For someone as friendly and convivial as Brandon is, he’s reluctant to name his favorite dish. He was, however, pretty loquacious about the duck. “Our duck is from Liberty Farms, which is run by fourth-generation duck farmers. These are well-taken-care of birds. They come in whole -- head on, feet, everything -- and we butcher them down," he explains. "We use an air compressor to pump air under the skin, then baste it with hot water and season it with brown rice syrup, dark soy, and five-spice. Then we hang it for four or five days.” And though he notes serving roasted duck in Chinatown is a bit of a cliché, he also knows it’s an iconic Chinatown dish that deserves to stay on menus.
In early 2018, Mister Jiu’s will expand to include an upstairs banquet space for events, and bar/lounge area. “We’re really excited about getting the upstairs open so we can have those bigger celebrations that I remember as a kid,” Brandon says. He’s most excited about being able to host Red Egg and Ginger Parties [the traditional Chinese celebration of a baby’s one-month birthday] and small weddings. “We get really excited when people come in and say, ‘We had our wedding here 20 years ago and we’re back.’ Those moments make everything worth it for us; it makes me feel really proud to honor the legacy of this space as a place for celebrations.”
That seems to be an ongoing theme for Brandon Jew: honoring legacies. Cooking with the thoughtfulness he learned from his grandmother; rejuvenating a legendary Chinatown institution; creating dishes that pay homage to Chinese traditions as well as the local ingredients of Northern California. Brandon may constantly question his dishes, but it’d be rather hard for him to question his success. We didn’t, and that’s why Brandon Jew is our pick for best San Francisco chef of 2017.