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Jan 16, 2013 08:53 PM

New "21 Taste House" near City College features Yunnan rice noodle dishes. [San Francisco]

21 Taste House Grill & Noodle Cuisine opened about a week ago on Ocean Avenue near City College. It features grilled meats, rice plates, and, of most interest to me, a large selection of Yunnan rice noodle dishes. It seems to have become an instant success with students.

I visited today and had a bowl of Yunnan rice noodle soup with lamb shoulder slices and a kimchi appetizer. I found the soup a little on the bland side and the noodles overdone, but the latter may be due to the fact that the place is still adjusting to its popularity. It was totally slammed, even after 1:00 today.

21 Taste House
1109 Ocean Avenue at Lee St.
San Francisco

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  1. Thanks for keeping us posted on the growing diversity of Chinese eats in this town. Are the rice noodles the round, sort of spaghetti-like type?

    Also, any theories on why we're seeing spurt in non-Cantonese places?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      - the overabundance of commercial space leads to an attractive rental agreement.
      -lack of job opportunities pushes some people with talent to start their own businesses.
      -many people looking for work. wages will not break the bank for new owners.

      1. re: shanghaikid

        Actually from what I can see just walking around the city, the job outlook is improving a lot. At least three "server wanted" signs in less than a mile today.

        Rents are climbing in that area as they are citywide, and with the new Whole Foods and fancy apartments across the street, more hungry diners. Ocean Avenue's been pretty dismal.

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        Yes, they were the ones with a round cross-section.

        I think there has been an influx of Chinese (especially students) from different regions of China, hence a growing market for non-Cantonese food. Hard to imagine a lot of immigration from Yunnan, though. Maybe there's an attitude of "anything but Cantonese for a change."

        21 Taste House has a lot of hearty hungry-student fare in addition to traditional noodles, like grilled pork chops and other meats over rice or noodles. Sustenance may trump provenance in the students' choices!

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Regarding Melanie's question, the guys at 21 Taste House have a friend from Yunnan Province who taught them how to make a few kinds of Yunnan hot pot. That's why there aren't other Yunnan dishes on the menu. For practical reasons, they serve these as soups rather than having the customers make it themselves at the table.

          It's been a few months since I was there, but I remember the soup having a hodgepodge of vegetables, enoki mushrooms, fish. The only unfamiliar ingredient was goji berries. Not knowing anything about Yunnan cuisine, I couldn't pick up what distinguished this soup from other regional soups. But good is good, and it's a filling one dish meal.

          Another dish I enjoyed was beef wrapped around enoki mushrooms. The preparation was very juicy.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            Thanks for the info. For Yunnan noodle soup, I believe the meats are cooked in the individual bowls of hot soup rather than added in already cooked form. This should lend a different taste and texture.