Mission Chinese Food
Mission Chinese Food took both coasts by storm and has left the food scenes in SF and NY reeling. Whether you love it or hate it, no one can discuss the hottest, most influential new restaurants anymore without the Mission name front and center. We love its super casual, divey laid-back vibe, it’s off-the-cuff feel, the bargain prices and the unconventional twist on conventional Asian cuisine. We also love that GW always hooks us up when we visit (check him out: http://sf.eater.com/archives/2012/11/08/mission_chinese_foods_greg_wong_on_four_hour_waits.php)! Woot woot!
We’ve taste-tested the greater portion of the menu (either through our own gluttonous over-ordering or through GW’s generosity), so I’ll build for you my perfect dinner here, based on our favorites from our latest visit.
Start your meal as if you’re at a traditional Chinese banquet, with Beijing vinegar peanuts with smoked garlic, anise and rock sugar. Salty, nutty and sweet, with just the right amount of crunch. The delicious soft garlic was a particular weakness of mine (lucky ATO)!
Another small snack to start: the fresh and crisp “smashed” cucumbers with salted chili, sesame paste and garlic.
Next, move on to the braised pea greens with adzuki beans, Old Bay, boiled peanuts and pumpkin broth. We were all pleasantly surprised, and a bit taken aback, by the layers and depth of flavor of this dish. YUM.
My favorite of the night: the Taiwanese clams with soy caramel, basil, potatoes and fried garlic. Savory and absolutely scrumptious. Finding each huge chunk of broth-soaked potato was like discovering gold on a treasure hunt.
Finally, soak it all in with a big bowl of carbs: spicy peanut noodles with chopped lamb brisket, cucumbers and chili oil. The various flavors mixed and melded into a vigorous and wonderful bowl of noodles.
Bonus: If you’re a big fan of the super peppery Sichuan-style cuisine and love the way it numbs your mouth and stings your tongue (EW and ATO!), here’s a couple of additional dishes you’ll love.
The spicy buckwheat noodles with horseradish, cucumbers, bean sprouts and mala vinegar definitely delivers the kick that its description promises.
The tingy tea smoked chicken with chili sediment, Sichuan pepper, black vinegar and peanuts will definitely knock all your taste buds out!
Double bonus: best “leftovers for breakfast” dish goes to the clean and simple Westlake rice porridge with sweet shrimp, braised beef, egg and cilantro.
One more thing to love about Mission Chinese: the very cool red dragon crawling beneath the ceiling!