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Niu Rou Juan Bing / 牛 肉 捲 餅 (Scallion pancake rolled with beef)

Who makes the best niu rou juan bing in San Diego? I recently tried the version at Liang's Kitchen, and while the pancake was pretty good (a little crispy, not too oily) the beef was dry and bland. Overall it was not very satisfying, but I don't want to have to drive all the way to San Gabriel Valley just to satisfy a snack craving.

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  1. Chin's up on Mirimar had a pretty good one as part of their weekend brunch about a year ago. I've read that there's been some ownership changes, but I really liked the one up there for exactly the reason you mentioned. Let us know if you find a better one in town.

    Cheers!

    1. Home!

      Go to an Asian grocery store and buy the frozen pancakes.

      Hoisin. Cooked marinated Beef (I sometimes even leave this out). slivered white part of green onion. Slivered cucumber (cut out the seeds and skin if it is tough).

      Seriously way better than any restaurant (and I eat this dish all the time)

      Try a few different brands of the frozen pancake until you find a good one.
      It's really easy to cook. just put it on non stick pan with a little bit of oil at medium high heat (cook one side then flip and cook the other)

      10 Replies
      1. re: quddous

        Excellent idea! In fact, Ranch 99 carries an artisanal and no artificial ingredients added Taiwanese made scallion pancake that would be perfect. It's in the frozen section, and is the kind of product that makes frozen food worth it.

        Add a bit of cilantro at the end?

        Cheers!

        1. re: SaltyRaisins

          I'm not going to lie, the ones with lard are usually the best.

          Adding cilantro is up to you. I don't but it would add another Asian flavour to them.
          (if you add jalapeño too then it would remind me of banh mi)

          I learned the cucumber part from Chef Hungs (a Taiwanese chain) - it really makes them a lot fresher and less greasy tasting (I sometimes go without them too).

          1. re: SaltyRaisins

            Do you recall the brand of the pancake?

            1. re: zare_k

              Ranch 99 has them, and I believe there is only one brand that has it as oblong sheets (as opposed to circular sheets).

              1. re: ipsedixit

                That's the one. The package design was very green and leek-y if I recall, and sorta stood out from the rest of the offerings.

                1. re: SaltyRaisins

                  Extra points if the frozen brand is imported/made in Taiwan. There's a brand available in NorCal 99 Ranches that goes through a distributor in Canada of all places, but does a killer chive pancake (raw frozen)..

                  1. re: K K

                    Now that you mention it being raw frozen, I think we're all talking about the same product. I seemed to recall seeing Taiwan on the label, but it may be the case that it not being "made in China" was enough for me to default sub in Taiwan. In any case, it was excellent.

                    I'm planning a shopping up there soon, so I'll let you all know the details if you don't beat me.

                    Cheers.

                    ( I did a little googling, and Wudalang from Kaoshung makes one for export that seemed to have the same graphic as the one I remember eating, and it looks like Ranch 99 carries it. Also, K K, read your profile, and I too would love to eat my way through Taiwan, tip to tip. One of the best meals I had there recently, not including any Tainan street food which I put in a separate category, was at an aboriginal tourist rest in Chiphen. It was off the charts good, and touristy in a good way. Seediq Bale!)

                    1. re: SaltyRaisins

                      Salty!!!!!
                      You have been missed...loved to follow you on follow on Twitter.
                      Any way, scallion pancakes...been thinking a lot about these bad boys.
                      Ipsy says Ranch 99 and get the Taiwan made..only had them once in Vancouver plain...do you gussy up with veggies/meat?

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        BC- how's it going?

                        There are a lot of scallion/leek pancakes available at Ranch 99 in the frozen section- mostly China made which I prefer to avoid. Some are the type that are first rolled out like piecrust, then rolled up, then sliced cinnamon-roll style (but a lot thinner) and then rolled out again so that when cooked they have that nice pulley-aparty textural thing with lots of flaky layers. These usually have a smattering of scallion. Then there's the type that are more like a giant flattened dumpling that are stuffed with tons of the green goodness, and cooked like an Indian stuffed bread. The one that is causing us to swoon is this type, and is really really good, and I'm pretty sure is made in Taiwan (a country with food safety standards at or above US levels). You can eat them as they are, or put pretty much anything on them, though the first ones I mentioned are better for rolling around fillings. Quddous has some good prep suggestions above.

                        Cheers!

        2. Savory Garden at 7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd (just right outside the 99 Ranch Kearny Mesa branch) serves up a similar lineup of items and style of cuisine to Liang's, and also offers NRJB. After you are done, trek over to the supermarket past the cashier and look for Imagawayaki 車輪餅/今川焼) made fresh with a rotating grill.

          7 Replies
          1. re: K K

            Unfortunately, Savory Garden is not very good -- even by SD Taiwanese food standards.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Curious...what is the SD Taiwanese food standard? Certainly not Liang's or Tea Station? Where else can one go for TW food in SD area?

              1. re: K K

                Liang's and/or Tea Stations may be *the* standard.

                Residents of SD should really be thankful for Liang's expansion southward beyond OC. And I do not mean that in any way but positive.

                As to your second question where one can for Taiwanese food in the SD area? Irvine.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  It depends what you order at Savory Garden, it is potentially a hit and miss, but for the area at least it offers an alternative for those who might find those standards tiring. It is at least the more interesting eatery inside the 99 Ranch building (Sam Woo looks very scary to me).

                  1. re: K K

                    Liang's is probably the SD Taiwanese food standard. The branch in Irvine is actually a lot better even though it's a part of the same chain.

                    I'd only call the Irvine Taiwanese food slightly above average. For the really good stuff you'll have to drive to at least Rowland Heights

                    1. re: karaethon

                      For the really good stuff you'll have to drive to at least Rowland Heights

                      _____________________

                      Between the West and Eastern SGV, the only place that has better Taiwanese food on earth might be, well, in Taiwan.

                2. re: K K

                  I agree with the summary of the Taiwanese scene in SD. At least we have Liang Mama...but that's not saying all that much. Their menu is very promising, but the dishes can frequently fall short on amount of grease, subtlety of flavor and even temperature. But when you crave some spicy beef broth with tendon, it's the place to go. Also, the place just isn't as cool or as comfortable as I've known other Taiwanese places to be.

                  Tea Station has some good bento items, and has a bigger menu than it used to. So when you need a tea egg, you go there.

                  For baked goods and coffee: Pangea on Convoy is doing some good things, but I'm not a major fan of Asian baking (certain items exempted!). My Taiwanese friends are happy not to have to drive north for their hot-dog rolls, scallion bread, or pork-sung rolls though.

                  Otherwise, visit one of the Taiwanese churches after church on Sunday...people bring the real stuff. Alas, I'm not the religious type...

                  Hope DinTaiFung decides to expand further south...

                  Ganbei!