Glad to get confirmation that Davis is an exemplar of the trend of the past five years of authentic Chinese food, particularly Sichuan style, showing up in college towns. I remember going to Davis in the 1990s and having to settle for some noodle soup at a place called Noodle Express.
Noodle Express had lots of bad stuff, but it’s where I first tasted what I later came to know as zha jiang mian!
Speaking of zha jiang mian, whatever happened to the chefs from Chino?
I remember Noodle express from grad school many years ago. Used to go once a week with friends for the pot stickers.
The original team was the Tacolicous crew and Brandon Jew. Jew dropped out and now owns Mister Jiu’s. I don’t know where the following chefs are: Ron Pei who joined during a revamp that focused more on traditional dishes, or Chef Leo Gan, who lead the XLB efforts.
Just came from Chengdu Style.
I believe everyone there (except me and my cousin) seemed Asian, and probably Chinese! I waited to see what menus we’d get (I heard there were two languages) and we got one with both!
ETA that might have been the “Hunan” place
Of course, I got the toothpick lamb. Lots of chilies, spicy and tasty, but also what I might call “rich”, and daunting lunchtime fare.
My husband asked me to get him some shrimp fried rice and sichuan chicken to go, and the waitress looked at me strangely. I got him some authentic General Tso! (ha ha).
Also, South Gate plaza, next to Ranch 99 on Florin Road, is a Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot and a place called Shanghai Cuisine
Mmm Davis Noodle City’s still there last time I walked around. Ate their beef noodle soup, but boy, the portions have gotten much smaller.
There’s a new Cantonese restaurant where the old Silver Dragon use to be (Think its called Tasty Kitchen) and had a fair amount of asian students in it. Looked pretty decent.
A weird item I’ve seen across from one of the Regal theaters (G street I think) is a place that serves alcoholic boba drinks.
I’ve seen two or three hot pot places pop up, one of them replacing Hometown Chinese (a Taiwanese place where I really liked their beef noodle soup oddly)
Thanks for the tip on Shanghai Cuisine. We may have to make a trip to visit our friends up in Davis, the restaurant apparently has the Shanghai chow mein that is almost impossible to find in the EBay! I’m salivating over the Yelp photo of that dish right now, LOL.
FYI re Toothpick Lamb: We stopped in one of the Berkeley restaurants in late 2016 and they had this on special. We weren’t overly impressed with most of the dishes, but the Lamb was very good. Small pieces. My review notes say, “A touch of ground toasted cumin with sweet brown bean sauce seasoned the lamb, along with a dry stir-fry mixture of a hefty dose of chiles, garlic, green onion, cilantro, and toasted sesame seed. No gravy on this dish.”
Restaurant was Sichuan Style, 1699 Solano Ave., Berkeley. The specials were listed only on the board out front on the sidewalk, no menu handout.
“I’ve seen two or three hot pot places pop up,”
I tried the one by the Davis Food Coop. I thought it was just ok but not good enough to go back
" one of them replacing Hometown Chinese (a Taiwanese place where I really liked their beef noodle soup oddly)"
The place that replaced Hometown is Uniboil. I’ve been there a few times with friends and liked it quite a bit. Here is a review I wrote in October of last year:
"I recently had lunch with friends at Uniboil, a newly opened restaurant in Davis. It opened up in at Mansion square in the space formerly inhabited by Hometown Chinese. This is a chain that specializes in spicy hot pot noodle soups with the branches in Hong Kong and Southern California. Here is what we ate:
Satay beef noodle. This was very good, broth was very rich and flavorful.
Tomato pork udon. This was very different than anything other Chinese noodle soup have ever tried. The tomato flavor was very prominent and the soup was slightly spicy. It was a very satisfying combination.
Sichuan pepper pork feet noodle. I was expecting the pork feet would be sliced but they were actually whole stewed trotters. This was my favorite of the dishes we got. A spicy numbing flavor filled broth with tasty trotters.
All in all I was very pleasantly surprised how good this place was since in the past Davis had been a Mecca of mediocre Americanized Chinese restaurants."
Hey… I sorta enjoyed Old Tea House… … …
my only sustenance for midterms…
My comment is probably outdated, the choices in Davis have definitely gotten better in recent years.
Haha that’s true. Not related to the Chinese theme thread, but Halal Guys are actually opening up where Habit Burger use to be (Next to Pluto’s/Mikuni’s and what use to be Borders/Whole Foods).
- Gingko Szechuan Cuisine (Elk Grove) Sichuan. Fuqi feipian AKA couple’s delight is referred to there as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
Anyone been to Hometown Taiwanese kitchen and bar on G St.?
After a requisite breakfast at Konditorei, I had a late lunch at Chengdu Style recently. The whole grilled fish was on special for $19.99, a tilapia, served with a generous assortment of veggies etc. including black mushroom slices, wood ear fungus, spring bamboo shoots, potato slices, western onions, Serrano pepper or jalapeños, peanuts, and tofu bamboo. Oil-based seasoning bath was a good match for tilapia, but I was even more satisfied with all the sides, which appealed to my vegetable-oriented mood.
I loved the interplay of the acidic/sweet pickled peppers and western onion, and the light citrusy hints of green Sichuan peppercorns, in this wood ear fungus cold appetizer.
This is the place in Mansion Square? I haven’t been I think since early last year but I am not in Davis much these days. A friend mentioned they changed ownership?
It moved! According to the yelp page, it’s the same owners, Steve and Jean Lee, who I know owned the place formerly in the Shanghai Town space, the gas station off of Richards, and recently in Mansion Square.
Ah hometown! Yeah they moved to their new location though I think the beef noodle soup has gotten smaller
and super random, but I went to a place called Hong Kong Cafe last year and there were some dishes that was HK style based but most of the people that ate there spoke mandarin and didn’t really order those dishes.
The baked pork chop over rice was okay, wish it was baked a little hotter? At least to get the cheese to melt a bit better. From my brief notes I think I wrote that I would have preferred the sauce to be a little less sweet.
But the bigger enjoyment was some of the interesting typos on the menu:
Gotta get me some steamed kids and flavored pork…
I returned again to Chengdu Style and regretfully forgot to take photos.
A fun dish to share is Boboji, a Sichuan roulette game in which a variety of treasures, attached to skewers, are submerged in a bath of spiced oil. I enjoyed the chicken gizzards, tofu bamboo, cauliflower, rolled up seaweed, and quail eggs during the meal, and was happy to find a bunch of tripe in the leftovers.
Dan Dan Mian had the requisite ya cai to add fermented flavors and a good amount of greenery, but an abundance of sesame paste or peanut butter dominated. Looking back, I didn’t care for the version at their Berkeley location either, though it was very different.
The beef and pepper (jalapeño?) dry pot was a winner, and had the obscene portion size you’d expect in a college town, with fragrant cumin and chili spicing up beef and spring bamboo.