Lunch at Ma's Dimsum & Cafe stirred up memories of Grandma's kitchen for gordon wing, who filed a report on the Chinatown hole in the wall that often sees a lunchtime rush of older clientele looking for hearty, home-style dishes. While the restaurant's menu includes rice plates, noodles, and soups, most diners choose the clay pots, which come in two sizes, though only the smaller size is listed on the menu.
gordon wing and a guest chose a Chinese bacon/sausage/pork spare rib clay pot topped with baby bok choy; he recommends adding sweet soy from the squeeze bottles on each table. They also ordered a side dish of tender, garlicky bitter melon with black beans, a welcome addition to the generous portion of rice left over in the clay pot after they'd consumed the toppings.
Some dishes, such as gai loong pastries, indicate a Toisan (a.k.a. Taishan) influence—gordon describes them as "savory, chewy/crispy dim sum items that my Grandmother used to make." These can be hard to find, though you can more easily locate their sweeter cousin, hom sui gok.
Ma's Dimsum & Cafe [Chinatown]
1315 Powell Street, San Francisco