San Tung: Straddling Korea-China Border in San Francisco

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Restaurant Sign San Francisco

It may not have made the most sense to write about San Tung in 2008. Sure, we enjoyed the wings and potstickers from the popular Sunset district restaurant, but the 15-minute transit time before consumption probably didn’t do either dish many favors. We were glad to have another opportunity to dig deeper, on-site, and we gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of what San Tung is accomplishing just south of Golden Gate Park.

Chinese Restaurant San Francisco
We cozied up to a lazy Susan beneath paper dragons. 2012 is their year in Chinese Astrology.

Kimchi San Francisco
They provided a complimentary plate of kimchi, since the city of San Tung – the owner’s hometown – is close to the Korean border. Korean influences appeared throughout our meal.

Dumplings San Francisco
We dipped boiled shrimp and leek dumplings in savory mix of chile sauce, soy and vinegar.

Dumplings San Francisco
Potstickers arrived with thick, puffy skins, blistered bases and juicy fillings of Napa cabbage-flecked pork, which they flavored judiciously with ginger and garlic.

Chinese Food San Francisco
Dry black bean noodle with Seafood was more or less the Korean dish, jjajangmyeon, with a pasty, savory black sauce coating scallops, shrimp and squid. The onions and zucchini bordered on caramelized, and shaved cucumbers provided a crunchy, refreshing element.

Chinese Food San Francisco
We combined soft beef tripe and crunchy strips of pig’s ear, both marinated in soy sauce. The tripe was a little too soggy, but the ear had great snap.

Chinese Food San Francisco
Chow Mein is often an afterthought, but San Tung does a good job with the dish, with juice from the pork squiggles coating homemade spaghetti-like noodles and vegetables.

Chinese Food San Francisco
Pork noodle soup with tart pickles and more pork swirled in a savory, murky broth.

Chicken Wings San Francisco
So addictive are the famous dry chicken wings that we got two orders. They were coated in a sticky sauce of garlic, chile and ginger that helped to caramelize the crispy skins. The more we ate, the more the flavor built, which is pretty much an ideal scenario.

Chinese Food San Francisco
To pretend like we were eating a balanced meal, we felt obligated to order a token sauteed vegetable. We opted for garlic-kissed spinach, good and simple.

San Tung is definitely a restaurant that’s best to visit with a group, since it allows you to experience more dishes, and they’ll seat you at a lazy Susan, which is always fun. Going with a group also provided us with a better sense for what San Tung is aiming for with their food. They’re not just a standard issue Chinese restaurant; they have regional accents that elevated our interest far beyond their famed wings.

San Tung: Straddling Korea-China Border in San Francisco


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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