Back to the Future as Sam Wo re-emerges [SF]

As you’ve probably heard 100 times today, October 21, 2015 is “Back to the Future Day” and it’s therefore appropriate that Sam Wo Restaurant officially came back to life today.

I was there for the 6:00 PM dinnertime opening but had to wait a few minutes until Mayor Ed Lee and his entourage were ushered out from their private party. The tiny downstairs seating area was bright, clean and and cheerful with its marble-topped tables and wooden stools, and the staff (mostly from the Ho Family) was friendly. There is much larger dining area upstairs, but it was not yet open. Perhaps they are still looking for a surly waiter.

I ordered a bowl of fish jook and a youtiao to soak it up with. The jook was delicious in its simplicity, just rice, chunks of fresh fish and a grove of chopped cilantro on top. The youtiao had seen better hours, but was fine for its purpose. Sam Wo 2.0 is located across from Portsmouth Square just a few steps up Clay St. from Kearny (in the old Anna Bakery space) . Between FiDi lunchers, local Cantonese, hipsters and drunks (open until 3:30 AM Wednesday through Saturday) I don’t see how is can fail.

And yes, their famous raw fish salad is on the menu, and you’ll probably feel more comfortable consuming it in their shiny new space.


Thanks. I will stop by for a jook next time. I have only been to Sam Wo once before and that was decades ago.

went to Sam Wo’s at 8:30 this morning. they were not open despite being listed as 8am opening. Might want to call ahead.

It sucks. Sorry to hear that. In all honesty, I went to Sam Wo decades ago, and I remember it being very cheap, but there must be a reason why I only went there ONCE. I think I didn’t find it to be great.

My favorite place was King Tin (spelling?) back in the old days.

They’re really still in soft opening mode, a week or two behind schedule, even though they made their pre-planned Grand Opening respectable. Since jook is one of their strong suits (or should be) opening for breakfast is probably a priority.

I’m curious to know if they’ve started staying open until 3:30 AM, though I’m not the one to check that out.

i was hoping to get a beef tendon jook or maybe a wonton jook

Wonton jook? Is that a thing?! I must have it. Where do you get it?

Do they still have gim fon, the rice noodle rolls with cha sieu and egg? An Eastern European friend used to call it Chinese sushi.

I used to get it in boston, don’t know where around here.

Wasn’t there also a sliver of something pickled and sweet?

I don’t think so. It did have cilantro in it. Any sweetness would have come from the cha sieu. They kept it in a large sauce pan downstairs and would just pull an eel-sized one out of the pot and cut it up.

Here’s their menu: Is it likely just going to be jook at 8AM - not that I have a problem with that :slight_smile:

hmm those website hours are different from the ones listed in the printed menu which Souperman posted above. Is the printed menu an old menu?

Yes, they do.

Would that be the Ho Family, as in Brandy Ho?

No, different Ho family that has operated Sam Wo in recent years. David Ho is the owner, his daughter Julie manages it.

I actually never went to Sam Wo, but King Tin was a longtime family favorite too, back in the day.

Sam Wo was very inexpensive. King Tin was simply great. :innocent:

It is unfortunate that one of the best restaurants had to close down.

King Tin was renowned for its BBQ meats. It was closed down by DPH. It later emerged as New King Tin, but never really Caught on. The best Cantonese restaurant on that block, IMHO, was Peacock Cafe in the 70s and 80s.

I heard a different story for its main downfall according to old owners from Chinatown.