Mission Chinese Food is taking over the planet (ok, so far it’s only San Francisco and New York City with plans for Williamsburg and Oklahoma City), it’s nice to be reminded that the original quirky "Oriental" food dispenser right here on Mission Street hasn’t lost its touch. Sure 30 Under 30 Danny Bowien is now wandering the streets of Manhattan kicking butt at his Lower East Side lair, but in his stead, chef Jesse Koide and crew are still pumping out delicious what-were-they-thinking specials to supplement to the restaurant’s now-infamous dishes such as ma po tufu, kung pao pastrami and chicken wings with explosive red peppers. Did you know, for instance, that you can get red-braised pig tails in root beer served with pineapple chunks, salted cucumbers and plum sauce? We didn’t until we stopped in just before closing at 10 PM, when the divey storefront was packed, lit up like a Christmas tree (literally) and still had a crowd of people on the street lining up to add their name to the list.
It’s not every day one gets to order pig tails, but in the end we opted for the smoked beef brisket soup noodles, which is like the lovechild of your Bubbe’s Sunday brisket dinner and an aromatic bowl of pho, comprised of fat rolled-up wads of toothsome wide cheung fun (rice noodles), falling-off-the-bone pieces of porcine pleasure and stewed veggies floating in a thin, yet beefy broth redolent of black pepper, smoke and spices including cracked whole green cardamom seeds. Soup in August? Yep, sounds like perfect San Francisco summer food to us.