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Best source for Orange Beef?

luckytomato Feb 9, 2009 12:55 PM

Hi all,

I was recently reminded of the great orange beef dish I had at my local Chinese restaurant growing up on the East Coast. Unfortunately, I had a disappointing attempt at one last night. I'd love to find a great reliable source for Orange Beef in the Bay area, preferably in San Francisco or on the Peninsula, as I don't make it over to the East Bay too much. I prefer the beef nice and crispy with plenty of sauce to go with rice.


  1. J T Feb 9, 2009 01:02 PM

    I have some places in the East Bay, but that's not in the direction you wanted.. Perhaps other Chauhounds might know of better.

    1. w
      walker Feb 9, 2009 08:11 PM

      Try Empero Taste on Balboa (used to be called Best Panda, same chef). I like the orange chicken, very generous portion. Maybe not "crispy." Perhaps if you requested it crispy they could do so.

      Oh, I miss read -- I've only had the orange chicken. They probably have orange beef on the menu.

      Believe it or not, I just had some great Mongolian Beef (nice and crispy) at P.F. Change in Corte Madera.

      1. Melanie Wong Feb 9, 2009 10:33 PM

        Jai Yun makes the best I've tasted anywhere. But it's not available ala carte.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          sfwtchris Feb 10, 2009 11:19 AM

          I agree with Melanie, you must give Jai Yun a try. The Orange Beef is the best. Not much sauce for your rice, but extremely flavorful. I think of it often.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            Civil Bear Apr 14, 2009 01:23 PM

            jai yun...

            Jai Yun
            680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

          2. ChowFun_derek Feb 10, 2009 07:58 AM

            Yes, I remember it 'crispy' as well...almost carmelized/crispy because of the sugars used to create this dish (at least t a number of places in NY)...I have yet to find a similar preparation here in SF...but I keep plugging away to do so!
            I look forward to any responses...but remember..."delivery food" of any 'fried' things..turn mushy after steaming in the delivery carton...so "eat in" is the only way to go ...

            1. p
              Peter Quigley Feb 10, 2009 08:47 AM

              Not having tried orange beef at many other places, I do like orange peel beef at Jing Jing in Palo Alto.

              1. o
                orezscu Feb 10, 2009 08:51 AM

                Jing Jing in Palo Alto makes a great, saucy version of this dish. Check it out here:

                1. k
                  kuri Feb 10, 2009 09:21 AM

                  I like the one at Abacus, give it a try.

                  2078 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                  1. k
                    katya Feb 10, 2009 02:38 PM

                    Chowhounds hate this place (I think because it's California Chinese instead of authentic Chinese) but here goes...

                    Eric's in Noe Valley has a great orange beef dish. That was my first favorite dish there. Their sesame beef is equally good if not better. Both use beef that is dry fried or something like that. The orange beef doesn't have a gloopy sauce (thankfully) but has a nice flavor and little bits of orange peel.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: katya
                      kuri Feb 11, 2009 09:38 AM

                      I did a search on this board and did not find any that hates this place. How did you come to this conclusion? Did you have a really bad personal experience there? Interestingly enough, I always consider Eric, Alice, Eliza and Abacus belong to the same category of California Chinese restaurants. Here is one that likes Abacus --


                      1. re: kuri
                        katya Feb 11, 2009 11:13 AM

                        I just did a search over the past year's comments and it seems like votes are split on Eric's. I definitely remember when I joined the Chowhound boards in 2001 that there were a lot of disparaging comments about Eric's, mostly about it being unauthentic.

                        I've always had really good experiences at Eric's. It's still my favorite place for Chinese food.

                    2. ChowFun_derek Feb 11, 2009 12:49 AM

                      The original poster requested "CRISPY" Orange Beef...however not one person has mentioned this adjective!
                      People...Are your suggestions "Crispy", or just your favorite versions of this dish? Please specify!


                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ChowFun_derek
                        Melanie Wong Feb 11, 2009 07:08 AM

                        That's why I suggested Jai Yun's. It's crispy and coated with just a little bit of sauce that has a bit of a spicy kick to it.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          ChowFun_derek Feb 11, 2009 11:05 AM

                          I don't remember orange chicken when we went there at the old place...is he still just doing priced multi courses, or can you choose what individual dishes to order like your average restaurant?

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek
                            Melanie Wong Feb 11, 2009 11:33 AM


                        2. re: ChowFun_derek
                          sugartoof Feb 11, 2009 11:05 PM

                          It's a pretty common dish, and in New York, it does often come with a thin coating of gloopy sauce. It's just a case of finding a reliable Chinese place, for California style Chinese. I think the Eric's, Eliza suggestions are good.... I think I've had a good version at Brandy Ho's years ago. These would all have it crispy. I seem to recall Burma Superstar having it on the menu, does anyone know if that's the case?

                          1. re: sugartoof
                            Melanie Wong Feb 11, 2009 11:19 PM

                            It's a classic Hunan dish.

                        3. Melanie Wong Apr 14, 2009 09:43 AM

                          One to stay away from is the version at Hunan Home's (sic) in Los Altos. Even more disappointing considering that I pointedly asked our waiter if it was Americanized or an authentic Hunan or Sichuan version, and he said that it the real thing.

                          Tried it last week. Disgusting, more breading than meat, could not tell what kind of meat was under all that batter, inedible deep-fried slices of orange peel, floury tasting, and blandish sauce.

                          Hunan Home
                          4880 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            ChowFun_derek Apr 14, 2009 10:49 AM

                            I just went back to my local Chinese "Red Jade" after it being reviewed on "Check Please Bay Area" hoping beyond hope that it had somehow changed...morphed...gotten a different chef.....I had their pot stickers (poorly made, grossly thick skin, mushy tasteless filling...one of the worst representation of pot stickers I have ever had!) ...but I also tried their Orange Beef" which was a poor reflection of "Panda"'s version(!!!) ...sweet , thin orange sauce tough turds of meat, no dried orange/tangerine peel and no peppers to balance the sweetness ...just a couple of bits of fresh orange rounded this out. Red Jade is on Church St. off Market...it truly is as bad as it's always been....nice people and pleasant space though...

                            1. re: ChowFun_derek
                              calalilly Apr 14, 2009 11:00 AM

                              I recently had the best Orange Beef at a random place called Uncle Yu's in Livermore. I went there for a wedding rehearsal lunch not expecting much but was very pleasantly surprised. The Orange Beef is different than other places because they have an extra light yet crispy texture. It was the best Orange Beef I've ever had.

                              The restaurant overall is pretty good, yet kind of pricey for Chinese food. But it has great ambiance, kind of like PF Chang's but better.

                              1. re: calalilly
                                Melanie Wong Apr 14, 2009 01:17 PM

                                First off, let me thank you for the Peking duck rec at Five Happiness. Enjoyed it very much.

                                Uncle Yu's has three locations. i've heard good things about the one in San Ramon.

                                Uncle Yu's
                                39 S. Livermore Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  calalilly Apr 15, 2009 08:45 AM

                                  =) I read about your dinner there, sounded really good.

                          2. l
                            luckytomato Apr 14, 2009 01:12 PM

                            Thanks everyone. I have yet to have any orange beef dishes, but will add the restaurants to my growing list of "to try" places.

                            1. r
                              Ronald Wong Nov 11, 2009 05:46 AM

                              Took relatives there on Monday. Had the beef chow fun with "exo sauce" which was excellent. Does anyone know what exo sauce is? Can't seem to find a recipe anywhere. Thanks

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ronald Wong
                                kc72 Nov 11, 2009 06:16 AM

                                XO Sauce http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XO_sauce

                                1. re: Ronald Wong
                                  walker Nov 11, 2009 09:38 AM

                                  Which restaurant did you take relatives "there"?

                                  1. re: walker
                                    Ronald Wong Nov 13, 2009 10:28 AM

                                    Empero Taste.

                                    Empero Taste
                                    4052 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

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