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Mar 13, 2012 04:21 PM

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

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. re: wolfe

      Strangely, the software pulled up a thread at the bottom of the page you missed:

      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!

        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:

                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--


                  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.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

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