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Hand pulled noodles and knife cut noodles? Best options in SF (or BART accessible)

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What are the best options these days for hand pulled noodles (lamian) and knife shaved noodles (dao xiao mian)? I'm particularly interested in places where I can get non-soup dishes made with these noodles, although soup options are fine too.

Two places I know I need to try are King of Noodles in the Sunset, and San Dong House in the Richmond. Where else should I be heading?

Also, a post on the Boston board about Xi'an Famous Foods coming there got me thinking...what are equivalent places in San Francisco?

Looking forward to getting caught up on the Chinese food scene here!

Dave MP

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  1. Here are some threads. The Oakland places are more BARTable than the Sunset or the Richmond.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556453
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/612637
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/502487
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/734197
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/800801

    6 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Strangely, the software pulled up a thread at the bottom of the page you missed: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762004

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Cool. I wish there was a Shanxi noodle place in the Bay Area.

        I also wished last year that Xi'an Famous Foods (of NYC) would open in Boston, and now that wish is coming true! So, wishing things like this sometimes works!

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838583

        1. re: Dave MP

          wolfe's first link mentions Shanxi noodles at Five Happiness on Geary

          1. re: drewskiSF

            Yeah, but from what I gathered, it's just one dish on the menu.

            Also, I think I am partially confusing Shanxi and Shaanxi, and maybe really looking for the latter.....but I was reading about Shaanxi Gourmet in Rosemead, CA and it sounded great, and I was wishing there was something like that here too!

            1. re: Dave MP

              Perhaps just one dish on the menu, but one knife-shaved noodle (dao xiao mien) dish is worth 100 other dishes! Five Happiness is good but my favorite dao xiao mien rendition in SF is at Shanghai House, out on Balboa, a few blocks beyond Shanghai Dumpling King. Great noodles, good seasoning, and nicely cooked vegetables mixed in.

              1. re: Dave MP

                There are hints that Xi"an Famous Foods might be coming to L.A.--they asked their Facebook followers in LA for suggested geographical locations in Los Angeles. If so, could the Bay Area be far behind?

      2. the two branches of the Beijing Restaurant have some of the better northern style preparations in the city, and several if not most of their noodle dishes have house made, hand cut noodles. their first place is in the Excelsior, on Alemany near 280, the second is in the outer Sunset.

        9 Replies
        1. re: moto

          Ooh, I was just wondering about that place the other day. I went to the Excelsior branch of Beijing back in 2009....but couldn't really remember it. Is it still good? What else is good there besides noodles?

          1. re: Dave MP

            The warm pots (with preserved cabbage) are really good. The dumplings are also quite tasty. Actually, the hand cut noodles were not to my liking...they were a different style than I'm used to, not wide and chewy and irregular like the knife shaved noodles at Shanghainese restaurants. These were very regular in shape, sort of square and hard and thin, like square-shaped spaghetti. Not really sure how you achieve this effect by hand cutting. The last time I had a noodle dish here was shortly after they opened, so things may have changed. I will say that based on the photos on Yelp, the noodles look considerably more appetizing than I remember. May be worth another shot!

            1. re: Dave MP

              Order 50% more food than you used to. They kept about the same price.point but reduced quantity. Quality is still solid.

              1. re: intomeat

                I've eaten here multiple times since they opened, just haven't opted for the noodles again. :)

            2. re: moto

              Can you share the names of the dishes that are good to order? Beijing is down the street from me and I'm pretty naive about authentic Chinese food. We ordered take out from there this week and our selections included some pretty mediocre American-style Chinese stuff (like sesame chicken). I'd love ideas for their best dishes.

              1. re: Cambridgeater

                I haven't been here since 2009, but I was just looking at the menu, which is here: http://beijingrestaurant.us/menu.html

                It seems to me that the best bets are the items that have photographs....this includes the dumplings, noodles, the warm pots that possumspice mentions, and lots of other dishes. Things I personally want to try include wide rice noodle salad, cumin lamb, egg surface tofu, Beijing noodles w/ special sauce (北京炸醬麵), beef stew noodle soup, various dumplings, etc.....

                1. re: Cambridgeater

                  I've only been a couple of times, and haven't tried a large amount of items from the menu, but I would would highly recommend the warm pots and the Beijing Vegetable Pie. The waiters recommend the warm pot with fish, but I'm more used to the warm pot with sliced pork. I think the preserved napa cabbage could be more sour, but the dish is still a winner. The vegetable pie is made with Chinese chives, which may be an acquired taste for some; the meat pancakes are made in a similar style.

                  Also once had a daily special of red braised pork feet that was good too. They have not-often-seen stir fried flour balls on the menu, but I found the dish to be fairly bland. The balls themselves are good, and I really like the pancake/pie dough, so I'll have to go try the noodles soon.

                  1. re: Cambridgeater

                    amercanized dishes are almost predictably sweeter, with heavier flavours, and usually coated in some kind of sauce. two of the more delicate dishes at Beijing are the sliced fish warm pot w. preserved veg, or the pork noodle soup w. preserved veg. the warm pot is actually a soup, and it has non-wheat (they're bean), delicate noodles, while the pork noodles are the hand made wheat ones. what they call 'pies' are actually savoury, stuffed pancakes, that are often greasy in other places but done quite well at Beijing. the cumin lamb or green onion lamb have no sauces to speak of, but plenty of flavour.

                    1. re: Cambridgeater

                      My favorite dish at Bejing is the Sliced Fish with Preserved Vegetable Warm Pot. Here are some detailed threads about each location--

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590638
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751126

                  2. I really like Shan Dong in Oakland and usually order their pork chow mein or combo chow mein. It is a few blocks from both the 12th ST station and the Lake Merritt Station.

                    1. Anyone else been to Shan Dong in Oakland recently? I've been there twice in the past few weeks, and both times the Knife Shaved noodles have been overcooked, once in a soup and once in the "spicy meat sauce noodles" aka Zha jiang mian.

                      Also, and I luckily caught this before sending in the order, I was told that they no longer serve the "spicy meat sauce noodles" spicy unless you specifically request it.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        the hand cut noodles are pretty good at Sichuan Fusion in the Pacifc East mall (Richmond). they'll use them in any noodle dish on the menu for a small extra charge. the only fusion involved with the food is between different Chinese regional styles -- except for obvious dishes, not much chinamerican fusion. szechuan pepper definitely present in the spicy sauced dish we tried. however, this doesn't help Dave MP's quest for a place on the west side or near a Bart station.

                        1. re: moto

                          El Cerrito Plaza BART is not too many blocks from Pacific East--less than a mile, I bet.

                          1. re: alfairfax

                            It's a .7 mile walk if you take the shortcut through San Diego Street.

                        2. re: hyperbowler

                          Whoops, just realizing that "knife shaved" and "knife cut" are totally separate things, the former being peeled off the top of a hard chunk of a dough, and the latter being rolled out and roughly sliced with a knife into noodles. Shan Dong has the latter.

                        3. Chron reports that hand-pulled noodles will be a major feature of Martin Yan's new place, M.Y. China.

                          http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/No...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            i'm waiting for michael bauer to rate them 3 stars before i go there. :)

                          2. I hit up some places in the East Bay over the past few days:

                            = Flat and wide hand pulled noodles =
                            Got these at Imperial Tea Court in Berkeley and mentioned it on another thread. Their dough isn't particularly stretchy. The Chef mentioned these originating in Shanxi or Shaanxi, I couldn't tell which. As shown in the picture below, I had someone write down the Chinese characters. Can anyone translate the name of this style of noodle?

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8008...

                            = Hand pulled noodles =
                            QQ Noodles in Fremont (1/2 mile from Cal Train, a few miles from BART), continues to be my favorite hand-pulled noodle place. Their Dry Soy Bean Paste Sauce Noodles ( 干拌酱面 ) were great as always.

                            = Knife shaved noodles =
                            Following moto's tip on this thread and another, I had the knife shaved noodles ( 刀削面 dāo xiāo miàn) at Sichuan Fusion. I liked their knife shaved noodles better than the ones I've eaten at Darda. The pieces seemed to be longer overall, and more consistent in terms of thickness. Chewy goodness. Also happy to report that Sichuan Fusion's food and service seems a lot better than anything I ate at the restaurant they replaced a few years back.

                            = Hand cut noodles =
                            Shan Dong Restaurant in Oakland's hand cut noodles were gummy as they've been the several other times I've been. We got them in zha jiang mein, and the sauce wasn't particularly flavorful or present. Enough disappointment ... I'm finally taking this off my Oakland Chinatown rotation, at least for noodles (picture below is actually from a previous visit, but its the same dish ).

                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                            1. San Dong House BBQ on Geary near Arguello has either gone significantly downhill (Yelp seems to think so) or was never very good, but I have difficulty believing the noodles I got there on Saturday were hand pulled, despite claims that they were. It was the second time I had stopped by there, the hours given as 11-11, where they were shutting down around 8-9. The first time, on a Sunday a bit before 8 I was told the kitchen had closed, this time, a Saturday at 9 I was told coming in the door that this was to go. I was offered no menu, so ordering from the wall, I had the choice of oxtail noodle soup or dan dan noodles. Although dan dan has nothing to do with Shandong, I had no interest in soup at the time, so I got the dan-dan to go. They nicely packaged the noodles separately from the sauce, but the noodles were seriously gummy, with no springiness, and a very soft texture (and were very uniform). The sauce was much more vinegary than I would expect from a Sichuan (the original) dan dan and it didn't have any Sichuan peppercorns. The noodles were packed with blanched carrot shreds and mung bean sprouts (also quite different from what I would expect.) Overall, not my favorite, but the main factor in my dislike was the gummy, bland noodles.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ...tm...

                                oops, forgot the requisite picture...

                                 
                                1. re: ...tm...

                                  Jeez, what a bummer! Width and cut aside, were the noodles all the same length and were there any strands that were more than a foot long?

                                  I'm wondering whether they did a bait and switch because they were so close to closing, or if they just stopped making hand pulled noodles in general.

                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    It was difficult to assess the length of the noodles, as most broke upon trying to eat them, as they were so gummy. It may have been a symptom of the takeout, but as I implied, it might be a necessity of their "service" as I was there twice on weekends before their posted (in window) hours and takeout was the best I could wrangle.

                                2. I had the zha jiang mien at San Wang (aka Sam Wong) on Post in Japantown tonight. They're listed as "plum sauce noodles" and for $1 extra, you get the hand-pulled variety.

                                  Excellent, rubber-band-like hand-pulled noodles that snapped back into the bowl as I bit into them. Noodles were long, and all had the same width.

                                  Zha jiang mien can have a greasy sauce, and these were even greasier than any Zha jiang mien or jajangmyeon I've ever before. Almost unpalatable. The black sauce contained pork and squash, and was topped with slivered cucumbers and 3 shrimp cooked separately from the dish.

                                  I'd definitely go back for a soup dish that contains the noodles.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    Based on this mention, I went to San Wang tonight to get beef noodle soup. I used to like this soup at San Dong House in the Inner Richmond, but their noodle cook left some time ago and since then the quality has gone way downhill.

                                    This noodle quality was pretty good--B+ in my book--but everything else about the soup was disappointing. Unevenly spiced, overcooked beef and tired bok choy in a sweaty, oversalted broth. Big bowl for $8.95, but I probably finished less than a third. Even with mediocre noodles, I'd still give the nod to Zombie San Dong for a bowl of beef noodle soup.

                                  2. M.Y. China is great and has both and an award winning noodle puller

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: hungree

                                      If you've eaten there, please post about what you ate.

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880212

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        done!

                                    2. I've been enjoying the hand-shaved noobles (sic) from Happy Golden Bowl in El Cerrito for the last couple of weeks. Nice texture, stir fried with a bit of pork, napa cabbage, onion. They will do any custom variety you can imagine, or so they say.

                                      I was not terribly impressed with ShanDong's noodles. Guess I need to give them another chance....