Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)

jiangnan
shanghainese
sichuanese
chinese

#1

Since the 1960s, the Bay Area’s repertoire of Chinese dishes has continued to expand beyond its Cantonese roots. Just in the past three years, multiple restaurants specializing in underrepresented foods from Xinjiang and Shaanxi have opened, and dishes from Guangxi, Wuhan, and Jiangxi have become available. You could eat at Bay Area Chinese restaurants every night for a month, devoting each meal to a different region of China, et hnic group, or international community, and never repeat a restaurant or style.

To help make sense of the diversity of Chinese cuisine available in the Bay Area, this project aims to document restaurants that specialize in a regional, or ethnic-based, Chinese sub-cuisine, or at least have uncommon regional dishes. The list is a superficial treatment, but it will point you to over 350 restaurants whose specialities fall outside the general Cantonese or Chinese American umbrellas.

Regions of course don’t live in a vacuum, and a chef’s pedigree (or menu) says nothing of their skills at making regional dishes. Treat these categories as rough guidance, and be warned the list includes outstanding restaurants and real stinkers. For a more in-depth discussion of a restaurant or regional cuisine, and to help separate restaurant specialities from fool’s gold, check out linked discussions on Hungry Onion or start a new discussion to get the ball rolling. I’ve also included links to Chowhound discussions and journalist reviews, and each restaurant is linked to Yelp for address and location info. For more background on cuisines/dishes, I recommend looking through Carolyn Phillips’ website and book on regional Chinese cuisine, All Under Heaven. Her Vice article is an excellent primer. Also check out Clarissa Wei’s regional Chinese guide to LA and Jim Thurman’s Essential Guide to Regional Chinese Food in LA .

Some Cantonese sub-categories are included, but let’s focus on Cantonese (i.e., Guangdong) and Hong Kong in other posts since they form the foundation of the Bay Area’s Chinese cuisine, and have lots of specialty shops worthy of their own discussions (e.g., dim sum, desserts, meats, etc.).

Please add new discoveries and let us know if anything has been mis-characterized, especially if a place’s menu doesn’t reflect the purported region. This initial post is a wiki, so I can update it with your tips to keep things current.

Version 2.0 of this list is on Chowhound.


Northwest 西北

See also Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Daguid’s book, Beyond the Great Wall

Shaanxi 陕西 / Xi’an 西安 (most have wide hand-ripped noodles and liang pi. See also the hand-pulled noodle primer)

Gansu 甘肅 / 甘肃 and capita Lanzhou 蘭州 / 兰州

See also the hand-pulled noodle primer for five restaurants listing Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles and about ten other places with hand-pulled noodles (Lamian 拉麵 aka Shou lamian 手拉麵)

  • Lanzhou Hand-Pulled Noodles (Milpitas) HO owner worked in Lanzhou. Regular, thick, wide, & extra-wide hand-pulled noodles
  • Shinry Lamian (Fremont) Jonathan Kauffman; renamed from Xin Yuan House, owner from Lanzhou, six thicknesses/shapes of hand-pulled wheat noodles and also buckwheat noodles
  • Skyview Noodle Tea (Pittsburg) HO Chef Jing is from Gansu, and menu items are similar to Shaanxi restaurants. Currently, knife-shaved noodles rather than wide hand-pulled.

Uighur ئۇيغۇر تائاملىرى 维吾尔族 / Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区

Shaanxi wide ripped, biangbiang noodles, a few Shaanxi items but not a Shaanxi-focussed menu

Some Xinjiang dishes available at:

Lagman

  • See the hand-pulled noodle primer for places with Lagman aka Legman aka Xinjiang ban mian 拌面 aka Latiaozi 拉条子 aka Shou lamian 手拉麵.

Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区


Shanxi 山西

See the thread devoted to knife-shaved and scissor-cut noodles


Northeast / Dongbei / 东北 / 東北

Full menu restaurants

Shao Kao (skewer) restaurants featuring Shenyang items


Shandong 山东 / 山東

Shandong owner and/or food, with no direct nod to Korea. Most Shandong dishes are noodle, bun, or dumpling related.

Shandong &/or Chinese Korean

Shandong dishes with Hangul on the menu. All have black zha jiang mian


Northern 北方

Geographical usage here, but note that the terms “Mandarin Chinese” and “Northern Chinese” are sometimes used as all-inclusive terms to describe that which is not Cantonese or Cantonese-American.

Beijing 北京

Tan Family Cuisine / Tanjia Cai 譚家菜
See China Daily (article).

  • Royal Feast (Millbrae) Chef Liu was the executive chef at Beijing Grand Hotel, and Melanie Wong found him here after savoring his food at China Village and in Fresno. See CH thread and Chowdown report.

Islamic Chinese 清真 / Hui 回族

Tianjin 天津

Inner Mongolia 内蒙古

Hand-pulled noodles, non-specific region

  • Bing’s Dumpling (Fremont) hand-pulled noodles and Xiao long bao, owner from Shandong HO
  • Din Ding Dumpling House (Fremont, Union City) HO hand-pulled noodles and Xiao long bao, some Shaanxi dishes
  • Mingle’s Mango (San Jose) hand-pulled noodles. Also has eight varieties of Xiao long bao (including Godiva chocolate & hazelnut, and, to my knowledge unique to them in the Bay Area, lamb); a few starters, hand-pulled noodles appear to be the wide variety. Noodle soups include a vegan tomato and egg (Shaanxi inspired?) and Sichuan/Chongqing types. Chinese name is 北斗心軒 and the owner is a big Dragonball fan.
  • Mom Dumplings (Milpitas) Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles
  • Yi Yuan (Millbrae) / Yummy Szechuan (Millbrae) HO; CH, CH Chef Hu Wen Jun trained at Shijiazhuang Culinary Academy in Hebei. Also has hand-pulled noodles.

Other Northern and Jiaozi /dumplings or bing (might actually be Shandong or Dongbei)

Other Northern, descendant/affiliated with restauranteur, Qinghe Li (h/t @souperman). See also takeout only Yummy Dumpling.


Shanghai 上海 / Jiangsu 江蘇 / Huaiyang 淮揚菜 / Zhejiang 浙江 / Jiangnan 江南

See Fuchsia Dunlop’s book Land of Fish and Rice, xiao long bao discussion, and sheng jian bao discussion.

Mix of Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang

Nanjing 南京

Wuxi 無錫 and Suzhou 苏州

Yangzhou 扬州

  • Gangnam House (Milpitas) Menu lists Yangzhou-style dishes in English as “Gangnam style”. By name, most, if not all of these dishes are available elsewhere, but noted because it has an owner from Yangzhou according to Yelpers and more info is desired.

Jiangxi 江西


Wuhan 武汉 / Hubei 湖北


Guangxi / Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区


Hunan 湖南

See also Fuchsia Dunlop’s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

General Hunan

Hunan noodle

Hunan dry pot


Sichuan 四川 and Chongqing 重慶

Sichuan dishes are popular on non-Cantonese menus, but these restaurants are more focussed. Many of these have dry pot options too. See also Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty and the Hungry Onion Sichuan/Chongqing noodles thread. There are a few local chains in the mix, as well as a contingent of East Bay chefs who once worked at China Village.

Sichuan

Chongqing & Sichuan
These restaurants promote that their owners or chefs are trained in Chongqing, or refer to a large number of dishes as being Chongqing or 山城 (“mountain city”) style.

Owned by Chef Yiwen “Truman” Du and Jenny Wu

Independent Chongqing restaurants

Sichuan dry pot 干锅
Dry pot is available as a part of many Sichuan, Hunan, and other restaurant menus. These restaurants appear to specialize in dry pot.

Chongqing hot pot

Sichuan hot pot


Guizhou 贵州省


Yunnan 雲南 / 云南

The following have no indicators of a Yunnan kitchen (I think they’re all Cantonese/Hong Kong), but I’ll list because they serve a few dishes containing Mixian noodles:


Teochew 潮洲 / Chiuchow / Chaozhou / Teo Chow / Chinjiew

See also The Cleaver Quarterly’s article on Teoswa cuisine.

Teochew etc. / Vietnamese / Trieu Chau
My understanding is that these reflect the cuisine of Teochew speaking people who immigrated to the US from Southeast Asia.


Hakka 客家

See also the Hakka Cookbook.


Taiwanese 臺灣 / 台灣

See also bubble tea, shaved ice, Taiwanese fried chicken and various Taiwanese bakeries and desserts.

Taiwanese "military dependent’s village cuisine"
See description of this cuisine on Chowhound

Taiwanese Hotpot


Cantonese 粵 / Guangdong 廣東 / 广东 subsets and offshoots

See KK’s Regional Cantonese primer. Some scattered Shunde and Zhongshan Cantonese dishes in Millbrae at Gourmet Village, the Kitchen, Zhong Shan Restaurant (SF Parkside), and Champagne restaurant (San Mateo).

See also dim sum, Cantonese seafood, Chinese bakeries, Chinese BBQ or roast meats, wo choy, clay pot, banquet, congee / jook / porridge, Taishan / Toishan, Cha Chaan Teng, HK Cantonese, Hong Kong cafe, Hong Kong western cuisine, and restaurants Yum’s Bistro and Cooking Papa.

Macanese 澳門 / 澳门

  • T 28 (SF Parkside)

Shenzhen 深圳市 or Hong Kong style chicken pot

Shunde 順德


Other

See also hot pot, dry pot, and Chinese hybrid cuisines such as Peranakan / Nonya (Singapore / Malaysian Chinese), and of course Chinese American, American Chinese, the elusive “NY Cantonese”, Kosher Chinese, Chinese fusion.

Chinese Vegetarian (notables)

Chinese Vegetarian

Indian / Desi Chinese

Chifa / Peruvian Chinese

Shao Kao 烧烤 / Chinese Skewers 串
See Chowhound and SF Chronicle coverage. Many of these have Dongbei side dishes and soups.

Malatang

Hot pot (unknown or non-specific region)
Please open a new thread if you have info on these places!

To be categorized later
Please open a new thread if you have info on these places!

  • Bao Bao Noodle Bar (SF Outer Richmond)
  • Fiery Shanghai (Pleasanton)
  • Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant (Newark)
  • Hunan Chef (Pleasanton) Mostly Chinese American, but scattered other stuff like Chinese breakfast on weekends (fan tuan, soy milk), northern noodles from Qi Shan to Chao Ma Mian, big sesame pancakes, fish gluten
  • MOMO Noodle , a food truck, mentions “family recipes” for what they refer to as “bàn miàn”. Anyone have insights into their brief menu? I thought “bàn miàn” was the same as “lo mein” (the Cantonese dredged egg noodles, not the Northeast Chinese American derivative), but the dishes, have more of a Sichuanish persuasion, perhaps the owner’s contemporary spin.
  • Spicy Heaven (San Mateo) Shanghai, knife shaved noodles, Sichuan, and northern Chinese
  • Taste (Palo Alto) HO Sichuan and Beijing specialties. Chef used to work at Chili House in SF.

International chains
In 2013, @chandavkl asked why there weren’t more Chinese restaurant chains. By 2016, he commented on the influx, and in 2018, several have opened, which matches a broader trend of chain Asian restaurants opening in the SFBA. Here’s a running list. I’m generally leaving out pastry/dessert and tea shops, as they’re too numerous to keep track of.

US Chains (from outside the SFBA, not including cafes/tea)

Odds and ends

Category description in progress— contains Celebrity chef, contemporary Chinese-American, and renowned Chinese chefs.

  • China Live (SF Chinatown)
  • Din Tai Fung (San Jose) HO Taiwanese chain
  • Dumpling Time (SF SoMa) venture by Kash Feng, Shaanxi born owner of Michelin starred Omakase.
  • Eight Tables (SF Chinatown) Si Fang Cai or ‘Private Chateau Cuisine’ tasting menu upstairs of George Chen’s China Live.
  • Jai Yun (SF Chinatown) Nanjing chef Nei Chia Ji offers a multi-course, reservation only meal, vegetarian upon request. CH; Lucky Peach
  • Mister Jiu’s (SF Chinatown) Brandon Jew’s one Michelin star California take on Cantonese
  • M.Y. China (SF Union Square) Martin Yan’s venture with the owners of Koi Palace. CH HO
  • Royal Feast (Millbrae) Chef Liu was the executive chef at Beijing Grand Hotel, and Melanie Wong found him here after savoring his food at China Village and in Fresno. See CH thread and Chowdown report.

'Taiwanese night market' in Sunnyvale CA/ SF Bay Area
Sichuan noodles at sixty-one SFBA Sichuan restaurants
Jonathan Kauffman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about us and our thread today!
What does SGV have that SFBA does not?
Drafts disappearing
[SFBA] Silicon Valley, Hayward to Milpitas news and notes
Chihuo -- excellent SFBA food coverage
[SFBA] Playing around with a Bay Area Indian cuisine mapping/ classification idea
Embedding google docs
Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- April 2016 - December 2017 archive
Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- April 2016 - December 2017 archive
Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- April 2016 - December 2017 archive
#60
  • The 248 replies from April 2016 to December 19, 2017 are archived here
  • The 207 replies from Dec. 17, 2017 to Dec. 7 2018 are archived here.

#248

Open

  • dumpling station ( Sunnyvale) Shanghainese. Soup filled Sheng Jian bao look awesome.

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