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Dec 28, 2011 10:53 PM

Beijing/Northern Chinese in Sunset

Wanting to try Beijing on Alemany but see that those folks have opened a spot on Irving, too. Which is a lot more convenient. The question is, of course, is it as good as the original is reported to be?

And while we're on the subject of northern Chinese, what are your latest experiences with Old Mandarin, Little Beijing and Dong Bei Mama? Can you tell I'm eager for the possibilities we have here?

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  1. Old Mandarin is exactly the same. I love it.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Windy

      Thanks, Windy. Went to Old Mandarin and had a very good dinner. Beef pancake, chef's special lamb ribs, sauteed string beans. Not sure why but the beef pancake started me out a bit off, but I blended a bit of soy with the vinegar and it was much more to my liking. Lamb and beans were both delicious. Was a bit more than we'd planned on spending for two (and probably would have spent at some of the others) but still think it was a good value.

      1. re: klo4c

        I don't like Old Mandarin's noodles or pancakes so well. The hot pot is great and all the lamb dishes I've had have been tasty.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Sounds like we have similar tastes on this, Robert. Know any spots where the noodles and/or pancakes would knock my socks off?

          1. re: klo4c

            Beijing Restaurant noodles and pancakes seem to shine. They make them in the back as people order them.

            Beijing Restaurant
            1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

            1. re: klo4c

              Most of the Muslim Chinese places that did those well have closed or are in San Jose / Milpitas. I haven't been to Beijing on Alemany yet. Everyday Beijing in San Mateo is good.

              Everyday Beijing
              637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

          2. re: klo4c

            Glad it worked out. Next time try: West Lake (lamb) dumplings, extremely spicy pepper with a pancake, and perhaps a warm pot. I've never tried beef there, except the shreds in the extremely hot pepper plate, which is mostly eggs and chiles. Donuts are good too.

            Many people like the Cumin Lamb, but not a dish I'm crazy about there or elsewhere.

            1. re: Windy

              Thanks, Windy, I'll give those a taste next time I'm there. Didn't see the donuts? We were told of the extremely spicy pancake, that the name translates as something like "death by spice," which intrigued me, but since my dining companion isn't a heat fiend we went another direction to share.

              1. re: klo4c

                Old Mandarin's Extremely Hot Pepper is eggs scrambled with a huge quantity of chopped fresh chiles and a few other things. It's good if you like really hot dishes and pick out the chunks of dried red chiles.

                1. re: klo4c

                  Yes, the name in Chinese is why we ordered it the first time. It's more of a condiment for the pancakes, and gets spicier in leftovers as the flavors meld. I think the donuts are called Fried Sweet Cakes on the menu but not sure.

                  Do a board search for knife cut noodles. I like the ones at Fatima in Cupertino if you're ever down there. They have good sesame bread and fresh tofu too.

                  1. re: klo4c

                    Beijing does the same dish with a similar name (Chili Delight in English, I think). My Pleco iPhone app (really worth it with OCR) came up with something like Extreme Spice for the translation of Old Mandarin's Chinese description.

                    Beijing's version is hot, but not at the extreme of Old Mandarin. They serve it with a simple pancake to wrap it up like moo shu or Peking duck. I really like the Beijing version and thought that the Old Mandarin version was essentially almost pure chopped Thai chiles. I like extremely spicy, but even with a beef pancake, I thought it was too much and lacking in other flavors.

                    Both versions seem as if they could be authentic Beijing food. Is it possible that they just reflect two variations? Or is one more typical of what you would get in Beijing? Can an expert who has been to Beijing recently weigh in on this question? It has been bothering my curiosity for the last 2 weeks since we were at Old Mandarin.

                    And I prefer Beijing's Cumin Lamb also. It is one of the best around.

                    1. re: Thomas Nash

                      The Old Mandarin version would be too hot for me and unpleasantly bitter if I didn't pick out the chunks of dried red chilies. Seemed like roughly equal amounts of serranos / jalapeƱos and eggs to me. I've seen the dish called scrambled eggs with chiles.

            2. I went to a dinner at Dong Bei Mama a couple months ago. Everything was good, but the eggplant dish. The pork leg was tasty and they do fish very well. If I went back again, I would perhaps order several of the smaller hot and cold appetizers.

              1. I've been to both branches of beijing and think the alemany one was better. Could have changed though.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sfbing

                  In our last couple of visits to the Alemany location, we noticed the quantity has reduced significantly for about the same price. (Cumin Lamb was less than half of what we usually get!) When we were there last month, we ordered about 1/3 more food than usual. Guess it's a way for them to up the price without really up the price. Anyone shares our experience?

                  I was told that Jin's mother cooks at the Sunset location, but we've never been.

                  1. re: intomeat

                    Hmmm. Maybe large portions became less necessary when Yao Ming retired. Just thinking...

                2. Thanks very much to all. Please chime in especially if you have any updates on the previous threads, some a year or more ago.