Regulars at Queen Malika in the Castro have noticed the cafe is under new management of late, and today that new management gets a name: China native and Castro resident Li Ji (a.k.a. Lily) has been running the show since September. Four weeks ago she took on more, starting up Mama Ji's Dim Sum pop-up on Saturdays and Sundays, with the help of a chef from Hong Kong, Din Fun Yan. Turns out, Ji has been mourning the loss of authentic Chinese flavors in the Castro for quite some time now, so when the opportunity to take over the cafe arose, she jumped in with a mission. Yan now dishes out an ever-changing array of "down home, straight-forward" dim sum favorites on the regular.
Char siu bao, sticky rice in banana leaves, har gow, xiao long bao and even beef tripe with ginger and onion have all made regular appearances. Malika is still offering the usual morning Sandbox Bakery and Black Jet baked goods, while the coffee has switched to Ritual Roasters. Ji says there's a limited menu of dumplings, buns and noodles available during the week too.
Also worth noting: they're in the process of getting a beer and wine licenese, and you can expect more significant developments at Malika and Mama Ji's over the next several months. Sample the fifth run of weekend dim sum this Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and do drop early reviews of this new gal on the pop-up scene below in the comments, or right here in the tipjar.
· All Dim Sum Coverage [~ ESF ~]