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 few 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, ethnic 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 400 restaurants whose specialties 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 a curated analogue of the guide, consider the San Francisco Chronicle’s James Beard Award winning Many Chinas, Many Tables project, which used this list to identify candidate restaurants, and which contains short descriptions and dish recommendations for dozens of restaurants.

For additional 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.). Here’s a quick primer to get you started down that route: San Francisco Bay Area Cantonese Primer

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.

Closures are recorded in the graveyard of 247 regional Chinese restaurants and the 2014 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 capital 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

Wide ripped or biangbiang noodles, but not a Shaanxi or Uyghur 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

  • MK Noodle (Dublin) only Shanxi dishes are fried pork (过油肉) and a similar (housemate, machine-cut) noodle dish with vinegar
  • M.Y. China (SF Union Square) knife-shaved, scissor-cut, and other Shanxi noodles CH HO
  • Xiang Xiang (Sunnyvale), has knife shaved noodles and round buckwheat noodles
  • The Three Sheep (Newark) chef from Xinzhou. Small menu. “Lamb meat & Chinese yam soup” is a Shanxi dish. Other Northern dishes and snacks (including Lamb shaomai)

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).

  • Beijing Chef (Pleasanton) Peking duck too
  • Royal Feast (Millbrae) Award winning 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) HO hand-pulled noodles and Xiao long bao, owner from Shandong, frozen dumplings too.
  • Din Ding Dumpling House (Fremont, Union City) HO hand-pulled noodles and Xiao long bao, some Shaanxi dishes. Sells frozen dumplings too at Fremont location.
  • Mom Dumplings (Milpitas) Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles. Sells frozen dumplings too.
  • 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 or even Shanghai)

Other Northern, descendant/affiliated with Hebei born restauranteur, Qinghe Li (h/t @souperman). Many also sell frozen dumplings, including 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

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

Guilin 桂林

Luizhou 柳州


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.

麻辣一品 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

See also Georgia Freedman’s Cooking South of the Clouds: Recipes and Stories from China’s Yunnan Province

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, Diana Zheng’s Jia! The Food of Swatow and the Teochew Diaspora, and the Netflix documentary Flavorful Origins.

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 Linda Lau Anusasananan’s the Hakka Cookbook.


Taiwanese 臺灣 / 台灣

See also bubble tea, shaved ice, Taiwanese fried chicken and various Taiwanese bakeries and desserts. See also Steven Crook & Katy Hui-wen Hung’s A Culinary History of Taipei: Beyond Pork and Ponlai and prolific podcaster Cathy Erway’s Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island

Taiwanese bento/steam plate, not tea-focussed

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, 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

Japanese Chinese

  • Yu Raku (San Mateo) currently is the only member of this sub-category. See Luke Tsai’s article and an older CH thread for why.

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 Chinese Eats (Willow Glen, San Jose) gua bao and cheese tea
  • Bao Bao Noodle Bar (SF Outer Richmond) gua bao, various regional noodles
  • 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.
  • Noobowl in Westfield Oakridge (San Jose) and maybe already in SF Westfield, food court Sichuan labeled dishes finally hit the mall. I’m guessing the biang biang noodles aren’t true to their name. Any info?
  • Spicy Heaven (San Mateo) Shanghai, knife shaved noodles, Sichuan, and northern Chinese
  • Taste (Palo Alto) HO Sichuan and various northern 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)

US Chains (started, and expanded from, Bay Area)

Local “Chains” (three or more restaurants with same owners) yet to expand outside SFBA

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.
  • 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
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'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
Here Are the Winners of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Media Awards
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
Graveyard of 247 Regional Chinese Restaurants in the SFBA
[SFBA] Silicon Valley, Hayward to Milpitas news and notes
Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- April 2016 - December 2017 archive
Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)- December 2017 - December 2018 archive
Chihuo -- excellent SFBA food coverage
[SFBA] Playing around with a Bay Area Indian cuisine mapping/ classification idea
Embedding google docs
#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.
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#248

Open

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

Closed

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#249

Closed as per yelp

Open

  • Hu Tong Jian Bing at 140 S. B St in San Mateo has original, curry chicken, beef stew, roasted duck Jian bing. They’ve been open 10 days, and it’s a pop-up a business that (used to be?) Elixiria. The guy I spoke to said the owner is from Beijing, and started cooking Jian bing at the Berkeley uji time location. The batter is wheat flour and water, and these have a crispy wonton rather than a you tiao (long savory doughnut).
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#250

The Express headline used the spelling “Yuen” but most references use the spelling “Yuan.”

from EB Express:

Although I didn’t love everything on the menu at Xiang Yuan Xiao Long Bao, I’ve come back several times for the xiao long bao and sheng jian bao. There might be better xiao long bao out there if you’re willing to spend an hour driving and many more hours waiting, but at Xiang Yuan Xiao Long Bao, you don’t have to. It’s a place where you can easily get above-average, reasonably priced dumplings any day of the week — and that in itself makes it worth a visit.

Xiang Yuan Xiao Long Bao
1668 E. 14th St., San Leandro
510-351-6698
Mon.-Sun 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Cash, all major credit cards

Sample Menu
Pork xiao long bao (6) … $6.95
Pan-fried pork bun (6) … $9.25
Chicken with wine sauce … $7.95
Cucumber with garlic sauce … $6.95
Meatball in brown sauce … $14.95

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#251

The San Mateo Eden Silk Road, once Uyghur food with random Chinese dishes, has had skewer and hot pot menus for a while. Anyone been or had their “Chao Shan beef hotpot?” They are next door to Little Sheep, so probably get overflow.

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#252

That’s the weirdest combo- Uyghur food and Teochew hotpot?

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#253
  • Qin-Tang Charm (Cupertino), a Shaanxi style (Qin cuisine) restaurant presumably named after dynasties in which the capital was roughly (present day Shaanxi capital) Xi’an (historically Chang’an) . The “Qin-Tang fried chicken legs” appears in yelp photos to be Gourd-shaped Roasted Chicken 葫芦鸡, a dish I don’t recall seeing locally before. Pretty pictures. Anyone know if this is connected to Xi’an Kitchen in Mipitas (an ABC/google search inconclusively hinted at that)

  • Xiang Xiang noodle in Cupertino is closed.

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#254

Royal Feast in Millbrae has a version, but I think it’s a duck though. (pre-order item) https://scontent-sjc3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/17264749_1200584380040781_7410949475158029543_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_ht=scontent-sjc3-1.xx&oh=9735dd3ce8c699459c257e2122243bf7&oe=5CC6592E

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(Gary Soup) #255

it’s apparently one of the most famous dishes of Shaanxi. Maybe hard to find because it’s a very laborious process to make. Final product looks like an ancient version of KFC here.

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#256

The restaurant has Soleil Ho’s name written all over it.

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(Gary Soup) #257

What do you know that we don’t?

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#258

Nothing. I think one of her intro articles says that she likes Shaanxi food.

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#259
  • Hanlin Tea Restaurant on Kearny’s website says, “We will be closed permanently after 12/31/2018. We apologize for any inconvenience”. I wonder what happened there?
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#260

Two Shanghai closures

  • Gourmet Noodle House on Geary (according to yelp, plus it didn’t look open when I drove by the other day)
  • Shanghai Gourmet (Walnut Creek).

Open

Also, someone on Chinese language Facebook group SFHappyeaters reports that Yang Kong Street, a US-based restaurant Taiwanese-ish/dim sum seeming to aim for a Din Tai Fung vibe, has opened in a MIlpitas mall.

According to a Portland paper, "Yong Kang Street Noodle and Dumpling House is a franchise of a Las Vegas-founded dim sum spot with locations in the New York area, conceived by food court management company HIG Management "

Looks like they have Franchises in Houston, and the northeast too, and the locations seem to have some autonomy. The restaurant’s Vegas Facebook page shows DTF-level XLB, but Yelp photos show machine-made ones, cracked and spilling into metal cups. Will the local one be up to Milpitas standards?

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#261
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#262
  • Noodle Home (Castro Valley) Chinese name translates to “Northwest Hand Pulled Noodles”, similar stuff as Shaanxi restaurants. I wonder the chef is from recently closed Northwest Noodle House in San Jose.
  • Beijing Chef (Pleasanton) yelp pics show Peking duck
  • Royal Cuisine (Cupertino) Northeastern … and Sichuan of course!
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(Gary Soup) #263

I believe Yong Kang Jie is a famous food street in Taipei.

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#264

January 28, 2019

The Future of Chinese Food in San Francisco

What: Panelists Carolyn Jung, Luke Tsai, and Jonathan Kauffman will explore the Chinese food landscape in the Bay Area, including regional cuisines, what’s trending, and what to order. All Under Heaven author Carolyn Phillips moderates. Appetizers like dongbei potstickers and wild mushroom egg rolls come from China Live.
Details: Held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at China Live, 644 Broadway. Tickets cost $25 for SFPFS members and $65 for everyone else.

In their landmark Guide to Regional Chinese Cuisines published in 2018, the San Francisco Chronicle said "Chinese food in Northern California has never been more varied and exciting.” In this panel discussion we will explore the Chinese food landscape in the Bay Area and where it is heading. We will learn about the regional cuisines represented locally and hear about what’s trending, tips on finding great restaurants and what to order. Our panelists include local food writers Carolyn Jung, author of the popular food blog, FoodGal; SF Magazine’s Food Editor, Luke Tsai & SF Chronicle Food Reporter, Jonathan Kauffman. Our moderator is Carolyn Phillips, author of All Under Heaven

https://crm.sfpfs.com/public/event/details/9a34c5b3f50d3d3da842b8509c76207f6a3586aa/1?fbclid=IwAR0rwjdr9QyMjppcefz_-ihF457gqI4qtn4JY_ZfimQ2pksbWSrVC-WE_VI

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#265

What, no Hyperbowler or SCK!? I’m gonna boycott this event!

1 Like