Regional Chinese roundup 3.0 (SF Bay Area)


Beijing-based chain Simmer Huang, which opened its first US location in 2017, is opening in Newark and Livermore according to an article in News For Chinese. Table-side transition from dry-pot to hot pot with hand-pulled noodles.

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Good to know! Some additional info I dug up about this chain.

Has anyone been to their branches here in the Bay Area?



Thanks for the link-- the trademark section has my eyes spinning.

It’s difficult to tell what they do well-- I hope someone has insights. The Milpitas location (at one point) had a 300-400 item menu, with everything from the speciality Dongbei pies, to Sichuan dishes (even toothpick lamb). For years they kept the sign up from the previous restaurant at that location, Perfect Chinese Food. Yelpers wound up tagging on new reviews to the previous restaurant’s yelp page.


  • Yiyi’s Mandarin Kitchen (SF Outer Richmond) owner’s profile on Yelp says he is from Hubei, and that it’s a Sichuan restaurant. General Tso Kitchen, and the now closed Gourmet Noodle House and Hot Duck have/had chefs from Hubei, and the former had a chef trained in Sichuan cuisine. Is there a connection between all these Richmond District restaurants?

  • Classic Guilin Rice Noodles now has a third location in Milpitas.

  • Shang Cafe, a Sichuan restaurant, has expanded beyond its Fremont location to San Jose.

  • Don Don Ramen (Sunnyvale) Ramen + Taiwanese sides

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I certainly don’t. But hopefully they do this well since that’s what the restaurant-founding gentleman was known for. But their Yelp reviews sure are terrible.



James Beard nomination to Jon Kauffman and team including Hyperbowler for “Many Chinas, Many Tables” in the SF Chronicle. Well done.


JBF Editors
Dining and Travel

“Many Chinas, Many Tables”
Jonathan Kauffman and Team
San Francisco Chronicle


(Gary Soup) #312

Don’t know wat happened at Taste of Formosa, but the the food was disappointing, the space a little too big, and the location a too far out Clement.



Whoah! A big congrats to @hyperbowler and @JonKauffman for the wonderful work they and the team have done to bring the Chronicle Chinese regional guide to fruition. But I should add that @hyperbowler’s original Regional Chinese guide in this very topic inspired the whole effort!

Can we vote?


(tanspace) #314

I’ve tried the LiLianGui house special smoked pork. And it was very underwhelming. A very un-memorable version of pork to say the least. Not sure how the original one tastes in China, but the rendition here leaves a lot of be desired. It was not tender, not juicy, not very smoky, basically a bad version of Japanese ramen charsui could have bettered it.

As far as the relationships between the 3 stores, it is also a mystery. As recently I’ve been told that the Dublin and the West San Jose stores are no longer related. The SJ store actually went back and forth on using the LiLianGui chain name once. It was a regular Chinese restaurant to begin with, then became LiLianGui. Then they removed all references to it. But recently has started using it again.

So the bottomline is that perhaps they’re just using the “brand” as a marketing tool. As far as other cooking at the restaurants, they’re not that bad.

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Thanks, @zippo1 and @sck!

Kudos again to all the Hungry Onion and Chowhound members who helped inspire, and make practical, the what/where to eat section of the guide, and give an opportunity for restaurateur voices to be heard in the long-form articles by the journalist dream-team!

While I’m writing:

  • Chili Boy (San Jose) has closed
  • A Sack of Potatoes opened their first US location in Fremont. They describe themselves (I ain’t touching this) as “a specialty restaurant inspired by the Andes region in South America. The first store was founded in Canton, China. It is now one of the most popular fruit tea and snacks places. With over 17 stores located in various parts of Canton, China, we are proud to introduce our first store in Fremont, CA, USA.” Teriyaki Chicken Jian Bing, potato tornado, New Orleans chicken wing, eggetes, etc.

(Gary Soup) #316

A Sack of Potatoes seems designed as an Instagrammer magnet. 199 Yelp photos in four weeks!

Can’t wait to try the “Signature Steak Combo Cup.”


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Chan’s Kitchen has now reopened as R’Noodles with a minor interior upgrade and a new, short menu. I peeked in at about 2 pm today, Saturday, and saw about 7 4-tops with customers at almost all of them.

Highlight of the menu, under the Noodles section is “No 1, LiuZhou river snails style rice noodle soup …10.89”

According to wikipedia, the snail soup is:

Luosifen (Chinese: 螺蛳粉; Pinyin: luósīfěn; lit. Snail rice noodle) is a Chinese noodle dish and a speciality of the city of Liuzhou, in Guangxi, southern China.[1]

The dish consists of rice noodles boiled and served in a soup made from a sto…
a speciality of the city of Liuzhou, in [Guangxi](https://en.wikick made from river snails and pork bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassiabark, cloves, white pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. The soup does not usually contain any snail meat but pickled bamboo shoot, pickled green beans, shredded wood ear, fu zhu, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and chili oil are usually added.[2]

There are also pigs feet rice noodle and Guilin rice noodle soups on the menu.

There are no reviews or Yelp posts online yet. I didn’t see any change of ownership signs on the windows and was not able to tell if R’ has the same staff as Chan’s had.

R’ Noodles
930 Webster St (between 9th and 10th Streets in Oakland Chinatown)







As these things go, I wonder if Sack of Potatoes had a discount/special for leaving a yelp review.

@zippo1, thanks for the announcement about R’Noodles! @chandavkl has tried the Liuzhou places in SGV, so should take note (btw, what’s the R’Noodles name mean? I think the upper right character on the marquis is “snail”).

Some closures:

  • Tahe Foods has closed
  • 100% Sweet Cafes on Clement in SF and in San Mateo have closed. They were Cantonese places selling mixian noodles of some sort.
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here’s a better photo of the full outside awning. Maybe that has some more information.


a short video on river snail rice noodle



You were holding out on us!

According to Google Translate, it says Authentic Snail rice noodle (Luósī fěn) Liuzhou City, Guangxi 螺螄粉正宗廣西柳州市

I believe Guilin Classic has/had a luosifen on the menu, so I’m curious to hear how they compare or if the restaurants are in any way connected.

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(Gary Soup) #321

Wow, 930 Webster used to be one of my favorite hangouts when it was Shanghai Restaurant, and now it has another inducement with one of my favorite foods, Liuzhou luosifen. I’ve made several transbay trips to Classic Guilin Rice Noodles on 10th Street which has featured this dish for mere than 5 years. I even joined the Facebook group “我爱螺蛳粉 / I love Luosifen (snail noodles)” and have made the DIY packaged version a couple of times. It’s amazing that Oakland has two places featuring this hyper-regional dish.



(Gary Soup) #322

Here is the experience I had with the packaged version:

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Classic Guilin Rice Noodles does have this on their Menu as well. #17 on the Menu.

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Also, driving by too quickly for better info, I noticed a black sign on the south side of Taraval and somewhere between 22nd and 20th saying “dumpling specialist.” Any idea what this is?



Cupertino’s Spicy Station has opened an outpost in Fremont called Yummy Crab. Yelp classified them as Cajun/ Creole and Chinese. What is that?

Crawfish hot pot?

Pic from Yelp.