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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Chairman Is Finally Open for Realz on Larkin Street!

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 6:21 PM

click to enlarge Bao: tempeh, pork belly, and spicy chicken. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Bao: tempeh, pork belly, and spicy chicken.

It took a hot second, but almost a month after the technical opening, The Chairman has banged the gavel and brought its Larkin Street brick-and-mortar to order.

The minutes of the last meeting read simply: “Oops, we broke something” with a promise to be back soon. I must have biked over there five or six times, hoping for steamed bao and eating banh mi from around Little Saigon instead. It really stretched the definition of “soon,” but that’s OK, all is forgiven, because it’s great.

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
This Chairman’s menu is not entirely the same as the food truck’s. Pork belly with turmeric-pickled daikon and spicy chicken with toasted sesame puree? Yes, you will find those. But not the Muscovy duck terrine with green papaya, orange picked red onions and mint.

There are tons of other things, though: rice bowls, noodle salads, and fried chicken wings with yuzu kosho, scallions and chili flakes. As baos are essentially obligatory, I went with pork belly, spicy chicken, and crispy tempeh (all steamed, and all three-bucks-and-change). The tempeh was the best of the three, largely owing to the chili pickled burdock and hijiki seaweed. And the bun itself is as good as the truck’s best day. I was a little surprised how empty it was in there at 1 p.m. on a sunny day, but there’s no way that quiet is going to last. I’ll definitely be back for some baked baos, which are larger than the steamed.

Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book devoted entire chapters to “self-reliance and arduous struggle” and “building our country through diligence and frugality.” To hell with all that. This considerably less megalomaniacal, hedonistic panda Chairman is about potato fries and wonton chips!

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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