Most restaurants, or rather, most businesses tend to line up along urban trenches of varying size and length, barnacles barely clinging to the wave-buffeted crags of commerce. But, once in a while on a ride or walk about town you’ll come upon a singular little place wedged into its precious acreage far from anything resembling a main drag or commercial district. Such a place is Hakka Restaurant, a Chinese Restaurant situated on 46th Street and Cabrillo, blocks away from any portion of Clement Street devoted to eateries or other entities that exchange money for goods and/or services.
The word “Hakka” refers to a people and also to its cuisine, the latter of which is defined, as I understand it badly, by a healthy dose of heat and a predilection for offal. I’m sure that’s a summation most Sinophilic food-enthusiasts would roll their eyes at and I don’t care. I’ll leave the food-related ethnography up to other, more anal-retentive writers.
Speaking of the food: not especially great, but decent and cheap. I had a big plate of pork stomach sautéed with vegetable and XO sauce. It was too glazed for my taste, reminding me of the generic fair I used to eat back in my hometown of San Jose. Also, when you judge a given cut of meat with a cold, appraising eye unclouded by current food fads that fetishize “odd bits”, you’re sometimes liable to glance enviously at your neighbor’s steaming heap of grilled riblets. Or, at least in the case of pork stomach. It’s just not strong enough to carry a dish. Swimming in a bowl of Menudo, yes. In this, a dish that features stomach of swine, no. Still, you can’t bitch over the prices or the service, which is unobtrusive and relatively friendly, but which was slightly bemused at my presence, a white man rolling solo to spot frequented mostly by local Chinese familes. They even asked me if I wanted a fork, and warned me away from the dish I stubbornly insisted upon, and repeatedly cautioned me about its surfeit of heat. I didn’t enjoy it much in the end anyway, but not for the reason they thought I wouldn’t. I should have ordered the goose gut.
4401 Cabrillo Street (@ 46th Avenue)