Lai Hong Lounge Review, San Francisco


Lai Hong Lounge

1416 Powell Street

San Francisco, CA 94133


Lai Hong Lounge Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Lai Hong Lounge Restaurant is a Cantonese Chinese restaurant on the outskirts of Chinatown. They have been around since Lichee Garden closed, 2012. They are VERY popular for lunch (Noon had a Wait for a Monday lunch), but it was much more quiet at dinner. We were in the neighborhood so we decided to try it out, being big Chinese food fans. Last visit was in Winter  2024.

This restaurant is a sister restaurant to Hong Kong Lounge. The menu is similar, but we found the food better here.

Be sure to read:

Be sure to read our article How to order in authentic Chinese dinner

Lai Hong Lounge interior decor

Decor, Vibe – A small step up up from standard Chinese restaurant decor. Looks the same as before and smell like it too. This is not a big restaurant. Some big groups of friends and families, and couples of all ages were dining. Very popular with the local Chinatown crowd.

Lai Hong Lounge Menu

Pretty standard check off traditional dim sum menu along with a couple modern dishes. Lots of cooked food items you expect for dinner. Menu looks identical to Hong Kong Lounge on Geary Street. Tea charge per person. Several old school traditional items like Black Sesame rolls.

Check off items on the menu and they will bring them to you. Most dishes are batched so multiple tables will get the same item.

Lai Hong Lounge Food Picks:

Lai Hong Lounge, San Francisco, dim sum lunch

Coffee Pork Ribs ($11) were excellent. Strong coffee flavor and nice crispy texture. Pork ribs covered in our house coffee sauce. Better than Koi Palace? 9/10

Shrimp Dumpling ($7.80) had 4 nicely done har gow. Small shrimp but still worthwhile due to intense flavor. 9/10

Pea Shoots Dumplings ($5.95) are perfect for vegetarians. Filled with pea sprouts and mushroom. 3 per order. 8.5/10

Chiu Zhou Dumpling ($5.95) or Chiu Chow Steamed dumplings were huge translucent steaming hot balls filled with peanuts, pork, mushrooms and the like. Made with Tapioca flour. A thicker skin filled with chives, peanuts, ground pork, chili flakes. Hard to pick up. A bit of zestiness was present. One of the better ones. 9/10

Baked BBQ Pork Buns ($6.95) Sweet flakey crusted baked bun stuffed with BBQ pork made in house.  Definitely a must order, done really well. 9/10

Shrimp Noodle Roll ($8.50) or Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll was big and had lots of real shrimp. Solid rendition. 8/10

Fish red rice noodle roll ($7.25) is a new dish for us. Really nice version of the classic. 8.5/10

Fried Pork Puff ($5.95) This football shaped deep fried dim sum is made with mochi-like dough filled with minced pork. 3 pieces. On the small side, but hot and good. 8.5/10

Sticky rice in lotus leaf ($6.95) were 2 fairly small portions of glutinous rice with lots of minced pork, shrimp, and mushrooms. More an exercise in size than quality. 8/10

Steamed Pork Buns ($3.25) are classic buns done just fine yet not amazing. Good filling. 8/10

Steamed Chicken Feet ($5.95) are an acquired taste but are done well here. Marinated “red/brown ” chicken feet steamed with jalapeno. 9/10

Crispy Pork Belly Buns ($9.25) are good if you are a big fan. Decent but not amazing. Getting the Crispy Pork Belly only ($11) is probably a better value. 8/10

Baked BBQ Pork Puffs ($6.25) were nice and golden brown. Flaky crust and lots of char siu filling.

Pan Fried Turnip Cake ($5.85) has 3 Pieces of our turnip cake (made with turnip/radish, dried shrimp, bacon bits, and flour) Pan Fried. 8.5/10
Pork Tripe & Tofu Skin Soup ($10) Pork tripe, tofu skin, gingko nut, in a white pepper broth. Lunch size. This was not cooked long enought. 7/10

Lai Hong Lounge sesame balls

Fried Sesame Balls ($5.95) were hot out of the fryer. 4 nice sized pieces of delight filled with red bean paste.  We like ordering the green tea version. 8/10

Fried Green tea balls ($6.85 v) included 3 small balls filled with a tame lotus seed paste. Nice crunchy skin. A fun variation on the traditional sesame ball. 9/10

Lai Hong Lounge Banquet Review

We celebrated Chinese New year 2024 here with the B $398 menu.

1.鴻图大拼盤; 2.紅燒雞絲翅; 3.百花杏仁球; 4.美極牛柳粒; 5.北京片皮鴨; 6.薑蔥焗龍蝦; 7.原只鮑魚燴花菇; 8.煎封银雪鱼; 9.什菌五穀炒飯; 10.香芒布甸魚. 1.House Special Appetizer Platter; 2.Braised Fish Fin Soup with Shredded Chicken; 3.Deep-Fried Almond Shrimp Balls; 4.Peking Duck with Buns; 5.Baked Lobsters with Ginger & Scallion; 6.Braised Whole Abalone with Shiitake Mushrooms; 7.Assorted Mushroom & Mixed Grains Fried Rice; 8.House Special Dessert, Koi Fish Mango Pudding.

The food came out within the first 20 minutes! Hey its Chinese New year a time when all Chinese restaurants worth their salt are packed.  All dishes were solid quality wise. Price was inline with meals of this size.  Enough food for at least 12 adults.  8.5/10

Lai Hong Lounge Verdict

Service – Hong Kong Lounge had passable but not great service with servers running around in this small space. They are overloaded and need to be flagged down. You check off what you want and the food starts to appear in a couple minutes.

Value – Prices are reasonable, quantity high, quality solid, making Hong Kong Lounge a very good value.

Lai Hong Lounge had a very good dishes, not what we had expected before. There are few dim sum options in Chinatown now, making this place still popular with locals. This restaurant is a great non touristy place that caters to locals wanting good value in a meal with very good quality.

Solid bets in Chinatown for Dim Sum are Great Eastern and Cityview.

Our favorite is still HL Peninsula

Restaurant Map:

Lai Hong Lounge Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Excellent)
Service Rating: (Average)
Atmosphere Rating: (Average)
Value Rating: (Very Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine
Hours:Daily 11am - 9pm
Prices:$2.50 - $24.50

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1 Comment

  • Hong Kong Lounge, San Francisco
    June 16, 2023 at 2:47 pm

    […] expensive and inferior in quality in early 2023.   Hong Kong Lounge’s sister restaurant is Lai Hong Lounge at 1416 Powell, San […]

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