Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- April 2016 - December 2017 archive

T4 bubble tea joint in Oakland Chinatown is a “full-fledged” Taiwanese restaurant, per Luke Tsai.

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Thanks, @Souperman !

The SV location might be the better bet— as of a year ago, they listed things as having zero to 3 chilis, and the 2 chili mala beef noodle wasn’t very spicy (I can tolerate dry heat more so than that from fresh chilies and didn’t record either in my notes) . YMMV. They have lots of veggie appetizers which I don’t recall having chili heat. And one nice thing about a lot of hunan dishes is you can pick out the pickled chilies, and still benefit from their flavor without too much heat.

I wonder what Yelp’s source is for Uyghur Taamliri “closing” until July - did the family who runs the place update their Yelp page, or is this coming from somewhere else? I walked into Chug Pub in October and the bartender made it sound like the elimination of the Uighur menu was a permanent thing.

  • Oh no, Made in China (SF Parkside) is reported on Yelp as closed! Be on the lookout for where their Hunan and Northeastern Chinese chefs turn up. Their menu was a unique combination of those regional cuisines and shao kao (skewers). The brother of the Shenyang-born owner owns BBQ King in San Bruno, and there’s some overlap in their Dongbei dishes. It’s bad news for Hunan fans in SF— besides the special Hunan menu at Henry Hunan in Northbeach, SF’s remaining Hunan-named restaurants are mostly Chinese American. For Hunan dishes in SF, your best bet is at Sichuan restaurants. Made In China’s liquor license was suspended a year ago. Any word on what’s replacing it?

  • Muslim Eastern House (Fremont) is closed. That leaves three Islamic Chinese places.

Made in China’s liquor license was only suspended for 15 dys (for serving alcohol to a minor) and is still active through March of next year, per the ABC databse
.

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  • The second location of ChongQing Xiao Mian opens in the old Muslim Eastern House location in Fremont. They’re an offshoot of the Spicy King empire, which includes Spicy Empire (San Mateo) / Spicy King (SF Chinatown) / Newark Cafe (Newark) / and Spicy Queen (SF Inner Richmond). That group ran defunct Pot Sticker, whose kitchen was led by a former Z&Y chef. Hunan House in Chinatown and Grand Hot Pot House in the Inner Richmond was started by someone who split from Pot Sticker. Based on some menu similarities, I suspect that Spicy Garden in SoMa might also be a former employee of the Pot Sticker group

  • T4, (Taiwanese, Livermore) the Oakland location of which Luke Tsai recommended the food, opens its second location in Livermore.

  • Hong Kong Banjum 0410 (Santa Clara, Korean Chinese) This chain from Korea has a few locations in Southern California. See review

  • New Ming’s Restaurant (Sichuan, Soma) This is mostly a Chinese American place, with a lunch buffet, but I noticed several Sichuan dishes when I walked in for a menu. Looking at yelp pictures, they’ve had these since 2013, perhaps earlier. 7x7 included their “Chung Qing wings” in the 2014 Top 100 list (maybe that inclusion led me to ignored them earlier…)

  • Tang collection replaced Made in China. Yelp lists it as Sichuan-Asian fusion, but there were no menus in their window on Nov. 18th and there was a sign saying they were still remodeling.

  • Homey skewers a San Jose shao kao restaurant. They have fried chicken rack, which is currently only available at BBQ King in San Bruno.

ICYMI, Roads and Kingdoms just posted an excellent feature article on Chonqing xiaomian (the dish, not the restaurant), which provides a good perspective on this specialty.

Chongqing’s Number One Noodle Obsessive

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Some more updates.

For the cursed location files, Village Garden opened at 1708 N. Milpitas Blvd. in Milpitas, where Shanghai Kitchen, Melin House, and Shanghai Restaurant used to live. They’re serving a few remaining Shanghai dishes, as well as handmade noodles, Northeastern and Sichuan dishes.

Some cursed location trivia— only two other SFBA locations have housed four different non-Cantonese Regional Chinese restaurants since 2005— 189 El Camino in San Bruno (BBQ King<-Smiling BBQ<-Sunny Shanghai, Shanghai Town) and 1773 Decoto Rd in Union City (Shanghai Cuisine<-Alike BBQ<-Sha Bistro<-Little Potato)

Some other news:

  • Shao Mountain San Jose is now called Hunan Impression, same owner.

  • Shao Mountain Fremont is closed.

  • Taiwan Taste has been open since 2012, and I previously missed it.

  • Chef Z’s (San Jose) takes over the former Sichuan Chili / Chef Ma spot, and continues the Sichuan theme

Not quite the same, but 420 Judah has had 5 separate incarnations ovr the same period as:

Shanghai Restaurant
Dragonfly (Pan Asian)
Dash Cafe (HK STyle)
Alice Chinese Bistro
Taste of Shandong

901 Kearny (now Kobe Bento) has gone through at least 8 transformations (all Asian including Shanghainese) since I’ve lived in San Francisco, but that’s over 50 years

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Can anyone recommend a really silky and satisfying hot tofu dish for lunch today?

A little late but perhaps useful for future- my wife and I enjoyed the jade tofu dish at Teo in a recent visit. @mzhu had a disappointing earlier experience though.

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Grand Hot Pot Lounge in the Richmond was started by the owners of D&A Cafe on Clement. Maybe they got a chef from Pot Sticker - but where did you come up with this connection?

The owner of GHPL’s sister restaurant, Hunan House on Washington St… told me.

IIRC there was a previous hint of a collaboration between the D&A/文記 group and the Pot Sticker Group when an East Bay 文記 branch showed up on the same business card as Spicy KIng, though I was never able to figure out the connection.

I started eating at GHPL shortly after it opened. It was being run by a young couple, and the wife (pregnant at the time) told me that her family had opened it, and that her Cantonese family were the long-time owners of D&A on Clement.

That’s the Kuang family. They started with restaurants in Santa Rosa and Novato, then build a chain of Cantonese cafes (including D & A) around the bay with differing names in English but all called 文記茶餐廳 in Chinese. At some point they saw the $$ in spicy food, and turned Washington Cafe/文記茶餐廳 in Chinatown into Hunan House, with hotpots on the second level before opening GHPL.

That makes sense. But I’m still not seeing where the connection to Spicy Empire / Spicy Queen / Spicy King comes from…

I believe hyperbowler mentioned a conversation on Chowhound with the Cantonese owner of Hunan House/GHPL who told him he had been affiliated with the Pot Sticker/Spicy King people; furthermore, his Newark Cafe somehow ended up in their hands. I’m guessing Louis Kuang may have been an investor/silent partner; he already had years of experience and owned several restaurants, while the server/cook couple from Z&Y took over The Pot Sticker on a shoestring.

In January, I’m going to making a post on trends in Bay Area Regional Chinese restaurants. For this round, I’m going to be focusing on SFBA geography, regional styles, naming conventions, and yelp ratings (I’ll be more surface level than @chandavkl’s in-depth article). If you have any suggestions for my analysis, send me a private message— I won’t be able to look at details like the frequency of certain dishes on menus, but I welcome such suggestions for future analyses.

New additions

  • Split off thread on Taiwanese fried chicken
  • Spicy Way (Milpitas) Sichuan. Best of luck to them— they are the fifth Regional Chinese places to inhabit 42 Dixon Road since 2010, which makes them the most cursed location on this list (at least in that time span)
  • Royal Feast (Millbrae) unknown
  • Boiling Point (San Mateo) Taiwanese Hot Pot adds to their Fremont location.
  • Papa Lin (Newark) Taiwanese
  • Cambowan (San Mateo) Taiwanese and Cambodian!

Full-service Taiwanese restaurants I missed

Be on the lookout
I’ve got a script set up to look for changes to California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) status at addresses of known Regional Chinese restaurants.

How could you not guess that English Rose Garden was a Taiwanese restuarant?

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold