is a yearlong project to canvas Chinatown, block by block, discovering
the good, the bad, and the hopelessly mediocre. Maximum entrée price:
The loud static of Hing Lung's perennial rush hour -- spoons clanking against ceramic, the squee of chairs being pushed back, the roar of Cantonese voices -- always seems at odds with its serene congee. Even with a cruller to dip into the rice porridge or the funk of a thousand-year egg, the reassuring blandness of congee always seems to quiet the other noise rushing about in your head.
Not on SFoodie's last visit, however, when the fish and meatball congee we ordered, which has never let us down before, was tinged with that murky, algaelike smell of freshwater fish that wasn't so fresh.
Good thing Hing Lung's other specialty, stir-fried yee mein, was abuzz with textures. Segments of the skinny, kinky wheat noodles crisped up where they had touched the sides of the hot wok, while other lengths relaxed, each noodle still chewy and distinct. Each shrimp was an explosion, each wedge of baby bok choy a watery crunch. And the only seasoning the noodles needed were salt and wok hay, that breath of smoke that leaves no sign of charring.
Hing Lung: 674 Broadway (at Stockton), 398-8838.