Wo Hing General Store: Cantonese Home Cooking Not for the Masses

Categories: 'Eat', Mission
Wo_Hing_catfish.jpg
Kimberly Sandie
Wo Hing General Store's steamed catfish with black bean sauce.
​It took me a few weeks to sort through my feelings about Charles Phan's new Wo Hing General Store, the subject of this week's full-length restaurant review in the paper. The Slanted Door owner is nationally known for Vietnamese food, but here he's finally applying the Phan treatment -- simple food made with high-quality ingredients, plus great cocktails, wines, and teas -- to homestyle Cantonese cuisine. And by homey we're not just talking about steamed fish with black bean sauce, we're talking scrambled eggs and steamed pork patty.

Frankly, it's about time, considering how many of us in this city grew up eating Cantonese food and how many of us pay big money for fancy-pants meatloaf, pizza, and fried chicken. With great familiarity and higher prices, though, come great expectations, and a number of the dishes in my initial visits defied the Kauffman Rule of Upscaling: You're allowed to charge three times as much for a dish if it's twice as good than my favorite cheap version (hey, good service counts for something).

So my first visits were a little iffy. On each visit, though, the quality of Wo Hing's food grew more assured -- the dumpling skins more gossamer, the meats more succulent -- and the chef's palate more evident. 

Sure, Wo Hing's stir-fried pork noodles, catfish in black bean sauce, and yellow-feather chicken are grand, but the dishes that I ended up liking the most, such as the red-cooked Sichuan lamb, the yuba salad, and the smoked spareribs with harissa, weren't just upscaled classics but something new.

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Wo Hing General Store - CLOSED

584 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

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2 comments
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Jane
Jane

I would hardly call Wo Hing clean. If anything, it's incredibly greasy. These quality ingredients that they supposedly use are overwhelmed, completely saturated, and utterly lost in all the grease that covers every dish. The food here is simply inedible, nothing homey about it! Don't waste your time or money here. There's plenty of good Chinese food to excite anyone's palate in this city and the rest of the Bay Area.

Joe
Joe

Wo Hing is grossly overpriced for inexpensive ingredients and minuscule portions.

Seriously, Kaufman. Read the Yelp reviews and you'll find that Wo Hing is most popular among those who know the least about Chinese food. 

Wo Hing uses quality ingredients and clean techniques. But these are inexpensive cuts -- brisket, pig's feet, ground pork -- so even quality ingredients shouldn't cost anywhere near as much. Plus, this type of Chinese peasant food should not be as "clean," read "somewhat sterile," as Wo Hing makes it

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