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Taste Good Beijing Cuisine - Milpitas

t
teaforbed Nov 29, 2008 04:50 PM

I almost never post on Chowhound, but today I momentarily pause my Chowhound freeriding ways to speak up about this great restaurant.

It's only got 3 reviews on Yelp, and the owner/chef was very surprised to hear that I found the place not by word of mouth in person, but on the internet. The place is very small -- I would say seats 40 max, and is cash only. It looks like the owner/chef and two assistants hold down the fort while one waitress manages the entire floor -- yes, all 40 seats.

I'm from San Gabriel in Southern California, so I've had my fill of Northern Chinese cooking both at home and eating out. One thing that Taste Good Beijing does better than anything I've had outside of Xi'an, China? Rou Jia Muo, or Meat Stuffed Chinese Muffins.

The muffin is particularly difficult to do well -- the exterior should be very dry and chewy, while the inside is slightly softer. Folklore has it that the armies of the various dynasties that passed through Xi'an would half bake the muffin (I honestly don't know what to call it in English - muffin or pancake or ?), then either stuff it with the stewed meat they cooked on the road, or soak it in steaming lamb soup.

While I wouldn't say that the muffin from Taste Good Beijing was just like the ones I grew up on in Xi'an, it is the best restaurant version I've had in California. The flavor of the meat is spot on - lots of cumin, cilantro, and spicy peppper. One bite gave you lots to chew on. At $2.95 each, this is more than enough to stuff you for lunch.

I also got their house dumplings to go in frozen form, which made me a little suspicious that this was just frozen dumplings for a package. Not so! The wrapper was chewy, and the filling was giant. Definitely the handiwork of someone who knows how Beijingers make dumplings. I just wish I didn't butcher them by overcooking them.

The owner/chef commented that he'd never seen me before, but really really really wanted me to come back again after taking my somewhat strange order. I will be back -- even if I have to drive 45 minutes each way.

76 S Abel St
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 262-9439

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Taste Good Beijing Cuisine
76 S Abel St, Milpitas, CA 95035

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  1. rworange RE: teaforbed Nov 30, 2008 07:11 AM

    A dish a yelper mentioned that was good was Xinjiang la tiaozi (Xinjiang lamb noodles). Also, the chef/owner from Beijing will make special dishes on request. Beijing style snacks are available on weekends.

    1. m
      mdg RE: teaforbed Nov 30, 2008 07:55 PM

      Thanks for letting us know about this! We are short on northern Chinese in this area, so I definitely want to try this out.

      Michael

      1. Melanie Wong RE: teaforbed Nov 30, 2008 10:57 PM

        Thanks for posting, can't wait to give it a try. Chowhound "tanspace" has some photos of the dishes on his blog, including the "muffin".
        http://eat.tanspace.com/2008/10/28/zh...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Cicely RE: Melanie Wong Dec 3, 2008 01:57 PM

          Looks like an arepa or a gordita!

          1. re: Cicely
            Melanie Wong RE: Cicely Dec 3, 2008 02:24 PM

            Or idli or pide!

            (This reminds me of our chowdown at Darbar in SF some years ago where many of us had maki ki roti for the first time and insisted that it was a gordita!)

        2. d
          da bin dan RE: teaforbed Dec 1, 2008 02:51 PM

          just curious, are these guys chinese muslims? some of the great dishes in Xi'an were introduced by chinese muslims (hui, or qing zhen). i can't wait to try their rou4 muo2. thanks for the tip :)

          did you see any other Xi'an specific dishes worth checking out?

          1 Reply
          1. re: da bin dan
            t
            teaforbed RE: da bin dan Dec 2, 2008 03:41 PM

            No, they are not Chinese muslims. In fact the Rou Jia Muo was stuffed with pork.

            Another point of interest after I looked at their menu (owner mentioned that he might change the menu soon, tweaking I think) is that they have Beijing Lamb Hot Pot.

          2. w
            wahbahdoo RE: teaforbed Feb 9, 2010 01:45 PM

            i'm surprised about the lack of discussion on this restaurant, considering the amount of discussion on beijing (alemany, sf), and i think i like taste good better. we got stir-fried pancake (garlicky goodness), stir-fried chicken innards, stir-fried tofu strips -- all very flavorful and homey. also good (but not as good as the others) were the cold silver noodles, mushroom soup casserole, and lamb skewers. part of their menu reminded me of beijing, with the dumplings, beef/pork pancakes, and flour balls, altho we didn't get a chance to try any of those here. they also sell beijing yogurts, which remind me of fage, but i've been told that they taste like the real deal by people who grew up in beijing. and they take credit card now.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wahbahdoo
              Melanie Wong RE: wahbahdoo Feb 17, 2010 10:22 AM

              Thanks for reviving this thread. What else do you like in the Milpitas area?
              http://www.chow.com/blog/2008/12/chin...

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                s
                SteveG RE: Melanie Wong Feb 17, 2010 10:29 AM

                I tried to go last Friday, but all the small tables were full and the owner was pretty inhospitable and refused to accommodate us for a quick meal at one of the larger tables that were open.

                Luckily, the huge strip mall where it is located has dozens of other restaurants, and we ended up at Darda for some Chinese Islamic. It was tasty, but I think the Chowhound conventional wisdom that it's good though not amazing is accurate. The knife cut noodles were good with a nice chewy firm texture, but the toppings left something to be desired. The house chili sauce tasted pretty generic.

                There's also a restaurant next door that offers Malaysian/Singaporean cuisine, but the menu looked more generic Thai. Maybe the right set of questions when seated inside would produce some Malaysian eats.

            2. s
              SteveG RE: teaforbed Jan 19, 2011 01:00 PM

              Any recent experiences here?

              3 Replies
              1. re: SteveG
                ankimo RE: SteveG Jan 19, 2011 08:17 PM

                for me, one problem with the rou jia mo at taste good is the bun. too much english muffin like.
                another version is served at everyday beijing san mateo.

                1. re: ankimo
                  s
                  SteveG RE: ankimo Jan 26, 2011 04:36 PM

                  This was my first time eating rou jia mo, but I thought the bun was just substantial enough to hold the juicy meat. Nice and fresh taste, crispy enough to cut/bite easily, and didn't taste or feel like an english muffin. My friend noted that if these were sold out of a food cart in San Francisco they would be super popular.

                  We also had dry-fried string beans, a good rendition with nice salty and flavorful bits of meat and other things in there for flavor, not soggy.

                  Beijing style wheat pebble noodles were good. Nice browned color but strangely lacking in wok ha flavor--there was some, but not as much as would be expected from the color, which was perhaps more from a sauce color rather than searing heat. These are not normal knife-shaved noodles, though I think they have those too if I understood the menu correctly, but rectangles about 3/8" wide, 1/2" long, 1/8" thick, with similarly sized chunks of squash and carrots mixed in.

                  The beef shank was served cold, with a black vinegar & garlic sauce. It was dry and tough. As leftovers, I doused it in ponzu sauce before leaving the house this morning, and it was actually tender and succulent after microwaving it for lunch.

                  Overall, a good meal, and I especially liked the rou jia mo for $3.50, but Beijing House in San Francisco had more complete/complex flavors and less grease. I won't rush to go back, but it was a fine meal.

                  One tiny note: their signage and google maps use Peking instead of Beijing as the spelling.

                  1. re: SteveG
                    K K RE: SteveG Jan 27, 2011 09:43 AM

                    Went sometime in mid December for the first time. I myself enjoyed the rou jiao mou very much, even though the exterior does resemble an English muffin. The pork shreds inside were nicely marinated and not fatty, way more enjoyable than the Taiwanese gua bao at 5 Joy in Foster City (although they are two completely different beasts). And plus at $3 ish it's so big you can order one to share. Didn't know EB had it in San Mateo, may have to go back and try. Definitely the perfect street food item, if ported over to a truck without the pretense and dumbing down.

                    Pork Jelly w/Beijing Traditional Style" or "Lao Beijing Rou Pi Dong" was a very interesting appetizer. Basically pork skin gelatin (aka pork skin boiled down to liquid form with a few other ingredients), cut into little cubes, served cold with a black vinegar dip sauce, and very tasty. The pork skin gelatin has had all the fat removed from what I could tell. A good start.

                    Woodear funghi with mountain yam and carrot stir fry (forgot the proper name in Chinese or in English) which was recommended by the waiter when we inquired for a good vegetable dish. Good chunky texture and big pieces, probably the best woodear funghi dish I've had in a while. Very simply done and flavorful, despite using some cornstarch thickener in the stir fry, but it was still light.

                    Jing Dong Niu Rou Bing - Beijing Style Beef Pancake. Liked it more than Everyday Beijing's. They have pork version and a plain version w/o meat as well. Excellent.

                    Their xiao long bao here, despite my initial doubts (eventually got persuaded by the waiter who touted them as being highly recommended) was very well done. Not the best looking but ample broth inside. Perhaps a bit mild for some, but light and tasty. One of the underdogs in here.

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