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In Cupertino, looking for anywhere that has NY or Michigan style chinese food

s
sandaili Oct 27, 2010 08:43 PM

Please help! We can't find a single place that does Chinese food that tastes like it does back East. Or a place that does crab cheese/crab rangoon, or good spare ribs. We tried a few places but the food has been hit or miss. Golden Wok in Cupertino was not good, no flavor to the food whatsoever. Really odd, and the only time we've felt that way. We also tried China Shuttle and were not impressed (very expensive for what they give, and the quality). The best we have found, and a place that actually does a decent Moo Goo Gai Pan, is next to the Australian Expat store on Stevens Creek Blvd. in San Jose (Soong Soong I believe). However, we went there for lunch and again for dinner after receiving a great first order, and the food was not the same.

Basically we're looking for killer: Moo Goo Gai Pan, General Chicken, and Crab Rangoon.

BTW - we used to haunt Crazy Buffet (only for a few select items - crab legs and crab rangoon, and filling up on hot and sour soup). Ever since their upgrades, the food is made differently, course the legs are the same, but many of the other things we snacked on just are different. We still go but not as often. I know, it's a buffet - but 14.99 for unlimited crab legs, it's a deal.

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China Shuttle Restaurant
22382 Homestead Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Crazy Buffet
830 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

  1. o
    OldTimer Oct 29, 2010 11:59 AM

    Don't be surprised if you go into a good Chinese restaurant and when you ask for crab rangoon and moo goo gai pan they laugh in your face. Try chop suey.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OldTimer
      s
      sandaili Oct 30, 2010 01:09 PM

      Actually, we asked if Soong Soong could make us Moo Goo Gai Pan and they said no problem. It's only a different kind of sauce. However, they have to know how to make the sauce, or k now even what Moo Goo is.

      -----
      Soong Soong
      3680 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95117

      1. re: sandaili
        bbulkow Oct 30, 2010 01:20 PM

        So with all these recs, how is your search going?

    2. p
      pauliface Oct 29, 2010 10:29 AM

      I think some of you who are looking down on this cuisine are missing the point. I got similar responses when I started a thread looking for old 60's/70's New York style cantonese.

      We know it's not genuine, and that many regard it as a bastardization.

      But it's comfort food we grew up with, and 'better' or genuine chinese is no replacement.

      6 Replies
      1. re: pauliface
        w
        walker Oct 29, 2010 11:52 AM

        For 6 years, I lived in Ann Arbor, MI and ate at many Chinese restaurants there and near Detroit. I LOVED every place I went to, moved to SF in 71 and have not found anything here like that. I don't think I'm the one who changed. (Years ago, whenever I ate Chinese food in NYC or Boston, I liked it a lot there, too.)

        The only thing I really love here is the dim sum at Yank Sing. Chef Chu is pretty good, really worth trying. I like Eric at 27th/Church but they use too much brown sauce in most of their dishes but pot stickers are good. Lunch there is a bargain.

        A friend of mine who grew up in Denver claims he liked Chinese food much better there.

        -----
        Yank Sing
        49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

        Chef Chu's
        1067 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

        1. re: walker
          Robert Lauriston Oct 29, 2010 11:58 AM

          There are lots of distinctive local adaptations of Chinese food around the world. There's a documentary TV series where this guy travels around the world checking them out. He's more interested in the cultural aspects of the Chinese diaspora than the food, so sometimes it's not very informative about the latter.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489739
          http://chineserestaurants.tv

          1. re: walker
            wolfe Oct 29, 2010 12:29 PM

            There was a Chinese restaurant on South Main that had questionable hygiene but the egg fu yong was pretty good. Class of 61.

            1. re: walker
              w
              walker Oct 29, 2010 02:00 PM

              I forgot to mention the one other place I loved here: Mike's Chinese Cuisine on Geary @ 16th Ave, closed down several years ago when the chef-owner retired. It was really excellent and he used quality ingredients.

              Abacus on Hayes is good.

              1. re: walker
                wolfe Oct 29, 2010 02:12 PM

                Mike's over peppering the hot and sour soup almost ruined a night at the opera.

            2. re: pauliface
              c oliver Oct 29, 2010 02:07 PM

              I don't think it's "looking down." With the large Chinese population in the SFBA, it seems logical to me that the demand for "authentic" cuisines would be higher than in an area with a small Chinese population. I'm not Chinese so am making an assumption.

            3. t
              Tumkers Oct 29, 2010 09:01 AM

              It's a problem when you have a favorite from a restaurant that you frequented regularly-- to then find it's match in the next town over, much less 1500 miles away. Over years---It'll take time, but you will have to find different favorite dishes.

              A lot of the restaurants in the area are Mandarin cuisine, which, if you are used to Hong Kong style of vibrant flavors, seems overly subtle (read bland).

              I don't think you are necessarily looking for anything other than fresh food prepared well. Authentic or not. My East Bay living Chinese in laws think this place in Saratoga Village is surprisingly not bad. http://www.hongsgourmet.com/ I know this is not a ringing endorsement but that's as much as you're going to get from these two!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tumkers
                Ruth Lafler Oct 29, 2010 10:32 AM

                I disagree. There's no such thing as "Mandarin" cuisine, and the term "Mandarin" cuisine when used by restaurants in the U.S. is usually used to refer to a style of cuisine that is actually spicier/more heartily seasoned than the Cantonese cuisine that most American-Chinese restaurant food is based on (and which "Hong Kong cuisine" with its emphasis on fresh ingredients with the flavors not masked with a lot of heavy spices or sauces, is based).

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  t
                  Tumkers Oct 29, 2010 04:20 PM

                  Taiwanese, then.
                  To me seems both a) too hot/spicy with no added justification like enhancement of flavor or b) only has salt as the main flavor. Which to me is bland. One note. Blah. No fun. To other people it is Yay-hooray-hot-love-superhot-food or subtle (ie not everyone can appreciate it including me).

                  Although, I imagine terribly authentic chefs and restaurant goers can be found in this area, there are really many many Chinese restaurants here that are just terrible or plain bad or mediocre. There is no blanket "we got the best because we got a lot of Chinese here" pass.

              2. bbulkow Oct 28, 2010 06:26 PM

                These suggestions might be a little far north for you....

                Greater palo alto actually has a lot of "old school" places. Su Hong Menlo Park, Jing Jing, Ming's, Chef Chu, etc. And, as mentioned, the true source of Crab Rangoon.

                Ming's in Palo Alto has Crab Rangoon. Ming's is right by the freeway so would be convenient.

                Mandrin Gourmet has Moo Goo Gai Pan. So does Fresh Taste Mandrin.

                The food at Mandrin Gourmet is actually quite good. Very strong ingredients and technique, just not a very authentic menu, so I don't go often.

                I think every PF Chang's has a MGGP, from what I read. There's one in sunnyvale.

                -----
                Su Hong
                1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                Jing Jing
                443 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                Chef Chu's
                1067 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

                4 Replies
                1. re: bbulkow
                  Ruth Lafler Oct 28, 2010 08:01 PM

                  I found a menu for Mandarin Gourmet and the also have crab rangoon, although they don't call it that (it's "crab cheese puffs").

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                  Mandarin Gourmet
                  5560 Santa Teresa Blvd, San Jose, CA

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    bbulkow Oct 28, 2010 09:20 PM

                    I was wondering if that was Crab Rangoon. So it seems Mandarin Gourmet might be the one stop shop for high quality Michigan style Chinese.

                    I read a review recently of some restaurant that is serving 'rollmops', which I've only had in Michigan. Is michigan style becoming popular?

                    Chef Chu (near the confluence of Los Altos, Mountain View, and Palo Alto) got a mention in Chef Martin Yan's recent list of best chinese restaurants. Crab Puffs, Pu Pu Platter, General's Chicken, but no MGGP. This list was listed in Eater SF as the "worst restaurant list ever", but you might be looking for Chef Yan style dishes. Chef Chu might be just what the doctor ordered.

                    1. re: bbulkow
                      c
                      cwujd1 Oct 28, 2010 11:59 PM

                      The concept of "Michigan-style" Chinese food makes me shudder. My wife and I went to a Chinese restaurant in Battle Creek many years ago. It seemed like a bad omen when they put a basket of rolls and crackers on the table right off the bat. Then the caucasian teenage waitress couldn't seem to understand that we wanted to share the two dishes that we ordered. We had sweet and sour pork that seemed like mostly ketchup and some other dish with vegetables that were fresh....from the can. Undoubtedly the worst Chinese restaurant meal we ever had.

                      1. re: cwujd1
                        s
                        sandaili Oct 30, 2010 01:07 PM

                        Trust me, there are plenty of horrible, disgusting Chinese restaurants in Michigan. We had a hard time finding good food there, too, but at least almost every place at least had the things I was wanting to try on the menu. Every time we finally found a wonderful place, we had to relocate :(

                2. c oliver Oct 28, 2010 05:02 PM

                  Sincerely, no offense intended but are those actually Chinese dishes? If Trader Vic's created crab rangoon, then definitely not. I seem to think that the others aren't either. The peninsula has SO much great authentic Chinese that perhaps the demand for that type just isn't there. Good luck anyway though.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver
                    Robert Lauriston Oct 28, 2010 06:35 PM

                    Moo goo gai pan is a Chinese-American dish common on the East Coast and rare on the West Coast, but I think pretty much any Chinese restaurant could make it if you described it.

                    -----
                    West Coast Cafe
                    466 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      PeterL Oct 30, 2010 06:14 PM

                      Moo goo gai pan is just wok fried sliced chicken with mushroom. Even I can make that.

                  2. c
                    Chandavkl Oct 28, 2010 04:18 PM

                    The problem is that it's not likely that some one will open up a brand new Chinese restaurant serving old style items, particularly the old style Cantonese items like moo goo gai pan. Stuff like that is more likely to be found in older neighborhoods with restaurants that have been in a business for a long time, rather than a newer suburban area. That would make San Jose a more likely target, though I have no idea if there are restaurants that actually fit that profile.

                    1. Robert Lauriston Oct 28, 2010 11:48 AM

                      Trader Vic's invented crab rangoon.

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                      Trader Vic's - Palo Alto
                      4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA, CA 94306

                      1. x
                        xanadude Oct 27, 2010 10:11 PM

                        this is a little weird--it's like asking for a place that does French Food like Tokyo when you're in Okinawa

                        That said, Chef Chu in Los Altos or Mandarin Gourmet in Cupertino would be worth checking out.

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                        Mandarin Gourmet
                        10145 N De Anza Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

                        Chef Chu's
                        1067 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: xanadude
                          s
                          sandaili Oct 28, 2010 10:04 AM

                          Thanks. I understand what you're saying, but even if we find a place thats just plain good....I think that's really what I meant. I just want to find a place that has Moo Goo and crab cheese, really. That's what i meant by "east coast" because every place back east had those.

                          From what we've had here, places in Sunnyvale/Cupertino are just using really bad ingredients, not enough sauces, and no one does Moo Goo Gai Pan except for one place. We can't justify spending over $50 on one meal of chinese food if it's worse than what we can make at home, or has no flavor.

                          We'll try those places.

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