Last night I explored the “Tianjin” section of the menu at the S De Anza Blvd location of Golden Garlic http://www.goldengarlics.com/menu.html . Some of these sound similar to Beijing dishes— can anyone explain how the seasonings, for example, in the Tianjin-style noodles with soy-bean paste (zha jiang mein), might differ? A few other local restaurants have Tianjin chefs and feature Tianjin snacks, such as dumplings and pancakes, but none of their entrees advertise Tianjin origin.
The flavors of the jian bing guo zi, a mung bean flour pancake cooked with an egg, was more integral, or absorbed, to the pancake than others I’ve had in the Bay Area, which tend to thickly lather on sauces. I’m not the most egg-happy person, so I’d prefer more saucing. YMMV. The crunchy item in the center is fried wheat dough, like a wonton wrapper, rather than a Chinese doughnut (you tiao) or tofu skin.
The house specialty, Golden Garlic Beef, was excellent. The charred garlic cloves were fully cooked, but too firm to smash into a paste. Their aroma, and a black sauce made with ground pepper (black or white, I’m not sure), flavored up the soft chunks of beef (loin?), each of which was about the same size as the garlic cloves.
Mountain yam and wood ear fungus was mild, and I liked the subtle tartness provided by goji berries. The mountain yam slices reminded me of jicama,
They also have a few pages of the menu dedicated to Sichuan food. Anyone tried these dishes? How do they compare to Sichuan Chili in the nearby food court? http://www.chowhound.com/post/sichuan-chili-chowdown-report-san-jose-1011497u