Dim sum usually brings to mind the image of mystery meat and pulling bits of paper off of a steamed pork bun, but Hong Kong Lounge II on Geary Boulevard has added a level of sophistication and quality to its utterly unique dim sum menu.
A delicious three-piece order of Steamed Pork Buns ($3.95) outshines any 60 cent single pork bun off Clement Street any day. The bun dough is surprisingly light compared to the typically heavy and filling dough of less expensive options.
The quality of the diced pork cooked in red chilli sweet sauce in the absolutely spectacular Baked Pork Bun ($4.50) matches its higher price. The dough is delightful sweet, with a soft and squishy bottom topped by a light crumbly caramelized sugar layer that is out of this world.
One of the most popular dim sum items are the Shanghai Dumplings (6 for $8). Each bit-size piece is ready to burst with rice wine and sesame oil, adding tang to the shrimp and pork filling. Be warned: Keep the dumpling on the plate when cutting into it to avoid squirting rice wine on yourself.
The Curry Mushroom Samosa (3 for $3.50), a typically Middle Eastern pastry, is folded and fried to perfection. The curried potato chunks blend harmoniously with some chewy bits of oyster mushroom enclosed in a crispy pastry pocket and served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.
The Fried Shrimp Egg Rolls (3 for $4.50) is another indulgent dim sum option. The outer layer is flaky and thin, but when bitten into the chewy inside melds with pieces of shrimp, cabbage and crunchy carrots into a texture-paluza .
Hiding in the Noodles and Porridge section of the menu is a delectable Steamed Shrimp and Chive dumpling (6 for $6.50), another sublime crustacean choice. The savory special soy sauce adds salt to the dumpling’s subtle flavors, while the chives diversifies the textures of the thick, smooth casing and the equally chewy shrimp bits.
The best pot stickers are the Pan Fried (6 for $5.75). The bottoms have a bit of crisp while the rest of the dough is supple and chewy, attempting to contain the juicy hunk of the pork and shrimp mixture inside.
The most satisfying ending to a meal is finishing with Steamed Custard Buns (3 for $3.50). The dough is light and fluffy filled with a velvety thick custard for a mellow dessert.
Be careful when filling out the self-marking menu. “One” means an order that may be three to six pieces.
Hong Kong Lounge II is located at the corner of Parker Avenue on Geary Boulevard and is open for lunch Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday dinner is from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday lunch is from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.