Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)

A post was split to a new topic: [Millbrae] Porridge and Things

I’ve updated the original post to reflect the closure of 67 businesses from January 2020-May 2021. I’ve decided to delete the linked Google Map because it’s tough to keep up to date and I’m not sure anyone uses it as a resource.

Also into the original post, I’m working on incorporating around 40 restaurants not previously on the list (mostly post-pandemic openings, a few I missed first time around), as well as a list of pop-ups, ghost-kitchen businesses, online-only ventures, etc. Please let me know what I’ve missed before I search on Instagram, etc. for more things to incorporate.

Finally, I’m thinking about all the ways this list, and its scope, is dated and how to proceed. Ideas are welcome!

Large menu virtual restaurants with in-house chefs or partnered with restaurants
Most of these allow you to purchase from different restaurants/chefs all in the same order.

Ghost Kitchens / Delivery for established restaurants

Pre-order/Ghost kitchen/Pop-ups

Food trucks and farmer’s market stands

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As we enter into the yellow tier, and after a 14 month hiatus, now seemed like a good idea to update the original post.

Below is a summary of forty something new additions to the Regional Chinese roundup since March 2020. Thank you to all the Hungry Onion users who reported on these in earlier posts, and my apologies for missing some places that had actually been open for years-- I’m increasingly out of touch, so additions, corrections, and comments are very welcome.

I’ve noticed that the bulk of new brick and mortars are sister-restaurants or parts of local, and in some cases national or international, chains. That’s nothing new, and testament to the quality and success of many businesses, but it jumps out in this climate where so few solo-businesses are having the opportunity to open. New virtual kitchens and pop-ups have opened, particularly in the Taiwanese category. As if we’re not lucky enough to have new tastes from overseas recreated here, there’s also been lots of chef creativity, from refined to crowd-pleasing. And, of course, there’s been no stop to bao-mania (gua, sheng-jian) and dumpling-mania, even in SF neighborhoods like Hayes Valley and Bernal Heights.

Northwest

Shaanxi 陕西 / Xi’an 西安

Gansu 甘肅 / 甘肃 and capital Lanzhou 蘭州 / 兰州

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

Wide-pulled noodle

Northern 北方

Northeast / Dongbei / 东北 / 東北 Full menu restaurants

  • Pan Fried Dumplings (Newark) SJB, “snowflake dumplings” (whispy edge potstickers), and a variety of northeastern dishes. Has a sister restaurant in San Jose, and is part of the same group that owns Yummy Yummy Bao.

Northeast Shao Kao (skewer) restaurants featuring Shenyang items

Jiaozi or bing

Northern 北方 Shandong &/or Chinese Korean

Jiangnan 江南

Central Highlands

Hunan 湖南

Chongqing & Sichuan

  • Chuan Yu (Oakland) former chef from (closed) General Tso Kitchen in SF
  • Yu Noodle (Cupertino)

Sichuan 四川

Guizhou 贵州省

Yunnan 雲南 / 云南

Southeast

Teochew-Singaporean

  • Lion Dance Cafe (Oakland) “Flavors from our teochew-singaporean family recipes, nostalgic hawker favorites and the legacy of the chinese american diaspora”, pre-order or show up. Limited hours. Vegan!

Taiwanese 臺灣 / 台灣

Taiwanese bento/steam plate, not tea-focussed

Odds and ends

Hot pot (unknown or non-specific region)

  • Fire Pot (South San Francisco) virtual-kitchen

Steam pot

Shao Kao 烧烤 / Chinese Skewers 串

Vegetarian

  • Cozy Wok (Oakland) plant-based virtual-kitchen
  • Lion Dance Cafe (Oakland) “Flavors from our teochew-singaporean family recipes, nostalgic hawker favorites and the legacy of the chinese american diaspora”, pre-order or show up. Limited hours. Vegan!

Finally, some reported-closed restaurants are back (or have been back for a while…)

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  • I learned on Chinese language site theChiHuo that a new Mountain View restaurant called Embrace Luck is actually a sister-restaurant to Sichuan-hot-pot restaurant Jin Li Yuan (Sunnyvale). TheChiHuo reports they serve a mix of Hunan, Sichuan, and Shanghai dishes. (See also theChiHuo’s SFBA feed in English)
  • A Chowhound post indicated that Ping’s Bistro, which has connections to other Hunan restaurants, has an unopened third location in San Mateo.
  • Also on Chowhound, Melanie Wong let me know that Wonderful’s Foster City sister restaurant is called Chez Xue . The Millbrae location was the first US location of the Beijing-based Hunan chain.
  • According to ABC records, Rolling Snack (Newark), which opened in late 2020 and serves deep-fried Sichuan skewers, may have a common owner with Zhangfei Hot Pot (Fremont) Sichuan hot pot.
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  • Mandarin Gardin (Concord) Korean-Chinese, has transferred its liquor license to a different restaurant at the same address, but appears to be open based on recent Yelp reviews
  • According to ABC records, the owner of Fiery Shanghai (Pleasanton) is opening up “Top Pot Restaurant” in the same complex, in the former Yummy Chengdu spot. There’s no indication that it is associated with the Pacifica restaurant “Top Pot”, which, incidentally, have/had? biang biang noodles to accompany hot pot. Yay Pacifica!
  • I tossed Dim Sum Corner (SF Chinatown) HO into the Shanxi category to acknowledge that they’re the only remaining restaurant that has scissor-cut noodles (M.Y. China was the first and only other to my knowledge).
  • If I’m understanding a Yelp reviewer correctly, Elite Dumpling (Hayward) has since later 2019 been the rebranded version of Cantonese/Chinese American House Cafe. I’m not sure if House Cafe’s staff/chef are still there now, but they were always very nice, and I recall the chef saying he used to run a Cantonese place somewhere around Fruitvale, Oakland. Anyway … the menus show no obvious connection, but apparently Elite Dumpling shares an owner with Vision Dumpling (South San Francisco) and Dumpling Era (San Bruno)
  • Speaking of dumpling chains, Dumpling Garden (Mountain View) owner Kenny Qiu now owns five places, and managed to pose with customer Tyra Banks early on. In addition to Dumpling Garden HO, he now opens Dumpling Capital (Santa Clara), Epic Dumpling (Sunnyvale), Dumpling Depot (Sunnyvale) HO, and Dumpling City (Palo Alto). Along with the different names, are different menu compositions at each location.
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@theluketsai at KQED announced yesterday a weeklong series on Eating Taiwanese in the Bay. His opening statement synthesizes cultural background, interviews, and personal experience and motivates the timeliness of the project, both in terms of Taiwanese food’s local availability/production and global politics. Lots to look forward to, and think about, from the stellar list of contributors he teased on Twitter.

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Openings

  • Spicy House 川香小館 (Daly City) popular Sichuan items, also lists 油泼面 (you po mian, the Shaanxi noodle dish)
  • Lotus Cafe (Union City) Hunan/Sichuan, in the former Sama Uyghur space (the larger location after they’d moved)

Closures

  • Yelp reports that T-28, the Macau/Hong Kong cafe has closed. Can anyone confirm? I’ve come across a few Yelp false alarms recently, so hopefully that’s an error.

Upcoming

  • There’s a pending liquor license for Dumpling Union at 1809 Union St, San Francisco, in Marina/Cow Hollow. Any info on this?
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Closures according to Yelp

  • Simmer (SF Parkside) hot pot
  • Eurasia (Richmond) which had [Edit: I neglected to delete this unfinished thought on a restaurant outside the scope of the Regional Chinese roundup, but serendipity struck when @junesix announced that Eurasia (Richmond) is now Dumpling House Mongolian Cuisine!]
  • Dumpling Station (Sunnyvale)

Openings

  • Ubest Dumpling (Fremont)
  • The Mandarin (Menlo Park) Sichuan possibly Chongqing. Has the same owner (current, former?) as China Wok in Vallejo.
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A post was split to a new topic: Dumpling House Mongolian Cuisine (Richmond)

Openings

Closures per yelp

  • Suzhe Eatery (Palo Alto), Shanghainese, which was a replacement of long-time Su Hong
  • Mandarin Garden (Concord), which had Korean-Chinese dishes
  • Du Xiao Yue (Fremont), which had Taiwanese dishes
  • Classic Guilin Rice Noodles closes its San Jose, but the Oakland location, the Bay Area’s first Guilin specialist, remains.
  • Yummy Crab, the Fremont offshoot of Spicy Station, a Wuhan specialist , in Cupertino
  • I’ve not seen reported elsewhere the closures of Hong Kong cafe Hang Out Spot or of dim sum spot Golden Saba. Can anyone confirm the latter? Their liquor license expired in May. Tangential factoids— Melanie Wong reported that Golden Saba shared ownership with Basa Seafood Express on 24th St. Basa is to my knowledge is the only place in the Mission District where you can get Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory Fortune Cookies ($2.50/bag, always tastes fresh).
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Jessica Yadegaran reports in the Mercury News that the owners of Dumpling Home in SF’s Hayes Valley have soft-opened Dumpling Hours in Walnut Creek. Relatively uncommon (for the SFBA) XLB fillings include numbing spicy pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp and loofah. To my knowledge, they’re the only place on the northern section of the 680-corridor to offer pleat-down low-leavened sheng jian bao aside from San Ramon’s I-Shanghai Delight.

It’s located at 1389 N. Main Street. Anyone know what parking is like there on a typical weekday around lunchtime?

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Drove by a new place on Geneva Ave in SF, B&W Kitchen. From the menu looks like a jack of all trades Chinese, but maybe @hyperbowler can discern a focus.

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Xian Kitchen now has a branch in San Jose, on De Anza in the same mall as Hmart.

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It looks like a standard Cantonese restaurant. Some interesting specials worth a try.

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Closures

  • Imperial Tea Court closed its Berkeley location on August 28th according to their Instagram feed. Their Ferry Building location will continue to have hand stretched noodles.
  • Fusion Pot (San Leandro) has closed per yelp
  • Fire Pot (South SF) has closed per yelp
  • Old Shanghai (Outer Richmond SF) has closed per yelp. There had been an ownership change in 2020, but Yelp is the first I’m hearing it’s permanently closed. Any more info out there?
  • Fortune Kitchen (Fremont), which had northeastern and other fare, has closed and been replaced by One Piece Lamian.

Openings

  • One Piece Lamian (Fremont), a northwestern Chinese noodle specialist with hand-pulled noodles, roujianmo, dapanji, etc. Noodles can be ordered as angel hair, regular thin, thicker round, small flat, or general wide.
  • (for record keeping), as noted above, Xian Kitchen opened in San Jose.
  • (Taiwanese) fantuan specialist Xiaoman Riceburritos 小滿飯糰 now has a San Jose and Santa Clara location.
  • Yilan bento Taiwanese Bento in SF Chinatown
  • Oooh, Lion Dance Cafe has a pending liquor license.
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4 posts were split to a new topic: East Bay Eateries near Amtrak

Din Ding Dumpling’s Fremont location will reopen across the street from its original Walnut Ave location: https://whatnowsf.com/din-ding-dumpling-house-to-reopen-in-new-building/

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Openings

  • Old Pier Hong Kong BBQ and Hot Pot (SF Parkside) malatang & hotpot in addition to the Hong Kong bbq & noodles/soups
  • Hunan Mifen (Sunnyvale) Hunan noodles
  • Apt Li Xiang (Milpitas) Taiwanese chain in the former Kung Fu Noodles space (was also a Chaozhou restaurant for a while. Menu includes beef noodle soup, dumplings, Shanghainese dishes such as XLB, pleat-down Sheng Jian Bao.
  • Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks (Santa Clara) new location of Taiwanese chain
  • A Yelper reports that Tianjin-specialist Golden Garlic (San Jose) has been replaced by a place called The Skewer Bar. Any more info out there?
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Closed

  • A Heart Szechuan Fish (Hayward)
  • Little Sichuan (San Mateo)
  • Root Chinese Restaurant (South SF), the Bay Area’s only restaurant with non-noodle based Jiangxi style dishes, has closed. The East Bay’s Noodles Fresh is from Jiangxi and has a few dishes made with Jiangxi rice noodles.

Open

  • Tasty Pot adds a Concord location, which had previously been reported in the Mercury News
  • As noted in my last post, The Skewer Bar (San Jose) opened in the old Golden Garlic space.

Future

  • Myeongdong Ja Jang is opening in the Pacific Pearl shopping center in Pleasanton according to ABC records and a story in Whatnowsf
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2