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so about those Dan Dan noodles...

  • k
  • katie young Jan 31, 2002 08:16 PM

speaking of Dan Dan noodles, does anyone know of a place to get a GOOD bowl of Dan-Dan noodles in the Bay Area? My last great one was probably literally 25 years ago. I have had nothing but a series of bowls of noodles with heated peanut butter since.

(Thought it appropriate to start a new thread on this instead of responding to Melanie since it's kind of a tangent, but please someone correct me if I've done this wrong!)

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  1. Katie, thanks for taking up the cause. I've been missing the real deal too.

    I did a search and came up with the old thread below. However, the main conclusion seems to be that San Tung (which is being discussed on the board currently) is NOT the place to find them. There is a link buried in there for some places in Santa Clara.

    How 'bout it folks - any new suggestions?

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

    14 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      There's an upscale ``Northern Chinese'' restaurant on Solano Ave. in Berkeley -- about three blocks from
      the top on the North side of the street (near Peet's,
      I believe) whose Dan Dan noodles I have enjoyed very much. Sorry I'm forgetting the name, but I'm sure it's been discussed here before. I don't think I would go so far as to defend the place overall, but I recall that the noodles had a good consistency and the sauce was
      pretty spicy.

      But are there any good places on the Peninsula, e.g.
      on Castro St.?????

      Rafe

      1. re: Rafe Mazzeo

        Here's a link to an old listing (1998). Are these places still around?

        ~ M

        Link: http://quong.best.vwh.net/tantan.html

        1. re: Rafe Mazzeo
          n
          Nathan Landau

          I believe you are referring to Kirin, 1767 Solano Avenue.

          1. re: Rafe Mazzeo
            m
            Melanie Wong

            Nathan & Rafe, thanks for the pointer toward Kirin.

            I had the chance to try it at lunchtime on Saturday with a friend in the neighborhood. The "tan tan noodles", $8.95, was not traditional but still a very tasty concoction. I especially liked the chewy texture of the fresh housemade noodles. The menu describes the saucing as spicy peanut, but if it hadn't said so, I probably wouldn't have described the taste as peanut sauce. Certainly no where near the peanut butter gunk that many places serve. It was good and spicy, but the flavor was more driven by bean sauce and szechwan pepper corns than peanut. We also had the "garlic buo tsai noodles", $7.95, which was also delicious and provided a contrast to the heat of the tan tan. These were fresh spinach noodles sauteed with minced garlic, plenty of black pepper, scallions and sliced dried shitake mushroom.

            Link: http://thekirin.com/

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Well I had lunch a week ago at A&J at shopping center on Lundy and Murphy in San Jose. My freind had the Dan Dan noodle while I had the braised beef stew noodle. Pick the thick noodles instead of thin (there is a extra charge, I always will pay a little extra it serve well so far). The soup can be serve aside for Dan Dan noodles, it was not a peanut sauce but I think it was brown bean paste with pork (guess?) and bean spourts. Always 369 next door serves the same. I will go there next week and actually try the Dan Dan noodle and will report back. I am lucky to work in the area with so many good place to eat.
            A&J has another place off of 280.

            Lambert

            1. re: Lambert Yim

              Cool! Yes, the other A&J is in the shopping center with Ranch 99 on Wolfe Road in Cupertino (some day I will learn the name).

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                It's called Cupertino Village and it's on the corner of Wolfe and Homestead. :)

                1. re: Yvonne
                  m
                  Melanie Wong

                  Thanks, sweetie, you'd think I could keep a simple name like that in my peabrain. Any experience with A&J?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I went there once or twice about 3-4 years ago. Only thing I remember ordering was what my family calls a Chinese hamburger. It's a large beef bun pan-fried on both sides. When you cut into it, the juices flow out. Can't remember if it's good or not though. I think A&J attracts customers because it's relatively cheap and convenient. I usually see lots of families and couples reading the paper while eating.

                    1. re: Yvonne
                      m
                      Melanie Wong

                      Interesting! Here's a link to an earlier discussion of A&J with a few more recommendations. Sounds like cheap and convenient rules the day.

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

                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                      I've only eaten once at A&J in Milpitas, and I didn't get the Dan Dan noodles. We did get two other Taiwanese noodle staples, the beef noodles and the pork sparerib noodles. The broth for the beef noodles was dark and rich, with plenty of five spice. They gave a lot of beef too, big chunks from the cut that includes that fatty membrane. The sparerib noodle came in two parts, noodles in clear soup with a crispy salty fried rib on the side, so that it wouldn't get soggy. They also provided some pickled mustard greens on the side, which gave a cool crunchy contrast. They offer the choice of thick or thin noodles, I like the thick chewiness for the rich beef broth, but prefer thin noodles in clear soup. To complete the remembrance of Taiwanese street food, we got some cold side orders of pressed tofu strips and seaweed, both fragrant with lots of sesame oil.
                      All in all, I thought it was quite tasty and would definitely go there more often if it were closer to where we live.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                    It's Cupertino Village, Melanie. I'm pretty sure I had the Dan dan noodles there about a year and a half ago. I wasn't impressed.

                  3. re: Lambert Yim

                    Now that sounds like dandan noodles as I remember them from Sichuan -- a slightly soupy ground pork "sauce" on top of thin noodles. I never had dandan mian with peanut/sesame sauce in it until I had it in the States. A recipe for the former style that I like calls for chopped preserved Sichuan pickle, chopped dried shrimps, ground pork, lots of lajiao and Sichuan peppercorn (ma) in the "sauce" (among other things). If anyone has had anything like that around this area I'd love to know the location!

                  4. re: Melanie Wong

                    I heard good things about Sichuan food in general from Little Sichuan in San Matae(?). It also have a branch in Freemont. I only had their Fuchi Fei Pian from somebody's takeout. Serious taste indeed. I'd think they'll have good Dan Dan Noodle too. Have anyone tried?

                  5. Not having been to China I won't vouch for absolute authenticity, but I can speak about taste -- try the Hunan place on Battery, somewhere between Broadway and Levi Plaza. I know it's a long stretch but it's been a while and there's only one there. My other vote is for the Taiwan, either the Clement or the North Beach location. The noodles there aren't quite as good but still quite yummy.

                    Enjoy,
                    -David

                    1. I dig the Dan Dan noodles at Fountain Court. At least I think that's where i had them....

                      1. Xi An on Geary, SF, around 2nd Ave, previously called San Dong, not San Tung which is on Irving. Xi An has a new chef, a new menu and also beef pancake.

                        The Dan Dan was good except too much sesame paste for me and probably not hot enough for adepts but it was only the second time I've eaten it so I'm no critic. The other version I had included small pieces of raw cucumber which I loved.

                        I hope to hear opinions on Xi An's Dan Dan from some of the experts here. They say the noodles are hand-pulled.