, at least meaty enough and not a ton of fat and quite flavorful at times. I am very curious about their marinated duck though, so I may get half to go sometime and give it a try. They also have BBQ chicken liver (not listed on their menu) but I haven’t tried it yet.
Their soy sauce chicken has always been legendary. A sufficiently sweet yet complex and nuanced marinade. R&G Lounge does a good soy sauce chicken too, but theirs is cloyingly sweet many times. “Princess chicken” is empress chicken, which is kind of like poached/Hainan kind of chicken but the herbs and seasoning used are more complex (in Cantonese it’s pronounced Gwai Fey Gai). They actually use two types of chicken for both renditions that you can request…the regular chicken which I prefer for soy sauce, and the range (bonier but more flavorful) for the Empress chicken. Some of my friends prefer the range chicken for soy sauce and that’s pure preference.
The BBQ pork neck meat/jowl seems to be recent addition since they remodeled and moved back to their current location (I don’t recall that before). It is really rich and of course excellent. All I can say is, not all roasties chefs have the confidence and ability to pull something off like this. For those who are watching their diet, could stick with regular BBQ pork/cha siu, and even the semi fatty cuts taste rich enough that can be as delicious. You can also find BBQ pork neck meat as an entree or rice plate at Smile House Cafe on Taraval, except SMC uses artificial coloring to make the edges look nice and reddish…but still quite delicious, not as excellent as Ming Kee for sure.
For the roasties rice plates, you can ask for a 3 meat combo plate (about $12.50), but only restricted to ones where they have enough quantity to not have a minimum order (e.g. half a marinated duck)…so BBQ spare ribs, BBQ pork/cha siu, empress chicken, soy sauce chicken, roast duck).
Their saltwater marinated chicken feet are very interesting and make for good beer snacks (sold by the pound). They also have soy sauce marinated duck tongues and a few other interesting bites (also by weight)…makes us wish we all have multiple stomachs like cows.
Sgee, good call on Mow Lee Shing Kee. Looks like Toishanese Cantonese ownership. Their lap ngap (preserved duck leg and butterflied) looks absolutely killer too. Given how food culture is dying a slow death in Hong Kong, we should fully appreciate and treasure whatever we have in the USA/Chinatowns and all. Them and Golden Gate Fortune Cookie company too.
Thanks @chandavkl. Very interesting historical insight, I had no idea of that situation!
Thanks @beefnoguy. Another great recommendation!
Yah the Hong Kong BBQ at Ming Kee is just wonderful, and as you said, the flavors / seasonings standout as well (and with the visit to Sam Woo down here, there’s just no comparison).
I’ll definitely have to try the Princess Chicken next time then. I didn’t even see the Duck Tongues on the menu.
Do you have a place to recommend that’s even better for Hong Kong Roast Duck (we really liked Ming Kee’s)? Or is that the provenance of fancy Hong Kong Seafood Palaces?
You’re welcome! Glad that our great yet modest neighborhood Ming Kee doesn’t disappoint a SoCal FTCer!
I had Sam Woo (San Gabriel Square/Focus plaza) years ago, probably circa 2002/2003 and found it to be on average or on par with some of the mediocre South Bay Area Canto roasties stir fry kind of places. The Sam Woo in Toronto (probably Richmond Hill/Scarborough areas) however when I had it around late 1990s was legendary for its time. Perhaps it is a case of resting on their own laurels and fame, and knowing the locals down there have not much other choices (what could be worse? The roasties from 99 Ranch?). That’s a huge problem when it comes to less specialization.
You’ll need to go with a local to MK who speaks Cantonese at Ming Kee next time to get into the off the path stuff that they offer. The most sad thing is that Ming has the technical skills to roast geese, but unfortunately he is unable to secure a steady supply that is of consistent quality that he is satisfied with, and I’m guessing most of the time it’s not available (or they just gave up). I’ve had the pleasure of trying his goose before twice, but last time (some years ago) it wasn’t as great.
To optimize your experience next visit you might need to purchase the roasties by weight, gather more people so you can try a wider spectrum, Uber/Lyft them to your AirBnB with a nicely equipped kitchen, reheat gently in the oven (or in a rice cooker when the rice is done, using steam heat) cook some vegetables (you know, to balance it out) and pop open your favorite wines and have a blast (Rieslings would work for sure, maybe a Chablis premiere Cru if you are feeling spendy, and/or a Beaujolais Cru: Morgon or Fleurie come to mind, particularly with the fattier cuts of meat and perhaps with a little BBQ liver) and maybe certain fuller bodied Junmai sake (dryer or aromatic types) would be fun to explore with them.
I don’t have a favorite roast duck place up here. I don’t eat enough half ducks or whole ducks to make that judgement call, and rice plate/a la carte ducks can vary. Cooking Papa (Foster City) otherwise is decent in a pinch, and ditto for Cheung Hing in Millbrae when one is willing to lower standards and allow the roasties to do its job for you for satisfying general cravings. Family loved the roast duck at Gold/Golden Mountain before in SF Chinatown (banquet type restaurant) which unfortunately I never got to try, as they have shuttered and unfortunately replaced with China Live and 8 Tables…
Ooh! Hong Kong Roast Goose! My friend from Hong Kong lamented once to us that there was almost no HK Roast Goose in L.A. to enjoy. But it sounds like even Ming Kee can’t get a good supply, darn.
Thanks for the other tips; it sounds really cool if we lived up there. We usually go the hotel route, so no kitchen access.
Actually, LA (or SGV) was more predominantly Taiwanese influenced.