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San Wong

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I'm still posting about my attempts to enjoy Chinese Northern and Regional food in the Bay area. The next in line is San Wong in Japantown. I ordered the hong shao qiezi (red cooked eggplant) and jing jiang rou ci (stir fried chicken shreds with sweet fermented bei jing bean sauce). I found the dishes tasty and spicy.In this respect they stood alone but I could not say they were authentic representations of their namesakes. Both came with huge amounts of chilli and other more spicy condiments. These dishes hail from Northern china and never involve Chilli. Noting that quite a few of the restaurant's dishes featured this additive, I suspected that the Chef was an ethnic Korean whose family had lived in China. In Manchuria there are over 500,000 ethnic Koreans who have lived in China for several hundred years. They are actually considered to be a Chinese minority in their own right and their cooking constitutes a particular regional style. On close questioning of the staff I found that I was almost correct: the restaurant belonged to a family from Shan dong who had migrated to Korea and lived there for a generation or so before coming to America.San Wong is an excellent example of the Chinese Korean cooking style..a little known regional approach rarely seen outside of China and Korea..It is not, however, representative of other regional styles, because many important condiments are ommitted or
inappropriate ones used...

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  1. m
    Melanie Wong

    Panpan, thanks for confirming our suspicions about the Korean influence on the cuisine here. You might want to do a search on the main chowhound board for some very informative posts by Korean Michael Yu on Chinese Korean cooking style.

    I'm glad that you at least found something delicious here, if not entirely authentic. Did you catch the post above about Peking duck in Berkeley?

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thanks melanie!

      Well, I wouldn't say the Peiking duck in Great China is the most representative. The taste would pass as the ordinary street restuarant's version of Peiking duck in Beijing. Maybe I wasn't happy because the chef took off all the fat--The duck was supposed to be FAT!

      Oh, on a seperate line, does anyone know any China bakery with good Red bean bun? I've tried a few not none came with the right crusty buns...

      1. re: tingting

        Ting Ting I do not know your tastes. Are you mainland Chinese? If you are from Taiwan or from Southern China you will probably like the Red Bean Buns at Sheng Kee Bakery (several addresses around town). If you are from the North you may prefer the Japanese style. Japantown has several supermarkets that carry Red Bean Buns more to Northern tastes.

        1. re: Panpan

          :) I am from Suzhou--right in the middle. But my RBB taste might be the northern one because I tried the ones at Shengji & didn't like it enough. I'll make a trip to Japantown one day!

          Do you have any idea how the Shanghai(jiang1zhe4) food scence is like here?

          1. re: Tingting
            m
            Melanie Wong

            Tingting, the situation for Shanghai food, or more broadly Huai Yang cuisine, has improved dramatically in the last couple years. You can do a search from the main page and come up with many local recommendations. I've linked below my posts on a recent dinner at a Yangzhou restaurant in Cupertino.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks!
              I am going to try that "Lion's head"!
              It was an interesting read following the link. I am surprised to see that people relate Peking duck to Nanjing. I really doubt Peking duck had anything to do with Nanking pressed Duck. The latter is a raw, hard and salty preparation for the exam-testers long-haul boat journey up the grand canal to Beijing. You'd have to soak the duck in water at least 24 hr before cooking it. I never managed to cook one right but what I ate at other people's house had a great aroma to it. The "pipa" duck tastes a little like it but not as dense. The salt water duck in Nanjing are my favorit though--very tender and juicy. Humm, the roasted geese are pretty good as well...

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        Melanie, thanks for the referral to Chinese Korean. At this point in time, though, I am still having trouble achieving satifaction with the chinese stuff!Also thanks for the referral to Great China...I will definately check this one out. I made another trip to San Wong to test the Guo Tie situation for Han Lukito and this time ordered Ma Po Dou Fu as well. I must say I wasnt impressed.The dish needed some meat and a good pinch of salt and ...as for authenticity the bean sauce and huajiao were missing.Without these it is simply Chao Dou Fu. I must sound like a real cow! My husband is tiring of my relentless efforts and tells me I am culturally challenged!At this point I think I need a break in Bei jing....If only I were a better cook.

        1. re: Panpan
          m
          Melanie Wong

          Panpan, this is the first time I've heard you refer to your significant other as "husband". Married now? Best wishes to you both! So you're saying he didn't marry you for your cooking skills? (g)

      3. could this be a place that has the kind of guo tie(potstickers)that i am looking for ?

        it is smaller than the american version. same shape but taste much much better with lots of liquid inside.

        i know the cuisine comes from shandong area. i also was told that in indonesia, lots of korean people come to these places.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Han Lukito

          Han, I didnt eat Guo Tie on this dining occasion but I noted that they were on San Wong's menu. After seeing your post I went back to San Wong and ordered the Shui Jiao (boiled dumplings) to see how they tasted, as these are generally used as the basis for the potstickers. I found them to be around 65 to 70% authentic. They were small with a filling of chives (xiang cai), pork and shrimp.There was no cabbage involved which was a welcome relief. They weren't as tasty as the ones in China but much better than the cabbage laden creations usually offered in SFO as Guo Tie. If I were you I would give them a try.

          1. re: Panpan

            what a fellow chowhound !! thanks for trying the guo tie and letting me know the result. it seems like this is the best bet in bay area for that dish.

            i will try to visit there in a couple of days and let you guys know what i think.

            thanks panpan.

            -Han

            1. re: Han Lukito

              i mean Shui Jiao not guo tie. any other dishes that you recommend ?
              -Han

              1. re: Han Lukito

                Han..after digestion and review of your comments about Guo Tie I feel that whilst you can try these ones at San Wong, you may be disappointed. I dont wish to be the author of your dismay. You should be warned, the dumplings are better tasting than the cabbage crap but they are still not the juicy tasty morsels that we both remember! I know the ones you mean....I have fond memories of getting up around 9.00am and heading off to the dumpling shop in China where all they served was dumplings...twenty different varieties made fresh everyday and served boiled or fried...I miss those days!I will continue to keep you informed of my discoveries but my forward thinking is to wait for my friend, Xiao Hua, from Manchuria to visit and host a Guo Tie party for yourself and fellow chowhounds.She is a fantastic cook whereas I can only talk!

                1. re: Panpan

                  i will try it anyway even if it is 50% similar.

                  pls remember me when your cook friend is around. guo tie party sound delicious & fun. thank you very very much.

          2. re: Han Lukito
            m
            Melanie Wong

            I've linked Wendy's post on another type of potsticker at a Taiwanese restaurant.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...