Soup's On

Just Won Ton

One of Just Won Ton's singular entrees is the Shanghai New Year's cake, so named because its main ingredient is a round, steamed pastry traditionally consumed on New Year's Day to ensure good luck throughout the coming year. At some point folks started cutting the leftovers into slices and stir-frying them with other ingredients; today, Chinese-Americans prepare an unsweetened version year round expressly for this purpose. The rice-flour cake, dense and bland, is a good foil for the slightly bitter snow cabbage and richly textured pork chunks that share its wok; the result is a strangely addictive dish. The soy sauce chow mein is simple by contrast: a hefty tangle of rice noodles stir-fried with scallions, ginger, and bean sprouts. All in all it's a rather unexciting dish. So is the rice gruel, a watery version of the creamy Hing Lung prototype, its bits of liver and kidney offering only occasional textural respite. But the variety and high quality of the other dishes, served by an able and attentive staff at rock-bottom prices, make such quibbles almost unbecoming.

Since Just Won Ton is a bit lacking in the dessert department, after our meal we headed to the Ginger Island Cafe at 1300 Noriega for post-dinner sweets of intense individuality. Among other things they serve dun dan, a sweet, ephemeral steamed-egg custard made with ginger juice; white fungus, a chewy bit of cardboard with the appearance of a delicate flower; a cool/silky mango pudding splashed with evaporated milk; and (last but not least) snow frog cream, dried frog fat soaked, steamed, and served in sugar water with red dates and lotus seeds. At $20 per ounce, frog fat is nothing to sneeze at, but give me a bowl of wonton soup any day.

Hunker Down and Slurp: Chef/owner Howard Ho presents his signature dish.
Anthony Pidgeon
Hunker Down and Slurp: Chef/owner Howard Ho presents his signature dish.

Location Info


Just Won Ton

1241 Vicente
San Francisco, CA 94116

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Sunset (Outer)


681-2999. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: probable. Muni: L (two blocks north). Noise level: happy.

Wonton soup $3
Chinese tamale $4
Curried pot stickers $4
Beef stomach $5
New Year's cake $4
Soy sauce chow mein $4

1241 Vicente (at 24th Avenue)

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