[Cupertino] Qin-Tang Charm 秦唐華府- Xian eats

@psbanerjee, @reuel and I had lunch at this newly opened spot in Cupertino, across the street from the library, that serves food from the Xian province. Xian is the modern day name for Chang’an, and it was the capital during the Tang dynasty. Xianyang, a couple of miles from Xian, was the capital during the Qin dynasty, some 2200 years ago.

We got a server, who when we asked for Xian recommendations, pointed us to a few very specific items on the menu. We asked the server about the fancy pastries that we saw in the Yelp listing. He took a look at the three of us and said that we didn’t look like the type who would enjoy them. Pushed a bit, he said that those were more for the Instagram crowd. I guess we are too old for them :smiley:

Some of the Instagram-ready pastry dishes that we didn’t have:

Asked about a certain page of the menu, he was straight as an arrow and just told us to skip the entire page. We were not the type to follow the script, however, and ordered whatever the heck that we wanted. He asked us how the meal was as we walked out the door, and then proceeded to tell us with a (pleasant) attitude that we didn’t order the stuff he recommended. The fella definitely let us hear about our transgressions.

We had:

Qin-tang meat burger. Pleasant tasting. A bit too ‘clean’. Maybe need more grease and griddling?

Qi-Shan Spicy and Sour noodle soup. Homey, slightly tart, slightly hot. Pleasant noodle texture. Decent.

Qin-tang marinated beef. Pleasant, but needed a bit more salt and spicing. Paired well with the dip.

House-made choujiu with sweet olive, a fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from rice, not pictured, was actually the best item to me in the whole meal. A must get.

Golden pot stickers:

Green beans. The green beans turned out the best among our food dishes, with a great texture I wouldn’t classify as crunchy but kinda crisp.

The fella:


What’s recommended by the server, you ask? Our Qi-Shan noodle, the biang biang noodle, the pita in lamb soup, the Qin-Tang crispy chicken, Qin-Tang beef in vinegar and some items I forgot. Told us to skip the page from the lower left hand corner.


That beef looks great. Forgive me as I’m severely color blind, but is that raw or just really rare? Nice report

Was definitely not raw. Wasn’t really rare either. Maybe medium rare?

Thanks. We have a Qin Kitchen and now I know the derivation of their name.

I agree with reuel. It seems like its pretty close to the texture that one may find in the beef slices in a Sichuan husband wife beef and tripe dish.

Taking your advice, we skipped the page of Shaanxi standards, the noodles and breads everyone else was ordering and also skipped most Instagram fodder. We focused instead on the “hot dishes” the server confirmed were from Shaanxi (took a bit of chatter as he initially steered us to shrimp dishes and coffee ribs). Two of us ordered enough food for 4 or 5 people. In order of enjoyability:


House special pig feet The server was most excited by this dish, and we’re glad we trusted him. The combination of cumin, chili powder, and salt common to Uighur grilled lamb made an easy transition to this non-halal dish. Coarse seasonings including sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, and crunchy black soybeans provided traction as I bit into the custardy pig feet, a medium that sustained the potent seasonings with each further bite. Nothing similarly seasoned I’ve had at those chuan ‘er/shaokao/skewers specialists comes even close, and I dare say these have an edge over the $488 whole grilled lamb at Sama Uyghur, which is immensely delicious and you should get if you can gather a group. Anyone know anything about this dish and if it’s actually Shaanxi in origin? I’m curious if the seasonings are also used in their dry pot dishes.

Qin-Tang beef in vinegar : another must get. Light vinegar sauce and chili flakes bolstered the meaty flavor (and some dark soy sauce if I’m not mistaken). This dish is all about the textural variety: beef slices, wood ear mushrooms, those yellow (soybean?) sprouts, and a few pieces of (fish maw or bamboo pith). I wish I got a better photo of this.

House made choujiu : their house-made fermented rice beverage was sweet, with some microscopic fermentation fizz. I rarely drink, so am glad to have followed @sck’s recommendation!

Pork, fish belly, and bamboo : A light, texture focused dish which paired well with some of the heavier stuff. Pork meatballs, with some of the bounciness you get from pork or fish balls, slices of pork belly, baby bok choy in a nuanced savory salty viscous sauce. No bamboo—- seasonal (or maybe it referred to the “tofu bamboo” or to “bamboo pith” which I initially thought was fish maw)?

Egg yolk fish shaped pastries : delicious and sweet egg yolk filling. These tasted deep fried and cracks in the photos show these don’t come out flawless. Whatever… :slight_smile: (this place is a huge place for Instagram— we watched a mother torture her daughter as she took food photos).

Snow peas and king oyster mushrooms: lighter fare, well prepared.

Qin-Tang crispy chicken: I read on yelp that this small bird is roasted then deep fried. Pleasant, with moist flesh and some swaths of, but not completely crisp skin, it was like a perfectly good roasted chicken but not a destination dish.

Flower shaped crispy fish: impressive to look at, but the flounder’s flavor and texture got lost in all the batter, even in the parts that stood clear of the ketchup-y sauce. Reminded me a bit of cheese puffs in some bizarre way. Chengdu Taste in the SGV has a knockout analogue, in which (tilapia) skin maintains a stiff barrier between the flesh and coating.


Wait, why is the chicken sitting on a piece of paper that says Jiangnan?

@reuel and @psbanerjee, sounds like the pig feet is screaming for your attention.

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Qin-Tang Chicken does have a nicer ring to it than JFC :slight_smile:

That pig’s foot dish does look really good!

Well, looks are deceiving, the pigs foot was good skin deep. Should have known better, too fatty for my taste. But the skin and seasoning were quite tasty.


I could see that. The “custardy” I referred to in my write up was fat, with more chewy bits below. I liked it, but YMMV!

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Qin-Tang Charm has closed. The owner also owns Noodle King (Sunnyvale) and mentioned that the Cupertino location’s rent was $12,000/month. Location will most likely be reopening as a boba/bento restaurant.

Shame as I haven’t seen many of the dishes they had there at other Xi’an restaurants

This is too bad. The rent seems high relative to the amount of parking nearby.