With a craving for dumplings and a curious notice on the liquor control board web site, A&E editor Craig Sailor and I took to South Tacoma Way Friday.
We drove up to Hong Sheng Fung, ready and hoping for dumplings aplenty, but, sadly, the empty storefront was a punch in our gullets. I suspected it might have closed after seeing the restaurant's liquor license had expired. But it truly was sucktastic to confirm.
Here, look for yourself at the empty restaurant. (photo by Craig Sailor, I'm not capable of such photographic artistry).
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What happened? Anyone know where chef-owner Jennifer Chang might be cooking? We came to adore her delicious dumplings, served fried or steamed. The Korean-born chef doled out delicious little dishes of the Korean appetizer banchan, too. The menu was limited, but well done. I've been to more than one party where Hong Sheng Fung dumplings were the main attraction (you could buy a bag of frozen dumplings for about $20).
Curious now, too... where should Craig and I go for dumplings? Comment and tell us, pretty please.
Click this link to read a review we published in our GO entertainment section last August after Hong Sheng Fung opened in July 2007. Sort of mean to post it, considering you can't eat there anymore, but it's a nice little eulogy for the restaurant. Rest in peace, Hong Sheng Fung.
By Ed Murrieta
The News Tribune
Published in GO Aug. 24, 2007
Hong Sheng Fung
8302 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-588-1880
The menu at Hong Sheng Fung (aka "The Pot Sticker") promises "authentic Chinese cuisine." Chef-owner Jennifer Chang backs it up with bravado in her bright and airy strip-mall restaurant that opened July 20, 2007.
"These are my mother's recipes," said the Korean-born chef of Chinese descent, who modeled her restaurant on the one that her family has owned and operated in Pusan, Korea, since 1971. "I cook them how I want to, how they should be. If they don't like it, tough."
Tough is the opposite of her pork pettitos - boiled pigs' feet with garlic sauce. Cold roast beef is another house special. Both made me swoon when I ordered the combo plate.
I enjoyed pettitos' swiney simplicity: Shed of fat and served cold, the pigs' feet were all about cartilage and collagen - chewy, almost creamy morsels accented by pockets of meat.
Boiled roast beef, sliced thin, revealed no fat, just layers of enjoyably dense meat flavored and blackened by soy and chili.
Other "authentic" dishes include jellyfish with cucumber and vinegar, and roasted chicken. Meals are served Korean-style, with banchan, the pickled and fresh veggie appetizer plates.
The menu also includes dishes friendly and familiar to American palates: tempura prawns, fried rice, and sweet-and-sour pork. As to the latter dish, I didn't expect to find crunchy slices of black mushrooms, or sweetly marinated cucumber tossed among the battered pork and pineapple. An otherwise unimpressive dish made an impression.
Since "pot sticker" is in the restaurant's parenthetical name, don't forget to wrap your chopsticks around the bite-sized dumplings filled with pork and beef that Chang grinds herself. I loved the delicate crispness of the fried dumplings. The steamed ones slithered down deliciously, too. I'll be back for the large dumplings, which Chang said are the size of a child's foot.