Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- December 2017 - December 2018 archive


  • Excluding the odds and ends, the list now contains over 400 restaurants, 80% of which opened since 2010. The bar for 2009 indicates restaurants opened in 2009 or before. Not shown, but I’ll note that about 25-30% of those restaurants opened since 2015 are categorized as hotpot or skewers.
  • Dangit, one of the two Lanzhou noodle specialists, Xin Yuan House (Fremont) is closed

A Hoodline article last year mentioned two things I neglected to note earlier.

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Looks like Crystal Jade is gone.

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While we’re active…

  • SF Richmond’s Wok This Way’s Chef Wang worked for 10 years at a Chongqing chain, Qiaotou Hot Pot. Interesting sounding dishes include Chongqing Xiao Mian, Chongqing hot & sour sweet potato noodles, Sichuan (Chongqing) Chili-fried fish, (Chongqing) boiled fish with bean sprouts in chili oil, (Chongqing) steamed chicken with chili sauce (mouth watering chicken). Szechuan rattan pepper chicken, Malatang, skewers, various drinks.

  • Underground Grill King (Outer Sunset) has reopened after two years. Karaoke and skewers.

  • Oyama BBQ (Pleasant Hill) skewers & dongbei

  • Sizzling Pot King opens up their third location in Fremont.

The new Bing & Boba on Haight bills itself as Taiwanese, and offers a “classic” jianbing (but who needs a peanut butter and nutella bing?)

Yelp categorizes them as “Taiwanese,” but the owners describe serving boba pearls warm “ like in Taiwan” and Jian bing as “ Chinese style “. The owners’ connection or previous experience making/eating Jianbing isn’t described in Hoodline’s article:

I’m curious what ingredients they use for the crepe. The owner of Tai Chi Jian Bing, who uses a mix of flours like mung bean powder, describe to me the difficulty of making a consistent product. See also the jian Bing thread which hasn’t been updated in a while, but is still accurate in describing most local Jian Bing as having long Chinese doughnuts (you Tiao) inside rather than crispy tofu skin or wontons.

Thank for the article, which I somehow missed.

Boba & Bing’s listed owner is Maison M LLC, described in B&B’s linkedin job offering as:

About us
Maison M, a family owned business established in 1948, is one of the leading quality driven food markets in Lebanon. It has earned its reputation by constantly providing a friendly environment to its customers and continuously raising its standards of quality.
Today Maison M operates a chain of super-food markets, a catering business, a food and beverage production company under the name of ‘Aradina’, a fine dining Cigar Lounge and a Lebanese Restaurant

Company details

Lebanon and Taiwanese? Hmmph.


  • V Pot (Albany) single serving hot pot and Sichuan noodles
  • 168 Restaurant (Richmond)
  • Little Fresh in the Sunset


I updated a bunch of the restaurant descriptions. For Sichuan restaurants, I listed the secondary cuisines (e.g., Boiling Beijing is Beijing & Sichuan).

I also added some new comments about chefs throughout the Original Post. Someone on Yelp said that the owner of House of Pancakes is from ShiJiaZhuang, Hebei (geographically closer to Shanxi than Beijing). That’s also where the owner of Yi Yuan/Yummy Szechuan was trained. The owner of Jenny’s Kitchen is also from somewhere in Hebei. Is there anything about what these restaurant’s offer in terms of style, dishes, or ingredients that’s different from the spectrum of other local northern and Beijing restaurants? In 2013, I asked for Yi Yuan’s chef to make some Hebei dishes, and he made cumin lamb, an off-menu stir-fried chicken with cucumber and carrots, and a different version of mu-shu pork than they normally serve.


  • Foodie Hall (Milpitas), a malatang place once connected with (Sichuan) Chef Zhao
  • Noodle Shanghai (San Mateo)
  • Hot pot garden in Millbrae is being replaced with Hee Kee Seafood, a project from the Hong Kong crab specialist

In Oakland Chinatown scheduled to open on July 17 -

Huangcheng Noodle House
734 Webster St.

From Hoodline Oakland:

The new spot reportedly will specialize in “dry and wet-style noodles with a broth made from an old family recipe,” said Al. Smoked tea duck is also said to be a featured item, with lunch specials running $11.75 per dish.

During his visit, Al spoke to a someone affiliated with the new eatery inside, who said that the noodle house will be officially open July 17.

Info on Huangcheng starts about four paragraphs from the top of this article:


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  • Lin’s Noodle Bar (San Ramon) replaces Yi Ping. The professional photos on Yelp look great, hopefully the food matches. Yi Ping’s liquor license doesn’t expire for a few months, so anyone know if it’s a rebranding? Yi Ping’s owner was from Chongqing.

Yes, the Davis story is one that has been repeated dozens, if not hundreds of times over all across the United States. You can get authentic Sichuan style food these days in Pullman WA, Lawrence KS, Madisonville VA, Athens, GA, and practically every other college town in the U.S. But strangely, for now, you still can’t get Sichuan food in Los Angeles Chinatown.

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The chef of Taste, on University Ave in Palo Alto, came from Chili House in SF, according to the servers.

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Interesting. I’m putting them under Sichuan and also under Beijing. I wonder if it’s the chef/owner from Spicy Legend, a short lived and pretty good Outer Richmond restaurant from a former Chili House chef.

Perhaps it’s similar to San Francisco’s Chinatown, where the incursion of non-Cantonese cuisine has been a hard-fought battle. I’ve been told that it’s because most of the prime commercial real estate was held by Chinese family associations or its prominent members, who only trusted Cantonese-speaking tenants. Historically, if you were seeking Shanghainese or Hunan food (not even Sichuan fare) you had to look around the fringes, especially Kearny St.

Sam Lok (now Z&Y) was the Trojan horse for Sichuan cuisine, when it brought Sichuan fare to its menu while owned by Cantonese. 901 Kearny (now Quickly/Kobe Bento) hosted a series of Shanghainese joints beginning with Meilong Village in the 1980s, and of course Henry’s Hunan originated on Kearny and spawned some ersatz imitators,

Do you know the name of that chef/ owner? Some of us if we go we can ask down here.

I only ate a CQXM. It was good, but I wasn’t half full when I was done! Will type up a report later.

I think I finally figured it out. Quite a mystery to explain why Iowa City has three Sichuan restaurants and Los Angeles Chinatown has none. This will change soon with the opening of a branch of the famed Sichuan Impression restaurant. However I don’t know if that’s more in response to LA Chinatown’s growth as a center of hipster dining, in that Sichuan Impression (along with Chengdu Taste) are two Alhambra Sichuan restaurants that have garnered wide general attention among LA area diners.

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I don’t know the name of the Spicy Legend chef, which was unaffiliated with the CQXM folks (they departed from Z&Y years earlier). Spicy Legend pretty much photocopied the Chili House menu and an old Chowhound thread said that the chef was from Henan.

Shinry Lamian is open on Thornton in Fremont.

Lin’s Noodle & Skewers Bar is open in San Ramon.