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Fan Tuan (sticky rice rolls) [split]

[Note: We split this thread from http://www.chowhound.com/topics/401148 so it could get more attention. -- The Chowhound Team

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If anyone ever found a good place for fan tuan (sticky rice rolls), Please let me know!! 99 Ranch used to sell it, but the ones they've had for the past few months have been without the you tiao. Sad and limp.

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  1. I had a really good one from China Stix in Santa Clara - on their weekend only breakfast menu - that was almost two years ago. I'm planning on making a repeat trip soon, will report back if it's still as good.

    1. Where are you located? Gas is too high for just drive around.

      12 Replies
      1. re: yimster

        Yimster, sounds like you have tips. Pls spill!

        I would love to find a place in the East Bay, but since I'm about to make another 90 mile round trip drive to Sunnyvale to look for those apricots rworange says are one of the best things she's ever eaten, I figured I'd hit China Stix while I'm down there.

        1. re: daveena

          The food court of "Little Taipei" aka Lion Plaza in Fremont off warm springs, should have fan tuan and supposedly pretty good by Taiwanese standards.If memory serves it is the one to the right of the place that sells HK Cantonese style BBQ, a vendor that sells Northern Chinese style food and the usual starch coma goodness called Northern Chinese dim sum brunch items.

          I seem to recall Grace Garden in Burlingame having it on weekends but it is not cheap.

          Also try Marina Foods in Union City, Cupertino.

          1. re: K K

            Do you know if the ones from Lion Plaza and Marina Foods are premade, or made to order? (I guess I'll assume Marina's are premade)

            1. re: daveena

              All premade, since they specialize in food to go. If you arrive when they open, it should be as fresh. Marina Foods open at 9 am on weekends, and that's the best time to get your yoh tieo, hot soymilk, fan tuan. Letting them sit any longer and your mileage will vary. I have not had the Lion Plaza version in years, and I'm hoping that vendor is still there. I thought their FT was quite good at the time.

              Make to order would hopefully be some sit down restaurant.

              Man this thread is making me miss the black sticky rice variant FT that I had in Yungho Taipei earlier this year for breakfast, (the part of town that specializes in the burnt flavor soymilk amongst many other delicacies). And now we have to post to look for a decent version of the the standard regular one, so sad.

          2. re: daveena

            Hunan Home in Los Altos, Joy in Foster City for two. Sorry have not been in the East Bay for a weekend lunch for years. But maybe 168 in Richmond.

            Lots in San Jose and Curpernito but no names off hand. Not a item I should be eating.

            1. re: yimster

              Do you remember if any stand out as being especially good? I'm actually looking for the whole xian dou jiang/shao bing you tiao experience (although, I guess if you're not supposed to be eating fan tuan, you're not supposed to be eating you tiao either) - any favorites?

              Glossary for anyone else reading along:
              you tiao - fried Chinese cruller (savory).
              fan tuan - sticky rice roll stuffed with pork sung (pork fried and shredded to the texture of sawdust), you tiao (preferably extra-crispy), and pickled vegetable
              dou jiang - soy milk
              tian dou jiang - sweet soy milk
              xian dou jiang - salty soy milk - somewhere between solid and liquid - seasoned with vinegar, topped with extra-crispy you tiao, pickled vegetable

              1. re: daveena

                Ya know, I can't believe I'm responding to this. Daimo has all three rice rolls, you tiao and salty soy milk.

                The first two are sold at breakfast. I don't have a lot of experience in this type of food so when I saw rice rolls, I assumed they were the same thing I saw at Fat Wong's in Millbrae ... you tiao wrapped in the white rice wrappers ... or something. Could be it is fan tuan.

                I liked the you tiao a lot. They are freshly made and not greasy. Terrific congee ... but that's another story.
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40095...

                BTW, 99 Ranch in Richmond makes you tiao on the weekend. They are VERY oily.

                A response to another comment in this thread. If you are making the long ride to Olsen for the apricots, call them to see if you can get there the same day they have apricots and the Santa Rosa plums. There is a brief window when they usually have both and the plums are up there with the apricots ... both road-trip worthy.

                Some pictures of fan tuan ... on the last, toward the bottom. Also a picture of you tiao.
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/burls/40...
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ci_fan_tuan
                http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks!

                  BTW - do you think the Santa Rosa plums from CJ Olsen are significantly better than the ones we can get from the Oakland farmer's markets? The Santa Rosas I got last year were so good I can't imagine anything being better.

                  1. re: daveena

                    Yeah. Much better. People I gift these apricots and plums remember them years later. In fact someone I'm driving down with soon brought up the subject himself recently ... if you buy those wonderful apricots this year, would you please, please buy some for me.

                2. re: daveena

                  What I've noticed at quite a few places I've had the Northern Chinese style brunch is that none of them make all of what you mentioned great. Only one or two items great at one place, and maybe another that does the next item better, but never 4 or 5 things.

                  Salty version of soymilk, I suppose you will have to get that at the Shanghainese restaurants. I've never really got into this, but I suppose those various Shanghai East/Shanghai Xiaochir restaurants in San Mateo/Oakland should do this fine. Another place that comes to mind that might have most or all of the above and does it well is Su Hong Eatery in Palo Alto.

                  Apparently Chef Woo in San Jose does an excellent shao bing and maybe yoh tieo, but have heard reports to stay away from everything else.

                  The yoh tieo at Everyday Beijing in San Mateo is sub par, but they have an interesting soy milk that has an interesting "burnt grainy" flavor, reminds me of the flavor of Yong Ho soymilk in Taipei, but very different. Their purple rice congee with red beans is excellent and hearty/comforting (weekends only).

                  I used to go up to SF on the weekends almost 7 years ago, this Shanghainese place on Geary that did sweet soy milk (hot) and yoh tieo that was quite decent. Can't remember the English name, but in Mandarin it was Shin Hu Jiang, close but across the street from a parking complex that had a blockbuster downstairs (is that place still around? It used to be superb for lunch and dinner).

                  Perhaps I haven't been going to the right places...

                  1. re: K K

                    Re: salty soy milk, Taiwan Restaurant on University Ave in Berkeley has it, along with sweet soy milk, and sweet and salty versions of soft tofu, but only on weekends. I almost went for the sweet tofu today, it's simple but soothing. They also have 'you tiao', though they are greasy and not to my taste.

                  2. re: daveena

                    The best you tiao I have had in the Bay Area is at Hing Lung on Broadway in San Francisco. A Cantonese jook house. Freshly fried in front of you very eyes.

                    As for Hunan Home, the one in San Francisco is better than the one in Los Altos.

                    The best I have in this area of food in not in the Bay Area. Another board if it comes up.

            2. Szechwan Restaurant in Oakland serves it. They are pretty good, they also serve nothern breakfast food... soy milk (salty & sweet) and dumplings.

              366 8th Street ยท Oakland
              510-832-9888

              3 Replies
              1. re: lemoncoke

                Thanks lemoncoke - do you know if they fry their you tiao fresh? I've been wary of ordering you tiao in Oakland because a couple of the delis and take-out dim sum places sell pre-cooked ones. I once saw a man rush in, buy a huge sack, and rush out - the only reason I could think of for such urgency is that his restaurant ran out : )

                I've ordered you tiao at Shanghai Restaurant and got a cold, ossified one, dripping oil, and haven't tried anywhere else since.

                1. re: daveena

                  My uncle (who used to own a resto in Chinatown) claims that all the you tiao serving places in Oakland C town get it from Szechwan because they are the only ones who make them fresh and thats why oftentimes the you tiao ordered at other spots come cold or stale; but he last made this statement a few years ago so I dunno if things have changed.

                  1. re: S U

                    I'm sorry I don't know if it's fresh you tiao. But they make it fresh when you order it. It's not a take out place, it's a real chinese restuarant. I only know of this place that have the fan tuan.

              2. So I went to Szechuan Restaurant for lunch.

                Quick review:
                Fan tuan - really good! They squash TWO you tiao into the middle. These were clearly freshly fried, super crispy. Good balance of pork sung and pickled vegetables.

                Salty soy milk - this was a thinner style than the nearly custard-like version I had at China Stix. Pickled vegetable and unidentifiable protein shreds sank to the bottom. 5 generous chunks of you tiao on top. Tasted pretty good, but I think I like the custardy version better.

                You tiao - on their own, they were a bit greasy. Different from both China Stix' double-barrelled behemoths (I know my memory betrays me sometimes, but I swear theirs are at least a foot and a half long) and the uniform ones you see all over Oakland Chinatown. These were irregular, about a foot long, and tasted pretty good... but I didn't feel so great after I ate one (they come two to an order).

                And thus, I realized the folly in my original plan to eat every you tiao/xian dou jian/fan tuan in the Bay Area, Melanie Wong-style... you really can't do this more than once a month. Or if you do, bring a lot of people to help. Then eat kale for the rest of the day. Or week.

                1. China Village (albany) also has you tiao, and soy milk