San Wang – Chinese Korean Food for Cheap
1682 Post Street
(between Buchanan St & Laguna St)
I found this place looking for some non-Japanese food options near me and my buddy Sarah (who happens to live near Japantown). She was debuting (finally!) her new sweetie so we had to find a Grubgirl-appropriate venue so he could get what I was all about. (And I could see if he bristled at vinyl chairs.)
San Wang is a Chinese restaurant run by Koreans, so there are some dishes with a decidedly Korean flare.
For example, when we arrived (after waiting what seemed like 20 minutes on a weeknight, early, like 6:15 pm), we were immediately given a small bowl of kimchee to nosh on.
Yelp reviews had recommended their noodles in plum sauce, and their potstickers, so we had to order those, too.
You have to be familiar with Korean noodles to appreciate their noodles in plum sauce; otherwise it’s a rather acquired taste, given that the noodles look like they’re immersed in black spaghetti sauce. I will have to say…I do appreciate my guests giving it a quick taste, declaring their not being fans, and moving on.
San Wang’s potstickers are made with a thicker skin than traditional Chinese potstickers, and had an extra crispy bottom. The skin actually felt homemade.
We also ordered a chicken dish, a hot fried eggplant dish, and another dish of greens. (That waiting around made the three of us pretty hungry.)
To our delight, the dishes were served fairly quickly, and were piping hot and crispy. And, happily, the portions were huge. No wonder this place was relatively packed for a weeknight.
Pricing was alright — in the mid-$6 range or higher. Given the portion size though, I was happy to pay a little more. Service was friendly and we didn’t feel too rushed.
So here’s the summary:
- Large portions
- Korean heritage puts a nice twist on some traditional Chinese dishes
- Piping hot portions (crispy things were dry crispy, not greasy crispy)
- Friendly service
- Clean enough (though I did not visit the bathroom)
- Unexpectedly long wait. They had a lot of 4-person tables occupied by 1 or 2 people. Might make for a good take-out option. (Again, this was probably 20 minutes…about 17 more than we expected.)
- MSG aftertaste. I definitely started getting the MSG thirst once I arrived back home.
- Climate control. They have a window above the doorway, that was open and blew decidedly cold air in. We should’ve asked them to close it but it was so high up, we weren’t sure if they could manage it quickly.