Hang Ah Dim Sum | Santa Rosa

 

Hang Ah Dim Sum

At Hang Ah Dim Sum in Santa Rosa, chicken feet and duck tongue have finally gone mainstream.

This, believe it or not, is a good thing. Because tag-teamed with these well-loved Chinese specialties are a whole mess of more easily translated dim sum dishes from San Francisco’s historic Hang Ah restaurant.

Think Shanghai dumplings, Shiu Mai, leaf-wrapped rice, potstickers and pork buns.

The small dining room (an A&W restaurant in its former life) buzzes throughout the day with a cross-section of folks — from hungry construction workers to families.

If you’ve already got your dim sum badge, skip over this next part. If you’re new to these little purses of steamed deliciousness, here’s the 411: Dim sum is all about ordering lots of little plates, drinking tea and sharing what shows up around the table. There are several different types of dim sum (which roughly translated means something about “your heart’s delight”)  most of which are bits of ground meat wrapped in rice or flour skins and steamed. But that’s just the half of it.
The best part of dim sum is simply ordering the oddly named items (curry beef dumpling, bean curd skin roll) and seeing what shows up. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you spit it in a napkin and move on. Consider this your personal voyage into the unknown.

The dim sum menu is broken into three main parts, based on price. Small dishes (Shiu Mai, chicken claws, pork ribs, steamed pork buns and curry beef) are $2.50 per plate. Medium plates (taro dumplings, bean curd skin rolls, sweet deserts like baked custard, etc.) are $3.50 per plate and large plates (shrimp dumplings, shrimp stuffed eggplant , Shanghai dumplings and crispy shrimp balls) are $4.50 per plate. Chef’s picks (shark-fin dumplings, roast duck, duck tongue and BBQ pork) are a hefty $6.50 each. Most folks can down at least 2 to 3 plates per person, so it can add up pretty quickly.

The restaurant also features a full menu of more traditional Chinese fare (General Tsou chicken, sweet and sour, Kung Po, Mu Shu) if you’re not ready to full invest in dim sum, including a $6.50 lunch menu. But come on, live a little.

Best bets for dim sum virgins are the steamed pork buns (gooey, white dough balls filled with BBQ
pork), shrimp balls (once you stop snickering, they’re pretty good little fried nuggets of ground shrimp), steamed Shanghai dumplings (lots of ginger or pork) and the Shiu Mai (ground pork). If you’re a
bit more adventurous, head for the bean curd skin roll, curried beef dumplings (listed as “carry”) or taro dumplings. Chicken claws are best left to the pros, though once you’ve had them, you’ll swear by ‘em. Unless you don’t.

Stacked up against higher end dim sum spots in the city, Hang Ah hovers in the solid, but not truly exceptional category. Flavors can get a little muddled, wrappers a little thick and sticky. Which isn’t to say it’s not good eats. One shining spot is that (unlike their San Francisco location) Hang Ah north isn’t a large-scale tourist operation, but more of a family-style restaurant. Service is fast and
efficient. Dishes are a bit more personal.

At the end of the meal, my fortune read: “An unexpected event will soon make your life more exciting.” Turns out, a little dim sum spot around the corner from my house fits the bill just about perfectly.

Hang Ah Dim Sum, 2130 Armory Drive, Santa Rosa, 576.7873.

Oh, and about the Drive Through Dim Sum sign? Yeah. No.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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1 Comment

  1. jodi (10/09/2008 3:43:35 PM)
    Comment: Ug! My sone and I are Dim Sum fanatics, ourfavoorite is Dim Sum King in Pacifica,but we were so excited about ah hang. It was worse than awful. Small portions, very greasy and not up to par. The War Won Ton soup was lacking in everything including won tons and flavor. I would not reccoment this place to any of my friends, not even enemies. I have heard similar tales from other customers.
    Posted By: rockysizzle (01/09/2008 1:33:53 PM)
    Comment: We went yesterday and the food was really good. I grew up in SF and we always went to eat dim sum. There were quite a few of my favorites. It’s great to have good dim sum here in Santa Rosa so we don’t have to drive to SF for a dim sum fix. The only thing that I wish is that they did have the carts so you could pick what you want and have it right away. We were hungry and kept looking at the waiters with their trays dropping off food at tables hoping it was something for our table. We plan on going back as often as possible.
    Posted By: Kim (15/07/2008 11:22:30 AM)
    Comment: Per the following comment left by a patron I wont be hurrying over to try the dim sum, GROSSSS!!! “…but if you go watch out for the older guy with the six-hair beard. Seriously, six hairs, six inches long, growing out of a mole on his face. Shouldn’t he have a net for that?”
    Posted By: DineSwine (12/07/2008 12:13:43 AM)
    Comment: Had some dim sum on a Saturday morning with some friends from San Francisco. Tea service was fine, usually you can order around 10 different types of tea to go with your meal but we were limited to liptons or jasmine, neither were our cup of tea…we usually get chrysanthenum with black tea, passible point lost. The standard har gow(shrimp dumpling) were fine and smooth, judging on the flavor of the shrimp filling and the tranlucency and smooth “melt in your mouth” feel of the wrapper. The flat noodle wrapped around pork or shrimp was also acceptable. Chicken feet and steamed spareribs gave our tongues a workout sorting thru the bones in our mouths but it was well worth the effort, as the flavors are great. Shanghai dumplings made of a thicker wrapper were undercooked or had dried out in refrigeration then steamed, which causes them to be hard and chewy…told the waitress and she informed the head mistress who quickly wanted to replace the item with somthing comparable. The mango pudding was smooth and fruity. Having grown up in San Francisco and also eating this stuff my entire life…this place is worth trying and with the price of gas stay in town to get chinese food here, if you’re not happy let them know and they will gladly fix it to your satisfaction.
    Posted By: Christine (18/06/2008 11:39:23 AM)
    Comment: I love this place! Everything was so fresh and authentic tasting! I grew up going to Dim Sum in San Francisco as a kid with my parents and I am thrilled to have this place here! I must admit the service if disorganized BUT to me it is worth it! Enjoy!
    Posted By: MsSteak (17/06/2008 8:02:06 AM)
    Comment: Went again for a return visit! As before got there early for lunch. Looking for a “quick” lunch? Forget about it. Same service issues. They did attempt a few hot carts at the begining of service … but those quickly dissapeared. All in all I think it is a fun place to go. I have been impressed with most all of the steamed and baked items. Not so much with the fried ones … I have about half the Dim Sum menu left to try. My goal is to try EVERYTHING on that menu. (may pass on duck tounges though) I do hope they get a better service system worked out soon …
    Posted By: Frank (13/06/2008 2:15:43 PM)
    Comment: Hang Ah Dim Sum – is located in the old A&W building at 2130 Armory Drive. We’ve tried this place one time – service was fairly quick – they added another $15 on to our bill by doubling up some items by mistake. Ooops, hope this doesn’t happen to often. The main Chinese food we tried from their dinner menu was average at best. We tried a number of Dim Sum items which for the most part were average. Santa Rosa is a planetary community lacking in good International cuisines. You don’t have large numbers of individual International communities that live here and as a result the quality of food is not cooked for those who know how a type of food should taste. The owners and waiters are very friendly. Service was quick – the restaurant was maybe 50% full when we visited. Phone: 576-7873.
    Posted By: Michelle (13/06/2008 11:20:50 AM)
    Comment: I loved it. The service was good when my mother and I went and they are packed on a daily basis. The food was terrific, especially the shrimp dumplings and the steamed pork buns.
    Posted By: nahnah (11/06/2008 3:07:12 AM)
    Comment: I went there 3 times already! good shrimp dumpling! hot and fresh.. wish I can afford eat there everydays ! keep the good work HANG AH….
    Posted By: jet (11/06/2008 2:59:59 AM)
    Comment: dim sum is great! I never have to drive so far for dim sum anymore!! yeah
    Posted By: Sam faye (10/06/2008 7:37:59 AM)
    Comment: A big dissappointment! Food OK but service is so horrendeous that we will not return. We ate theretwice and each time the service failures were comical. Everyone’s heart was in the right place but they are just too disorganized.
    Posted By: Ricardo (09/06/2008 4:54:31 PM)
    Comment: My wife’s experience. Hope yours is better. M and I took J there today for her birthday lunch. It was truly awful. Although I had made a reservation, they had no idea that I had. Although there were several unoccupied tables, they ignored us and finally had us sit at a table for six with a soiled tablecloth. Although we ordered four items, they brought only three that we ordered and four that we did not order. We waited for our fourth (vegetables) at least 15 minutes after we were finished with the other gross, fatty things. Although we asked for our check and said we wanted no dessert (we went to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream) they brought us a “free” mango pudding which tasted like it came from a package from China. Awful. It was so noisy we couldn’t hear ourselves, the waiters didn’t have a clue, and I would NEVER go back there. It reminded me too much of the worst chopped up critter meals we had in China and everything was greasy. So I can’t imagine what the reviewer in the PD ate, but it wasn’t what we ordered.
    Posted By: bummed in SR (09/06/2008 9:43:24 AM)
    Comment: I arrived at 11:45, was asked three times by three people how many in my party. We were seated and waited a long time to order. Asked for tea three times. They forgot the soup with my daughter’s lunch special. Food was just ok compared to Dim Sum in the city. Service was horrible. So slow we paid and left before that last two items we ordered got to the table. If I was smart I’d start a Dim Sum restaurant…there seems to be a demand in Sonoma County for good Dim Sum.
    Posted By: ArtsySF (07/06/2008 1:44:21 PM)
    Comment: Oh, my gosh- I love dim sum! I remember going to the original Hang Ah Tea Room in San Francisco many years ago. I can’t wait to try the new place in Santa Rosa!
    Posted By: David Yong (06/06/2008 9:06:57 AM)
    Comment: We have been driving to SF and Berkeley for authentic Cantonese(Southern Chinese) food for over twenty years, all the time hoping for one good one to be opened in Sonoma County. Finally we do have an authentic, great southern Chinese restaurant opened in our county. Not only the dim sum was great (can’t get much better)the regular dinner cooking was also equally great. We love the food from this restaurant. We have been there four times this past Grand Opening week. A little secret from a southern Chinese food lover, if you want to have great service, faster and hotter food as well, arrive during the non-peak hours, e.g., 11 am for dim sum at lunch time, and before 6 pm for dinner. You will not only get great service, if you are lucky, you may also meet the chief chef and owner of the restaurant and call him by his first name. Also meet his wife, the one who speaks fluent English plus converse with all the friendly staff. They did not expect the kind of warm reception they had from the Sonoma County residents, literally with a line of Chinese food lovers that went out of the front door during the peak time! They have to hire more staffing!!
    Posted By: Miko Carson (05/06/2008 12:54:53 PM)
    Comment: YEY!!!!!!! Finally! I don’t have to drive all the way to the city to eat Dim Sum. Thank goodness! :-)
    Posted By: MsSteak (31/05/2008 11:59:34 AM)
    Comment: Oooops! That was MY review below! More coffee please …
    Posted By: http:// (31/05/2008 11:58:12 AM)
    Comment: Got there for lunch at 11:30 yesterday. That was a GOOD thing, as shortly afterwards the place filled up. There was a line out the door until 1:00 when we left. I will say that the service was dismal. We waited a very long time for our first dish to arrive. There were 4 tables that came in after us that got their food before us. Even a few of the dishes that WE had ordered. They need to do some serious reoranizing of their procedures! I did not go in with any high expectations nor was I pressed for time. So I took those issues in stride. I love the fact that there were PICTURES on the Dim Sum menu! Hooray! A great thing for those of us unfamiliar. Everything was hot and tasty once it finally arrived. We sampled 10 different items. The only huge dissapointment was the BBQ Pork Rice Noodle Roll. Way overcooked to the point of being mushy. The Sticky Rice in Lotus was delish as were the Pan Fried Chive Dumplings! The Curry Beef Dumplings pack a punch. We finished our meal with Sesame Seed Ball and Fresh Mango Pudding. YUM. I did see serveral “lunch specials” go out. The portions were generous and the dishes looked very nice. My friend and I spent about $20.00 each for a virtual feast. Quite reasonable. I will be back as I have many other dishes to try. I will once again arrive EARLY and allow a good block of time. All in all … A fun time was had!
    Posted By: http:// (31/05/2008 9:23:31 AM)
    Comment: Had dinner on Friday night. Got a table right away and the place filled up soon after. Then the disappointments began… First, I was there 10 minutes before my drink order was solicited. Then I waited another 10 for a Diet Coke which arrived in a can w/ no glass–could’ve brought my own from the vending machine for $.75. My wife arrived just after my Coke and received a glass of water only after ordering it three times. (By then, my Diet Coke was gone so I ordered water also, but mine came after the meal.) Upon ordering our food, we learned that they didn’t have three of the six items we ordered (we must have good taste!). After watching the wait staff wander around the room with everyone’s food trying to figure out which table was which based on the “sticky note and clothes pin method”, we found that nearly all of our food was luke warm by the time it arrived. It seemed that part of the problem was that one waitress (the ONE who spoke English) was hustling around trying to make everything run smoothly, while the rest were wandering cluelessly. As a final treat, I suffered from heartburn and a headache for hours after which were only quelled by Zantac and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (Should’ve read the blog comment about MSG.) Can’t say I’ll be back, but if you go watch out for the older guy with the six-hair beard. Seriously, six hairs, six inches long, growing out of a mole on his face. Shouldn’t he have a net for that? Enjoy if you dare!
    Posted By: http:// (30/05/2008 11:58:01 PM)
    Comment: I tried the dim sum for lunch and the regular menu for dinner … both were just okay, not great. I love peking spareribs and hong kong style (fried noodles) chow mein both of which are hard to find up here in the N. Bay. The peking spareribs were cut too thin and were overcooked making them chewy. I also thought the prices were a bit high and the portions a bit small.
    Posted By: nipsy (30/05/2008 4:32:55 PM)
    Comment: also had lunch today, line at the door, but moved fairly quickly. Once seated, however, we waited 15 minutes to order after a few requests. Food came quickly after ordering. We had several kinds of dumplings, chicken feet, barbequed pork(very lean, but cooked more than we like), wrapped curry beef, shrimp stuffed mushrooms, sesame balls and mango pudding (would not recommend, too bland). Overall good experience, but there are some serious service problems that need attention. Probably try again in a few months to see if any additional items are added and also to see (hopefully) an improvement in their service.
    Posted By: Mike (30/05/2008 1:43:11 PM)
    Comment: Just back from Friday lunch, peak time, little line at door for the hour plus we were there. It’s great to have good (not great, but that’s OK) dim sum here! You need to be assertive to get waited on, and they kept losing the clothespins with the table numbers attached to the dishes from the kitchen, so wait staff wandered the room looking for the table that might have ordered this, but that kind of thing ought to get worked out. We’ll definitely be back.
    Posted By: TRACEY (30/05/2008 12:50:46 PM)
    Comment: do they have anything without the MSG? I am so disapointed, have been looking forward to this for months and am allergic! THANKS
    Posted By: Michael Dortch (30/05/2008 11:45:15 AM)
    Comment: Well, my wife and I went, and we were generally very favorably impressed. It’s important to note that like the Hang Ah in SF, and unlike many dim sum emporiums, Santa Rosa’s Hang Ah makes dim sum TO ORDER. This means you may wait a while, and the prices are higher than those at many places in SF and elsewhere where knowledgeable labor may be more plentiful. But you’ll get what may be the freshest-tasting dim sum you’ve ever eaten. And the chicken feet are WONDERFUL! :-D
    Posted By: nipsy (30/05/2008 10:03:39 AM)
    Comment: going also for lunch today. We currently go into SF for our dim sum, Clement Street one of the best and best priced. I’ll let you know.
    Posted By: MsSteak (29/05/2008 4:33:35 PM)
    Comment: Going for lunch tomorrow. I am very excited! Any recomendations for a true Dim-Sum novice is appreciated. My experience is limited to the small menu at The Canton in Petaluma.
    Posted By: PDQ (28/05/2008 11:44:27 PM)
    Comment: I visited today (Wednesday) and they do serve dim sum every day. The food is actually pretty good. BTW, I think Ton Kiang and Yank Sing are both overrated. I had the Har Gow (Shrimp dumping that had a nice balance of ginger and garlic), Steamed Beef Ball (Authentic down to the orange peel flavoring), Pan fried turnip (Tasty and not greasy as some restaurants serve it.) Chive shrimp dumpling (also very tasty), and an order of Beef Chow Fun (Very nicely flavored and not over salted/MSGed like most restaurants serve it.) Although they do use MSG, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it as I do in most Chinese restaurants. For those that are not familiar with dim sum, be adventurous and try something new. You will not be disappointed, I wasn’t.
    Posted By: tony (28/05/2008 9:56:51 PM)
    Comment: Gosh… you have got to be the most uninformed foodie ever published on the Internet. May I suggest reading the latest edition of “Dim Sum for Idiots” before posting your next Asian entry?
    Posted By: http:// (28/05/2008 7:07:51 PM)
    Comment: Steamed pork buns were absolutely amazing, so soft and delicious! Next time I want to try the baked pork buns, they looked really good. The Shanghai dumplings were also delicious. I will definitely be going back to try the other things on the menu.
    Posted By: Gingere (28/05/2008 1:31:01 PM)
    Comment: Shark-fin dumplings being named for the fin-like ridge on top of the dumpling not the ingredients…..I believe they are filled with ground pork
    Posted By: Chel (28/05/2008 11:47:02 AM)
    Comment: Just checked and found out they do use MSG in the dim sum. Darn, can’t find a place that makes dim sum without it and I can’t stand the migraine MSG gives me!
    Posted By: VJ (28/05/2008 9:46:42 AM)
    Comment: Is there a local place to find baked pork buns?
    Posted By: Elcee (28/05/2008 9:28:25 AM)
    Comment: Sounds like those of us who number Ton Kiang and Yank Sing (both in SF) among our faves may be disappointed. Still, the cost of gas may make this worth trying. Did I mention we don’t eat pork or beef? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Posted By: Michael Dortch (28/05/2008 8:12:42 AM)
    Comment: Two critical questions remain unanswered by this otherwise fabulously hope-inspiring review — what are their hours, and are they doing dim sum all week, or only on weekends?? Perspiring, dim-sum-deprived local minds want to know! :-)
    Posted By: Melissa (28/05/2008 7:55:32 AM)
    Comment: OMG chicken feet! I haven’t had any since my grandma’s chicken soup. I can’t wait to try them! Mmmmmmm Not crazy about shark fins on any menu, however, since sharks are finned and thrown back in the water to die.

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