5821 Geary Boulevard (at 22nd)
415 752 4440
Ton Kiang is a Chinese restaurant specializing in both hakka cooking and dim sun. It is located towards the western part of town on Geary Street. Hakka cooking is both gutsy and folksy. Since the hakka were poor, they often used a broad variety of organ meats and other unusual ingredients, but the style works well with more conventional ingredients as well.
They do have healthy food as well as hearty food. The healthiest part of our meal was the peeled asparagus in a rich savory sauce. We also had a delicious, brightly flavored sea weed salad. These were our lone sops to health.
We also ran a proper arterial stress test, starting with steamed bacon with dried mustard greens. The steaming seemed to make the big chunks of slab bacon even richer and chewier than ever, and both the hakka and American southerners both know how well mustard greens go with bacon. We also had the thinly sliced, deep fried beef short ribs. They cooked short ribs, then cut them into 1/4 inch slices with a cleaver, breaded and deep fried them. The result is totally wonderful and amazing, but also fantastically rich. Short ribs are one of the most deeply cuts of beef and deep frying just makes their flavor deeper.
We continued punishing our circulatory system with the fried squid and then the Peking duck. The former was excellent and the latter stupendous. In a fat induced stupor, we went for one more dish, a clay pot cooked dish with a mix of shrimp, cuttlefish, scallops and fishballs. This was down home, stick to the ribs cooking.
We'll recommend Ton Kiang for those cold, biting days that seem to hollow one out. Of course, you could order a bit less than we did, but the food here is hard to resist.
UPDATED 2007 - Wow! Ton Kiang is as good as ever. The food is as rich and wonderful as we remembered it, including the wonderful bacon with dried mustard greens. There isn't much more to say. Go, for a great family style meal, and try everything.