Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Mar 24, 2003 01:48 AM

San Bruno Stroll: South Seas Global Foods

  • m

After today’s lunch at Innya Lake, a small pack of ‘hounds took a stroll along San Mateo Avenue. If you’ve not been to this neighborhood before, it’s the cross roads of the world with many national cuisines represented: Korean, Burmese, Thai, Taiwanese, Sichuan, Hunan, Cantonese, Japanese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Fijian, Italian, and an all American burger joint. The headquarters for international foodstuffs is a small and tidy store called South Seas Global Foods. The storefront is painted with the flags of many nations and the window displays a fine selection of hot sauces.

I was utterly entranced wandering the aisles here seeing so many of the food products that I’ve read about on these boards from desperate chowhounds seeking the taste from home. Lyle’s treacle and golden syrup, Heinz spotted dick, Irish bacon, bangers of many kinds, pan de queso, frozen lefse, Russian preserved fruits, dende from Brazil, callalou, fresh curry leaves, name brand mayonnaise from all parts of the globe, sweet potato marmalade from Argentina, South African wines, monkey gland syrup, Marmite, Punjabi corn flour, New Zealand butter, farofa, anchovette, mustard oil, piri-piri, Irish butters, Heinz salad cream, carne seca, several brands and sizes of corned beef and corned mutton from NZ and Australia, Jamaican salted pig tail, frozen bread fruit, and much more than I can recount.

South Seas Global Foods
“Foods from Your Homeland – Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Polynesian, Caribbean and More!!”
Mua and Larry Bassetto
612 San Mateo Ave.
San Bruno, CA 94066


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hmmm, more than 24 hours later, it seems the other members of the chowpack are embarassed to admit that they had a little snack before leaving San Bruno. (g)

    "Hunan" on Ming's signage caught our eye, and then we noticed the photo of the chef making hand-pulled noodles. Derek took a closer look at the posted menu and spotted xiao long bao. The die was cast - we went in. Rochelle and I justified it as a much needed restroom break, and Ruth was honoring her British family's tea time.

    We asked the hostess whether the xiao long bao were housemade or frozen. She said that they were made fresh here. Inquiring about special Hunan dishes on or off the menu, she said that anything could be made as hot and spicy as we want, which seemed to mean that this isn't really a Hunan place. When I asked where the chef was from, she said that he was Cantonese but had worked at San Wang (Sam Wong) in SF's Japantown (well-known to chowhounds) for 12 years and could make whatever we wanted.

    So, we tried an order of Juicy Shanghai Dumplings (xiao long bao), 6/$4.50, and Hot Braised Mandarin Lo Mein (zha jiang mian), $6.00. The dumplings were indeed freshly made and had good flavor and suitably tender skins, but had no juice or soup at all. We liked the flavor of the gingery pork filling, but it was too chewy.

    The noodles with bean sauce, sauteed bits of pork, and well-carmelized noodles were more in the Korean-Chinese style than Beijing's, not having any of the shredded veggies. The noodles were lovely, silky, toothsomely elastic, and quite a treat.

    The dark wood tables and chairs and silk cushions gave this little place a look a notch higher than its neighbors. There were a few special dishes posted in Chinese on the walls. Our food was competent and fresh, and while this isn't the place for xlb, I bet there are other gems to be found on the extensive menu of value-priced standards.


    11 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Other restaurants we noticed on this street were the venerable Hon Lin which had a lobster special for $15.99 and Peking duck for $19.99 posted prominently and KS Restaurant which appears to be a hot pot place with a variety of Taiwanese-style snacks such as rice cakes with pork blood or fried stinky tofu. Later when I drove south down El Camino Real, I spotted Shanghai Town Restaurant which chandavkl said he'd be checking out and further south in Millbrae, Shanhai Wang Restaurant (maybe it's related to the one in Oakland?).

      Any experience with these?


      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Hon Lin is one of our best like Northern dim sum places. They serve a great weekend Tawainese breakfast bunch. They make there own soy bean milk and other little snacks.

        On there dinner menu is a good version of Pig Knuckles. Somebody hold Derek back.

        I am sure I had to leave you all. I not sure I was up for another meal after the first feed.

        I high recommend another dish at Hon Lin one of my earliest introduction to hot and spicey. Hot and Soup Beef. When these owner move from down the street they left this item off the new menu, but I kept asking for it that they put it back on.

        Maybe we should have a chowdown for the chowhounds at Hon Lin. Count me in.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Well I was sure as hell embarassed to admit I had a snack after that huge lunch, considering I had a 6:00 birthday dinner scheduled with my family.

          That zha jiang mian was sure good, though!

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            It's true!...The texture of the handpulled noodles were wonderful...toothsome (what's al dente in Chinese?)!
            I would definitely return here...perhaps with advanced notice we could get a demonstration of Hand-pulling noodles Chinese is a beautiful thing to behold...more like choreography! I feel a "crawl " coming on!

            1. re: derek

              Heehee, there is a word for al dente, it's the same word that Yimster used to describe the texture of salt poached chicken.

              I'll correct my description of the zha jiang mian, the sauce has carmelized onions, not noodles. The noodles are white and boiled, then topped with the sauce mixture, and you mix them together at the table.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Are you telling me that "heehee" is the Chinese word for "al dente"??? or are you just giggling at me?? Huh???

                1. re: derek

                  Nope, the term in Cantonese would be "cheuy hau".

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              Has anyone eaten at Ming's on Embarcadero Rd. in Palo Alto? Any dish suggestions?


              1. re: TomG

                Hope you'll get some responses from someone who has eaten at Ming's in Palo Alto recently. It has been decades since I've been there, and in the meantime, I've not heard anything good about it to try it again.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  When my husband used to work in Palo Alto, his Taiwanese bosses were friends with the management of Ming's and they would always have banquets there. The decor is certainly a step above many other Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area and the service is attentive. We stopped in for lunch about eight months ago, starving after a long bike ride. We had yi noodles with crab and gow wong (yellow chinese chives), which were bland, slightly overcooked and a little greasy. I can't remember what else we had, but it was also bland, overcooked and greasy. It wasn't as bland, overcooked and greasy as what I've had at many other places, though. They were also trying to push peking duck onto us, served from a dimsum cart, and that just made me feel very sad. The prices are a tad high, in keeping with the quality of the table linens, and there are just so many better options throughout the South Bay, that we never considered going back.

                  1. re: chibi

                    Thanks, that's the take I've heard from some other friends as well.

                    It's been over a year since we've heard much about the Palo Alto branch of Hong Kong Flower Lounge. Wonder how it's doing, or other Chinese restaurants in Palo Alto proper?