Straight out of the chef's home village: Pumpkin fried in egg yolk batter.
Jen Siska
Straight out of the chef's home village: Pumpkin fried in egg yolk batter.

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Hakka Restaurant

4401 Cabrillo
San Francisco, CA 94121

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Richmond (Outer)

Details

Hakka Restaurant
4401 Cabrillo (at 45th Ave.), 876-6898. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thur., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Muni: 5, 18, 31. Reservations: not needed. Noise level: generally quiet.

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If there was one off note, it was the straight-up Cantonese crab with ginger and scallions ($22 on the night we went), beautifully cooked but coated in a brown glaze that had all the dynamism of a Keanu Reeves Hamlet. Stick to the nearby seafood restaurants for that dish. Few of them would lavish the same attention on one last Hakka classic I tried: tofu stuffed with pork ($8.95). Each 2-inch square of soft tofu on the plate had been scooped out in the center, filled with coarsely chopped pork, and slowly cooked. It was the kind of dish any 4-year-old would gobble, with the texture of panna cotta and the flavor of a pot sticker. Somewhere in between my third and fourth piece, though, I stopped and thought about the technique involved in the dish, which required the chef to cut a jiggly block of curd into even squares, stuff it with perfectly seasoned meat, and then fry and simmer it so that not a corner broke off, not a bubble appeared. Like the most celebrated California cuisine, there was an awful lot of work hidden behind something so easy to love.

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