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Jul 12, 2006 02:10 AM

NanXiang XiaoLongBao, Canton Gourmet, Pho, Green Papaya, Mekong and Octopus Man

Just recognized tonight upon entering NanXiang "Noodle House" on Prince Street the gentleman manning the register as the same guy from Mekong, my beloved Viet/Thai place in the Han Ah Reum shopping Center on Northern Blvd (still amazed that place doesn't get more play on ChowHound. I've extolled its virtues here before and actually found out tonight that it's just taken over the Chinese takeout place next store and will be expanding....)Anyway after chatting a bit, "Joey" as he is called, told me that all the aforementioned restaurants are owned by the same man.

I loved the pork and crab xiaolongbao (nice thin skins), the panfried pork buns and the surprisingly pungent vegetable dumplings (nice mustard green addition to the veggie stuffing) The panfried rice cakes and Shanghai style udon noodle were also very good- not too greasy. We thought the flaky turnip buns were outstanding. The only thing we didn't love was the "salty" douhua. Too thin and we didn't love the reconstituted mini heads-on shrimp. But we're not huge douhua people, if truth be told. Joey kept telling us that although tonight's food was good that tomorrow it would be the "best" of the week. Something about a fresh flour delivery.....

Definitley excellent XiaoLongbao. I wish they'd offer some small sauteed vegetable dishes to round out all the carbs, though :)

On a small side note- we discussed Octopus Man's departure. He said that as much as patrons loved him, visitors to the restaurants on the block complained about the smoke from his grill getting into the restaurants and so, sadly enough, he was forced out :( Where he is, nobody knows....

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  1. Salty doujiang (I assume you mean doujiang, not douhua) with brine shrimp? Sounds like a find to me!

    1. Frankly, I'm not sure exactly WHAT I mean :) I don't read Chinese (and can barely speak it save the limited phrases my ESL students have taught me over the years) but from reading HLing's informative post I gathered that "douhua" refered to the warm soymilk/soup that I saw our tablemates eating. Guess not! I believe that in their original incarnation the shrimp were the tiny dried ones. There also seemed to be another form of salty aquatic life in our bowl, but we couldn't figure it out. I also recall some chopped preserved vegetable. It certainly wasn't bad, just not the kind of thing I'd need on a regular basis. Maybe I'd like the sweet version more.

      There was also an entire section of the menu that was Cold items. As we were leaving I noticed some small plates of what looked like the peeled, pale green stems of a Choy-Sum like vegetable going out to a few tables. Joey saw that I had that Food-Envy look on my face an assured me that the dish was chilled and not sauteed as I had originally inquired. I'd definitley try it next time.

      All Things Delish,

      2 Replies
      1. re: ZenFoodist

        It's an easy mistake. Doujiang is made from soy milk. The salty version is curdled and has all kinds of good savory stuff thrown in. The sweet version is mostly just sugar-laced soy milk.

        Douhua is made from semi-solid fresh tofu; the savory version is very spicy, usually from a healthy chili oil lacing, but again has other savory stuff thrown in as well. The sweet version simply has ginger syrup poured over it, I think.

        I don't eat the sweet version of either, so I may not be doing justice to these in my descriptions.

        1. re: Gary Soup

          There seem to be some confusion about the terminology here...

          "Doujian" is soy milk. "Douhua" is curdled soy milk.

          The sweet and the salty version of Douhua can be made differently.

          The sweet version is curdled in volume. The server delicately slice/scoop thinly from the top. The curd themselves are not sweetened. They sweeten only the individual servings with sugar or syrup. Ginger syrup is good since ginger has a warming property, which counterbalances the inherent coolness of the soy curds.(cool not because of the soy, but because of the nigari or magnesium chloride used to coagulate the soy milk)Some like to add cooked peanuts..which is a delicious combo.

          The salty version...well, you can call it salty "doujian" OR "douhua". The reason being that you can take the freshly made hot soy milk (doujian) and add acid such as vinegar, or some sort of salt such as nigari..(along with all the other yummy stuff) and it will curdle instantly. You can probably take the curds that are already made, and add the savory stuff to it, but to have it curdle and eaten right away is much tastier.

          Usually in restaurants people ask for salty or sweet "douhua". In most cases you can ask for sweet doujian (soy milk) or unsweetened plain doujian. If you get the hot plain doujian, add vinegar to it, and it's a sign that they serve fresh soy milk.

      2. Hi Lisa,
        Thanks for the info!! We have been hitting Green Papaya pretty regularly for the Roti Canai and I mentioned trying the Noodle House last time but the chowettes had a jones going for that roti canai. Their beef rendang has also been pretty good lately. Not too much chew/fat in the beef which we prefer.
        Same "Joe" from Penang at the register here!!