HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it
TELL US

Chiu Chow Restaurant

d
derek durst Dec 24, 2001 11:12 AM

I found a restaurant called Menkee Wonton at 1701 Noriega St. The menu mentions a LOT of dises which are "Chiuchow Style". Can anyone give me a definition of this? "Search" was not too helpful. Has anyone tried this place and would you care to share your experience here? Thanks

  1. m
    Melanie Wong Dec 24, 2001 12:19 PM

    Haven't been to the restaurant myself. Chiu Chow people are from Swatow in southern China. There are many different spellings for the name of this ethnic group, making it difficult to search. Here's one recent thread...

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

    34 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      d
      derek durst Dec 24, 2001 03:41 PM

      Thanks Melanie, What an interesting thead.The Chiu chow restaurant Menkee (what does that mean...anyone?) isn't fancy at all. They have Juks, and hotpots (some say Chiu chow style) and then a whole section of "Chiuchow Style Special Dishes and Snacks" which has about 30 items...from jelly fish and baby octopus to clam meat with chive, to chiuchow oyster cake, to spice turnip with egg, to duck tongue with superior soy or spice salted duck tongue. (do these taste anything like duck feet?) to chiuchow duck,to spice salted soft shell crab, to stuffed eggplant, beancake and pepper...etc they have Turtle pudding for dessert..tell me it's made with caramel and chocolate! Anyway it all sounds interesting! Menkee Wonton is at 1701 Noriega in the 20's on the southwest corner.

      1. re: derek durst
        l
        Limster Dec 24, 2001 04:49 PM

        This sounds intriguing - my nervous system is pricked. Any stuffed sea cucumber or braised goose on the menu? I need to visit that neighborhood a bit more often.

        P.S. to clarify - chiu chow is the cantonese pronunciation of teochew (which is the teochew pronunciation of teochew). *grin*

        1. re: Limster
          m
          Melanie Wong Dec 24, 2001 05:21 PM

          Limster, I was just getting ready to type to Derek that this was towards your neck of the woods and maybe we could get you to check it out! One of the dishes I used to get in Singapore was what was called a shrimp roll, it was sort of like a shrimp forcemeat that was rolled into a cylinder, deep-fried and then cut into sections. Is this Teochew? I had something similar at a Thai restaurant in LA.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            l
            Limster Dec 24, 2001 08:46 PM

            Yes!!! Those shrimp rolls are definitely it. Haven't had those in years - they're served with pickled turnips and carrots and dipped in a dark soy-fermented sweet sauce. I was tempted 2 messages ago. The Hokkiens serve a very similar version of that too.

            Caramel and chocolate doesn't sound good though...I was hoping for this sweet lard-oiled taro paste with gingko nuts.

            Hopefully I can check it out one of these days.

            1. re: Limster
              m
              Melanie Wong Dec 25, 2001 01:57 AM

              I've found the menu online (link below). Looks like a noodle and snack place worth checking out.

              Caramel and chocolate sounds good to me. (g) There's an American candy called turtles made of those with pecans, but Derek's probably right, not in this place's turtle pudding.

              Link: http://www.222.to/menkeewonton/menu5.asp

              1. re: Limster
                d
                derek durst Dec 25, 2001 01:57 AM

                Limster, no sea cucumber, or goose but quite a lot of other interesting things. If you'd like a companion to try it out with, let me know,Derek

          2. re: derek durst
            h
            HLing Dec 25, 2001 11:07 AM

            I glanced quickly at the menu that Melanie provided a link to. The 13th item on the appetizer section looked interesting in Chinese, where it says Chiu Chow Sticky Rice Spring Roll, where the "sticky rice" part was not indicated in English.

            As for the turtle pudding(Guai Lin Gao).....Sorry, no caramel and chocolate. It's a common Chinese herbal concoction that I've never had but have always seen in herb stores, and also in Bubble tea places where they serve Tang-sui(literal "sugar water"). Although I think this is more serious than the pleasant "sesame paste drink" type. It's leaning more towards "sweet kelp with mung bean" type. Whatever it is, it's good for you...:)

            1. re: HLing
              m
              Melanie Wong Dec 25, 2001 07:30 PM

              Thanks for the tip! Can you give us an idea what the name of restaurant means?

              Merry, merry!

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                l
                Limster Dec 26, 2001 04:19 AM

                I'm guessing the literal translation of the name means noodle shop. men = noodle, kee = shop

                1. re: Limster
                  v
                  Vital Information Dec 26, 2001 09:55 AM

                  Limster, thanks for the translation. In my old neighborhood in Chicago, there was bar-b-q/noodle place called Hon Kee. In one of the free weekly papers, it was once suggested that the name was a subtle jive at those not familiar with Chinese. Thanks for proving them wrong. So, what does hon mean?

                  Also, is this in teochow or cantonese?

                  Rob

                  1. re: Vital Information
                    l
                    Limster Dec 26, 2001 12:15 PM

                    Hon is probably someone's name. Kee is very likely the cantonese translation.

                    1. re: Limster
                      l
                      Limster Dec 26, 2001 12:21 PM

                      Oops - I meant kee is probably the cantonese pronunciation for ji4 - and therefore the name is likely to be cantonese.

                  2. re: Limster
                    h
                    HLing Dec 26, 2001 11:34 AM

                    The Chinese character for "Men" as printed on the menu is the word "Woon2" in Mandarin, which could mean language, or something literary. i.e. De2 Woon2 means German, or Fa3 Woon2 means French....etc. The word " Kee" is the Chinese word that literally means to remember, or to notate, but I see it as the ending word for many restaurants, so it probably is something similar to "Chez so and so". In fact, prior to seeing the Chinese characters, I had thought that "Men" was one of the last name.....

                    1. re: HLing
                      h
                      HLing Dec 26, 2001 11:37 AM

                      By the way, "woon2" also means civilization, or civilized. Not a bad thing to wish for in a restaurant's customers... :)

                      1. re: HLing
                        m
                        Melanie Wong Dec 26, 2001 11:45 AM

                        Thanks to you both. My browser doesn't resolve Chinese characters, and even if it did, I wouldn't be able to read much of it!

                      2. re: HLing
                        l
                        Limster Dec 26, 2001 12:23 PM

                        Too bad my browser doesn't do Chinese characters. I don't think woon2 is the pronunciation in Mandarin (is that cantonese?) - in mandarin it's wen2.

                        I was thinking men was some approximation of mian4 which would be noodles...but forgot that the original is not a phoentic translation to mandarin.

                        1. re: Limster
                          h
                          HLing Dec 26, 2001 11:02 PM

                          You're absolutely right about Wen2. (instead of woon2)
                          I don't speak Cantonese, so that's not my excuse. I just didn't have the Chinese dictionary with me to get the proper English spelling of the pronunciation.

                          1. re: HLing
                            l
                            Limster Dec 26, 2001 11:08 PM

                            I don't speak Cantonese either, and wish I did. I just wonder how the translation works when folks name restaurants - I still scratching my head about how men becomes wen2. :) I get confused all the time over here, where Hokkien isn't the primary Chinese dialect.

                            1. re: Limster
                              m
                              Melanie Wong Dec 27, 2001 12:50 AM

                              While y'all were here trying to parse Cantonese/Mandarin, I grabbed a bowl of won ton soup tonight at the restaurant when I found myself on 19th Ave. driving back from my folks place. I went for the chiu chow duck (lo sui op) and noodles with my won tons ($4.95).

                              The duck itself was fair, awfully fatty and not as tender as I'd like. Good size portion for the price. The noodles were of good quality with the firm, almost crisp texture that Hong Kongers like in their soup noodles. The won ton dumplings were very good, big in size, wrapped in the shuttle cock fashion, and tasty. The broth was only fair, I suspect flavor enhanced with msg. I also liked the chopped napa cabbage in the bottom of the bowl and the scatter of chopped scallions over.

                              MenKee Wonton was half full around 8:30p tonight. Most folks were enjoying rice plates or soup noodles, and I saw a few hot pot dishes. The kitchen was very busy with take-out orders - there's banner outside advertising 10% off on take-out. There were plenty of specials posted on the walls in Chinese. This looks like a place for homestyle cooking, nothing fancy.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                l
                                Limster Dec 27, 2001 01:22 AM

                                Melanie - you're always on the scene while the trail is still hot. Cool! There's a bunch of chinese places there - I think it's a great neighborhood to check out; haven't been to many of those places. I go to Golden Island for their custards made of steamed milk or eggs once in a while; have also been thinking about going back to Casa Aguila.

                                My poor excuse for tardiness is that I was kept busy with some leftovers that I had cooked for holiday parties. I made beef balls embedded with little chunks of shiitakes and fresh waterchestnuts. Browned them and threw them in a broth that I concocted from chicken stock, dried scallops and a few chinese herbs. Also threw in some mung bean vermicelli to soak in the broth. Wasn't half bad. :)

                                1. re: Limster
                                  m
                                  Melanie Wong Dec 27, 2001 01:37 AM

                                  I had wondered whether the you'd been motivated to learn to cook during your starving student days. (g) I had no business buying dinner out tonight either, since my trunk was packed with leftovers from my mom...a pile of baked pork buns, smoked turkey, etc.

                                  That is a great neighborhood for eats. Anyone been to the Wonton House near 20th? Just remember to avoid Jumbo (per Auntie Evelyn), and I'd love to try New Hing Lung sometime.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    d
                                    derek durst Dec 27, 2001 02:46 AM

                                    Thanks for the report Melanie! So what was "Chiuchow about it?" Maybe it will do as a lunch place. Is the Wonton place your talking about on Noriega?And that custard at Golden Island sounds great! I'll do a search to find its' address. Thanks everyone.

                                    1. re: derek durst
                                      m
                                      Melanie Wong Dec 27, 2001 12:28 PM

                                      The duck is a traditional Chiu Chow recipe, braised in "master sauce" which is soy-based with anise and other herbs. The goose which Limster craves is cooked in a similar fashion.

                                      The won ton place I saw was also on Noriega. It looked a little busier when I drove by.

                                      1. re: derek durst
                                        l
                                        Limster Dec 27, 2001 01:35 PM

                                        I thnk Golden Island is on the corner of Noriega and 19th or 20th.

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong
                                        l
                                        Limster Dec 27, 2001 01:46 PM

                                        Actually, I picked up cooking when I was in my teens when I apprenticed under Mom (with pointers from Grandma). As always, Mom's cooking is still better.

                                  2. re: Limster
                                    h
                                    HLing Dec 27, 2001 11:26 PM

                                    Hmm. When you say Hokkien, do you mean Fu2 Jien4? If so, then it already demonstrated how one goes from H to F in a dialect switch.

                                    I speak Taiwanese. Is that similar at all?

                                    1. re: HLing
                                      l
                                      Limster Dec 28, 2001 01:02 AM

                                      Yes - hokkien = fu2 jien4 - it's essentially identical to Taiwanese.

                                      1. re: Limster
                                        v
                                        Vital Information Dec 28, 2001 08:48 AM

                                        Is it me, or do others also believe that the services of Limster should be offered in the chowmarket?

                                        When you coming to chicago?

                                        rg

                                        1. re: Vital Information
                                          l
                                          Limster Dec 28, 2001 12:29 PM

                                          Chicago is on totally on my list of places to go. As soon as I come across the right combination of free time and money. :)

                                          1. re: Limster
                                            v
                                            Vital Information Dec 28, 2001 02:22 PM

                                            Well, I have a lot of wall posters that need translating...

                                            rg

                              2. re: HLing
                                c
                                chowhoundX Dec 28, 2001 10:27 AM

                                I went to Men Kee last night partly to check out the food, partly to inquire about the name. I had Chiuchow duck, which was a pretty simple basting of soy sauce cut with something (rice wine?) served with a sweet vinegar sauce containing red peppers and onions. I also had Clam in Soup (in Chinese it was written Chiuchow Soup with Clam), clams steamed in a ginger-spiked broth served in a glass (pyrex?) pie plate. Very nice for a rainy evening.

                                According to the waitress, the Men character is the family name of the owner.

                                1. re: chowhoundX
                                  h
                                  HLing Dec 29, 2001 12:22 AM

                                  I was wondering if you were even tempted to try the turtle pudding..:)

                                  The Men character (wun2 in Mandarin)is the last name of one the greatly admired Chinese politician/literary figure in the Southern Song period, Wun2 Tien1 Tian2, who despite being imprisoned for 3 years, will not yield to the aggressor.

                                  1. re: HLing
                                    c
                                    chowhoundX Dec 31, 2001 01:47 AM

                                    Meant to, and forgot. But after clams and duck, I just got in the car and headed home.

                                  2. re: chowhoundX
                                    m
                                    Melanie Wong Dec 31, 2001 01:59 AM

                                    Chiu Chow duck in the right hands should be anything but simple. I agree with you that the version here is lacking.

                                    I've linked below a recipe for "master sauce" which is the poaching liquid. Some chefs are known for creating particularly complex, aged versions, that were started over 100 years ago by their forefathers.

                                    I had a batch of master sauce of my own creation that was a 6 years old "solera" until I lost it during the 1989 quake when electricity was out for several days and everthing in the fridge was dumped.

                                    Link: http://216.246.90.10/18/105604.shtml

                      Show Hidden Posts