Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hung Ky
Hung Ky is one of those hidden find gems that survives entirely through word-of-mouth. It's a small and bright Vietnamese place in the Tenderloin and has a very limited menu--but what it offers, it does very well. Some of the items I'm about to mention are, according to madre, the best she's tasted outside of Vietnam.

Shrimp spring rolls

The standard fare. Fresh shrimp, thin rice wrapper, and excellent sauce.

Free-range chicken and rice noodle soup

This is a light yet filling noodle soup. The chicken is lean with texture that is very evidently free-range (tender yet a bit tougher than regular chicken). The broth is rich and well seasoned, and the noodles are smooth and slippery. The noodles never lose their springiness in the course of consumption. A simple Vietnamese dish but hard to find as perfect a bowl.

Bun rieu

Bun rieu is one of my favorite Vietnamese choices, but in SF it's less commonly offered than pho (which I love as well). Bun rieu basically rice noodles with crabmeat, tofu, bean sprouts, tomatoes, and other various vegetables in a hearty soup of chicken stock, tomatoes, and shrimp. Savory but slightly sweet at the same time, this makes for an aromatic and delicious dish.

Banh Cuon

This is Hung Ky's signature dish; it's popular, so they run out pretty early sometimes. Banh cuon is steamed rice rolls with black fungus and pork. The thing that differentiates theirs and others is the wrapper. These are smooth, translucent, and melt in your mouth. These are made through an extensive steaming process in house, where the rice liquid is poured onto a steaming metal plate and left to cool. The filling is generous and authentic as well, with much lean pork and abundant black fungus shreds. Most places are lazy and just use pre-made rice rolls which are thick, chewy, and rough. You can tell when they are white and hide the filling. Here are some examples:
Four Sisters in Falls Church, VA Yummy Yummy on Irving

Hung Ky is definitely a place to try out for these dishes. I hear that their other choices aren't as great, but the authenticity of everything is really unmatched.

Hung Ky
337 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Between Ellis St and Eddy St

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, love your blog! Just recently discovered (via Beck and Posh).

Second, I was perusing trying to find some dishes like my mom use to make. I was totally intrigued by the menu so I did a chowhound search and lo and behold! I find you have already reviewed it! So now I am soooo going to Hung Ky! I get so depressed by what very few I've tried, I almost gave up.

1/28/2006 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's me again! The online menu says food to go and I can't reach anyone by phone. Is there any space at all to sit down? If so, how many? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much in advance.

2/06/2006 6:45 PM  

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