Ten Fu, Menlo Park?
- Melanie Wong Jul 30, 2004 02:40 PM
A friend has recommended the handpulled noodles here.
Ten Fu Chinese Restaurant
1352 El Camino Real
Only had a beef noodle soup there once (in terms of noodles), not sure if the noodles were hand made but they were not bad, at least for the area. Nowhere near as good as San Tung Irving's noodles.
Ten Fu's cha shiu chow fun is great. Ask for extra chili sauce and extra garlic. This is the dish my brother always orders when he goes, and basically wrote a rave review on the restaurant because of it. His review was printed in the Menlo Oak paper(from Menlo College down the street) back in the 80s. The restaurant still hangs the framed review facing outside, on the side of the building ;-).
re: Elise H
Some folks have a comfort food dish they always stick with. When my bro attended college there in the 80s there wasn't really much in the way of Cantonese cuisine, and he did not have a car at the time. He didn't like Su Hong and some of the other places so Ten Fu was the last candidate. I suppose he didn't really try that many different things, and just picked the cha shiu chow fun since that was the closest thing to Cantonese style food for him, at least in the area at the time.
The chow fun was stir fried of course, but surprisingly flavorful and not greasy from the oil being stir fried. The cha shiu was not quite like the kind from the chinese bbq places (oily, fatty, supersweet)...I recall the cuts of pork they used being on the lean side, fairly chewy and not dry. Using/requesting extra garlic and a bit of chili oil during the cooking process really brought out the flavor, especially when the sauce was soaked up by the chow fun.
Another dish he ended up custom ordering (after having the same dish too many times) that turned out quite nice is Kung Pao Beef Chow Fun (!).
William and I had dinner there on Tuesday. We checked out your brother's review hanging in the window before walking in. We'd planned to order the barbecue pork chow fun, but when I asked about the type of char siu and adding garlic and chili oil, our server didn't create a warm and fuzzy feeling that we'd be able to successfully order your family's special. Then I inquired about hand pulled noodles. Our waiter said they didn't have any and walked away. He soon returned and said, "yes, we have la mein. Do you want with seafood soup, beef soup, or, uh, plum sauce and...?" And before he could finish, I asked, "do you mean gan zha jiang mian? Yes, we want that." We also asked about Korean specialties and learned that there's another menu printed in Korean and Chinese (but not in English) for those.
The zha jiang mian was the best of the three dishes we tried. The noodles were bouncy and chewy although they didn't seem handmade to me. The black bean based sauce had bits of shrimp, zucchini, onions, carrots, and nubbins of pork to be spooned over and mixed with the bowl of noodles garnished with julienned cucumbers. We'd order this again.
The gam pong chicken was less successful. Wing joints and drumettes were cut into cross-sections, battered and deep-fried until thoroughly dried out. The sweet sticky sauce had lots of garlic and chilis but was still rather simple. William commented that having this so soon after Shang Yun's succulent and spicy version made it easy to see how much better those were.
The sweet and sour beef was our least favorite. Thinly shaved beef was encapsulated in too much greasy batter and swimming in insipid sauce. Sauteed veggies (Napa cabbage, slivers of wood ears, carrots, etc.) were piled on top.
It is a pleasant setting that should feel comfortable to Peninsulites and the staff couldn't be nicer. The main menu is all in English with no Chinese as clues to what some of those lyrically named dishes might be. All the places are set with forks and water glasses (ice water is refilled repeatedly), so no need to make a request for those. Although you will need to ask for chopsticks. (g)