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2014 regional Chinese roundup

With the recent addition of restaurants specializing in Xi'an, Guilin, and Northeast Chinese foods, now's an exciting time to be eating Chinese food in the Bay Area.

Here's a stab at characterizing the regional Chinese cuisines we have available to us. Please add restaurants I've overlooked or, even better, add regional cuisines that weren't included.

Caveat: It's rare for a Chinese restaurant to focus on one region's cuisine, and of course regions themselves don't live in a vacuum. Just do a search and you'll find lots of in-depth discussions of what characterizes these regional cuisines and/or makes these restaurants special.

I left out Cantonese and Hong Kong places because they are so numerous that they're better deserving of treatment by genre and quality. It would be nice to see that in a different discussion though.

The Bay Area has lots of weak spots. There's only a Yunnan or Fujian dish here or there, and nothing from Anhui. I couldn't find discussions of food from Hubei, Jiangxi, Qinghai, Ningxia, Henan, or Guizhou.

Here we go ...

== SHANXI AND SHAANXI ==

= Xi'an (Shaanxi) =
House of Xian Dumpling (SF Chinatown)
Terra Cotta Warrior (SF Inner Sunset)
Xi'an Gourmet (SF Richmond)

= Shaanxi Biang biang noodles =
Imperial Tea Court (Berkeley)

= Hand pulled noodles (technique unknown) =
Mings Restaurant (San Bruno)
QQ Noodle (Milpitas, Cupertino)
Xi'an Gourmet (SF Inner Richmond)

= Shanxi knife shaved noodles =
Ancient Sichuan (El Cerrito)
Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
Five Joy (San Mateo)
Sichuan Fusion (Richmond)

== TIBET ==
Cafe Tibet (Berkeley)
Tashi Delek (El Cerrito)

== NORTHWEST / UIGHUR / XINJIANG ==
Some dishes available at:
Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
Terra Cotta Warrior (SF Inner Sunset)
Xi'an Gourmet (SF Inner Richmond)

= Langzhou hand-pulled noodles =
Ark Restaurant (Alameda)
MY China (SF Union Square)

= Lagman hand-pulled noodles / Xinjiang Ban Mian =

Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
House of Pancakes (SF Parkside)


== NORTHERN ==

= Islamic Chinese =
Chinjin Eastern House (West San Jose)
Darda (Fremont)
Old Mandarin (SF Outer Sunset)

= Beijing =
Beijing Restaurant (SF Excelsior)
Everyday Beijing (San Mateo)
House of Pancakes (SF Parkside)
Taste Good Beijing (Milpitas)

= Tianjin =
Tianjin Dumpling (Oakland, Chinatown)

= Hebei =
Yi Yuan (Millbrae, a Sichuan restaurant, but chef from Hebei)

= Other Northern and Jiaozi =
Dumpling Empire (South San Francisco)
iDumpling (San Mateo)
Kingdom of Dumpling (Outer Sunset)
Panda Dumpling (San Carlos, Redwood City)
Tianjin Dumpling (Oakland, Chinatown)
Town of Dumpling (San Mateo)

= House made bing =
see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892914
Beijing Restaurant
House of Pancakes (SF Parkside
)
== SHANDONG ==
China Village (Berkeley, owner of Shandong heritage, Shandong dishes mainly by special order)
Great China (Berkeley)
Palace Chef (Fremont)
San Tung (SF Inner Sunset)
Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
Shandong Restaurant (Oakland, Chinatown)
Tong Dumpling (Cupertino)
Shandong Mutton Restaurant (San Jose)

== SHANDONG &/or CHINESE KOREAN ==
Chef Yu (Oakland, Temescal)
Koryo Jajang (Oakland, Temescal)
San Wang (SF Japantown)

== NORTHEAST / DONGBEI ==
see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7659...
Bamboo Garden (Mountainview
)Chef Xiu (Mountainview)
Dongei Mama (SF Inner Richmond)
Guan Dong House (Cupertino)
Little Shen Yang (Union City)

== SHANGHAI / JIANGSU / ZHEJIANG ==
Bamboo Garden (Mountainview)
Bund Shanghai (SF chinatown)
Dumpling Kitchen (SF Outer Sunset)
Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
Jai Yun (SF Chinatown; the chef is from Nanjing and only offers a multi-course menu)
Lily's House (Lafayette)
Little Shanghai (San Mateo)
Melin House (Milpitas)
North China (SF Inner Richmond)
Old Shanghai (SF Inner Richmond)
Rice Valley (SF Sunnyside)
Sha Bistro (Fremont)
Shanghai Bistro (Millbrae)
Shanghai Delight (Milpitas)
Shanghai Dim Sum (Cupertino)
Shanghai Ding Sheng Restaurant (Milpitas)
Shanghai Dumpling King (SF Outer Richmond and Sunnyside locations)
Shanghai Dumpling Shop (Millbrae)
Shanghai Dumplings (Saratoga)
Shanghai Flavor (Fremont)
Shanghai Flavor Shop (Sunnyvale)
Shanghai House (SF Outer Richmond)
Shanghai Restaurant (Oakland, Chinatown)
Shanghai Winter Garden (Millbrae)

== SICHUAN (SICHUAN and CHONGQING) ==
Ancient Szechuan (El Cerrito)
Chef Ma (San Jose, chef from Chengdu)
Chef Zhao Bistro (Mountainview)
Chili House (SF Inner Richmond)
China Village (Albany)
Da Sichuan (Palo Alto)
Da Sichuan (Palo Alto)
Fey Restaurant (Menlo Park)
Grand Hot Pot Lounge (SF Inner Richmond)
Little Sichuan (San Mateo)
Mama Ji's (SF Castro)
Mandarin Gourmet (Palo Alto, chef from Chengdu)
Sichuan Chong Qing Cuisine (San Mateo)
Sichuan Fortune House (Pleasant Hill)
Sichuan Fusion (Richmond)
Sichuan Home (SF Inner Richmond)
Sichuan House (Walnut Creek)
South Legend Sichuan Restaurant (Milpitas)
Spices / Spices II (SF Inner Richmond)
Spicy Empire (San Mateo) / SF Chinatown Pot Sticker and Spicy King
Yi Yuan (Millbrae)
Z&Y (Chinatown)

== HUNAN ==
Henry Hunan (SF chain/institution with a few Hunan dishes/ham, but mostly Chinese American stir-fries)
Made in China (SF Parkside)
Shao Mountain (Fremont)

== GUANXI ==
Guilin Noodles (Oakland, Chinatown)

== CANTONESE subsets ==

= Hakka =
Hakka Restaurant (SF Outer Richmond)
Ton Kiang (SF Outer Richmond)

= Chiuchow / Chaozhou / Teo Chow / Chinjiew =
Menkee Wonton (SF Outer Sunset)
Teo Chew Noodle Shack (Fremont)

= Vietnamese / Chaozhou =
Hai Ky Mi Gia (SF Tenderloin)
Lam Hoa Than (SF Sunset)

= Shunde =
Jade Garden (SF Outer Richmond)

== TAIWANESE =
Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
Grand Harbor (Fremont)
Joy Restaurant (San Mateo)
Southland Flavor Cafe (Cupertino)
Spices I & II (SF Inner Richmond)
Spices III (Oakland)

== OTHER ==

= Vegetarian =
(trying to leave out places slinging fake meat + brown sauce)
Jai Yun (SF Chinatown; the chef is from Nanjing and only offers a multi-course menu)
Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant (Ukiah)
Sogo Tofu (San Jose)

= Indian Chinese =
Red Hot Chilli Pepper (San Carlos)
Spice Kitchen (Newark)

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  1. They spell it Chow Jew, but Vien Huong (Oakland Chinatown) and VH Noodle (Pacific East Mall, Richmond) for Teochew. Also Thanh Ky in Oakland Eastlake for the same.

    2 Replies
    1. re: calny

      Aren't Lam Hoa Thuan and other similar "Chinese-Vietnamese" spots Chiu Chow as well? Was under the impression most places of this type fell under the Chiu Chow umbrella: http://eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com/2... (EDIT - my mistake, I missed that Chiu Chow and "Vietamese/Chouzhou" are listed as separate categories here. Curious how those two categories are differentiated though.

      )

      Does Dragon River on Geary still serve Hakka dishes?

      King of Noodles and the other places owned by Kingdom of Dumpling should also fall under either the "Shandong" or "other Northern" categories.

      1. re: bigwheel042

        Dragon River's takeout menu lists 14 items under the Hakka section.

    2. Chengdu Style Restaurant (Berkeley) for Sichuan.

      I believe Hot Pot House (Oakland Chinatown) has a Sichuan chef. It's owned by the Spices people.

      Great China also serves Korean-Chinese dishes.

      1. Quite an ambitious undertaking, but all the best of luck to you.

        1. Thank you for a great and useful list, with a couple of places I wasn't aware of beyond driving by (e.g. Five Happiness).

          A couple of amendments:
          Terracotta Warrior, at 31st Ave, is most definitely not in the Inner Sunset. They also have hand-pulled noodles.
          Dongbei Mama has also been well known for its Sichuan food, actually the best of all in my opinion. Although their chef may have recently moved, they're still serving it -while good (still better than the overrated Sichuan Home) it's not as great as it was.

          1. That's a GREAT list. Here are a couple of additions:

            Little Szechuan in Chinatown/North Beach for Sichuan.

            Taste of Formosa in Outer Richmond for Taiwanese

            San Sun in Chinatown is Chaozhou Chinese-Vietnamese

            You could add a category for cold wheat starch noodles (liang pi / mian pi / fen pi) served at:

            Xi An Gournet
            House of Xian Dumpling
            Terra Cotta Warrior

            Also, Made in China's cold buckwheat noodles (and a couple of other dishes) qualify it for the Korean-Chinese category.

            M.Y. China also makes scissor-cut noodles.

            Xiao Long Bao (the restaurant) on Clement belongs in there somewhere (dumplings, bingzi....)

            I wouldn't omit what you call "fake meat" vegetarian. That's a staple of vegetarian restaurants in China and I can't imagine ANY Chinese vegetarian restaurants that don't serve some mianjin/seitan dishes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: soupçon

              San Sun has terrific noodles: #40 Combination pure rice noodles, #65 Chicken & Leek dumpling soup with vegetables, #94 Combination Fried pure rice noodles with fried egg, #115 Fish & Bitter Melon, #163 Pork Kidney with ginger & onion, #228 Salted Fish & Chicken fried rice. Four lunched together for $14 each, including tax and tip. Good portions, fresh ingredients, great friendly service.

            2. awesome list. awesome project.

              1. Chef Yu belongs in the same category as Great China.

                Old Mandarin Islamic's specialty is Peking hot pot.

                Tibetan cuisine is regional Chinese kind of the way Afghan food is regional American.

                Wang's Kitchen in Milpitas is Indian Chinese.

                  1. Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

                    Oh, I missed hot pot altogether!

                    @ soupçon Thanks! Your posts and blog were very helpful in creating this list.

                    Regarding noodles, in the next iteration I could include subsections for places with liang pi, flour balls (e.g., Beijing Restaurant, Old Mandarin, maybe other), the type of noodles in Tibetan Then Thuk, etc.

                    I've been meaning to head back to MY China. Which region are scissor cut noodles from?

                    That's a fair point about the vegetarian restaurants. At some point it might be useful to create a post about Chinese dishes that happen to be vegetarian, but are more than just a meat substitution dish. For example the Liang pi at Xian gourmet, ong choy or spinach with fermented tofu at various places, bing, and various seasonal vegetables

                    == Chinese Vegetarian ==
                    Enjoy Vegetarian (SF Chinatown; SF inner Sunset)
                    Garden Fresh (Palo Alto, Mountain View)
                    Long Life Vegi House (Berkeley)
                    Loving Hut (Oakland Chinatown; SF Chinatown)
                    Lucky Creation (SF Chinatown; lots of take out gluten items by the pound-- great for a picnic)
                    Royal Greens Vegetarian (San Jose)
                    Shangri-La restaurant (SF Outer Sunset)

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      I thought Old Mandarin's flour balls were awful. I don't know where to get a good version of that dish, a couple of places that did it well closed.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        We liked the flour ball dishes at Beijing Restaurant on Alemany - has it fallen off in ratings?

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          The texture of the flour balls at Beijing Restaurant are good, but the preparations aren't that interesting--- they're given the pea and diced carrot treatment

                          They are or were on the menu at Taste Good Beijing Cuisine (Milpitas) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5760...

                          1. re: Cynsa

                            I had the opposite experience with Beijing. I thought the flour balls were terrible, but I never thought the place was all that good to begin with.

                        2. re: hyperbowler

                          Scissor-cut noodles are from Shanxi.

                          http://goo.gl/7KNP60

                          You could also do skewers as a category.

                          1. re: hyperbowler

                            Enjoy also has a branch at Geary and 18th. Quite a bit less disgusting than the one on Kirkham.

                            1. re: davidg1

                              Loving Hut also has a branch on Irving and one in the Westfield Mall downtown.

                              Enjoy Vegetarian on Kearny St. has an innovative "Non-customer Toilet Using Fee."

                               
                            2. re: hyperbowler

                              I would not call Loving Hut Chinese. Each branch has its own. The one in Chinatown is sort of a vegan twist on pan-Asian fusion.

                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                what about Golden Lotus in Oakland Chinatown? I am not well versed in Chinese Vegetarian cuisine, but I love this place

                              2. Didn't spot Macanese restaurants on the big list -- there have been some around SF, and we had a popular one in Cupertino or thereabouts for many years.

                                Since you're citing Chengdu chefs under Sichuanese, Chef Zhao Bistro has one (he may even have trained some others cited here). Just had an amazing lunch there with vivid rendition of huge "water-boiled fish filet with red peppers" hotpot -- contained a good handful of whole hua jiao, among several other flavors in good balance.

                                Islamic Chinese is not uncommon in South Bay. The original Darda is in Milpitas (Barber Lane), I believe Fremont's Darda is much newer. Ma's in Cupertino (Fatima is much missed!), Shinjin in SJ.

                                For SEO including Chow searches, "Mountain View" is two words.

                                (It IS an ambitious list. I regret I'm not eating Chinese lunches all over silicon valley these days or I might be able to considerably expand entries for there -- it seems the southern Bay Area Chinese offerings are routinely underrepresented on this board despite some of high quality and unusual offerings -- a reader might think they're all in Milpitas or Fremont, yet many more have been prominent around Santa Clara County since even before those two towns had any to speak of -- but I'm not current.)

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: eatzalot

                                  Nice lead on Chef Zhao Bistro's chef--- there's not as much info on chef's backgrounds as there should be. Of course, that gets complicated by days off, changes in command, etc.

                                  Yeah, the geographical skew of the boards encourages more reports from down there.

                                  'hounds more familiar with Macanese cuisine could probably cite others, but Macau Cafe (Richmond) has been around for a while.

                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    "there's not as much info on chef's backgrounds as there should be"

                                    Maybe not in the abstract, though I've been telling everyone possible about that restaurant and its chef -- including several mentions on this board -- given that he was a cooking instructor in Chengdu, much deferred to by other kitchen staff and family members, and draws quite a Chinese following at his restaurant.

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8843...

                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                      Cafe Macau in Richmond (Pacific East Mall) has closed, alas; its space is occupied by a branch of Tamashii Ramen.

                                    2. re: eatzalot

                                      Noodles, cont'd: Though I haven't returned there recently, and can't say that it represented a specific school of Chinese noodlery, China Stix in Santa Clara was known for chewy fresh pulled noodles daily, well before Chowhound existed. (They'd run out daily by early evening, so it was always a lunch or early-dinner specialty.)

                                      1. re: eatzalot

                                        T 28 (at Taraval and 28th, get it?) has some Macanese dishes on the menu.

                                      2. Bejing Duck House (Cupertino) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/975169

                                        Taste Good Beijing Cuisine (Milpitas
                                        )Liou's House Chinese Restaurant (Taiwanese)

                                        A good primer on Hong Kong cuisine in the Bay Area:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/975054

                                        1. Fabulous list; just to clarify one entry:
                                          I believe iDumpling is in Redwood City not San Mateo...

                                          1. There's also i-Skewers on Judah, which seems to be more or less Northern (boiled dumplings, grilled meats) but also has a bunch of fish ball oriented hot pots including Fuzhou fish balls.

                                            (great thread idea, btw)

                                            1. The relatively new Lulu's Kitchen (Sichuan) in Concord is quite good.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tvr172

                                                Yes, Lulu's is quite good, and plus it is walking distance from Concord BART station!

                                                While they call themselves Sichuan, surprise of surprises, their XLB is very authentic as proclaimed by several of my native Shanghainese DCs.

                                              2. Mandarin Garden in Berkeley has many Sichuan dishes.
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8516...
                                                Their new menu emphasizes these dishes, although they still offer "double skin" and Peking Duck in the style of Great China -- I suspect they have had a turnover of chefs. The new owners are from Beijing but they are not doing the cooking. .

                                                1. Great list. A couple of others that I like that are so far missing:

                                                  Mama Chen's Kitchen (Cupertino): Taiwanese

                                                  Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino): northern Chinese. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829455

                                                  A&J (Cupertino): northern Chinese. Yelp claims it's closed, but I thought it was open the last time I went by there maybe a month ago. Can anyone confirm or deny?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      Thanks for the update, Melanie. The menu they've posted online looks identical to the old one. I wonder what has changed beyond the name. I'll try to inquire next time I'm there.

                                                      1. re: bouncepass

                                                        For as many times as I've been in that shopping center, I never ate at A & J. Please let us know how you like Ai.

                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                          One of the servers confirmed that nothing changed besides the name. My taste buds second that. Still delicious as always.

                                                  1. Great list. I would add to the Shanghai places Xiao Long Bao Kitchen on Grand Ave in SSF, and Shanghai East in San Mateo which has the same owners as Shanghai Restaurant in Oakland Chinatown, I'm pretty sure. Also, Shanghai Dumpling King moved from the outer Richmond to Monterey Blvd in Sunnyside.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: JoyM

                                                      SDK still maintains branches in both locations.

                                                      1. re: JoyM

                                                        Shanghai East is closed... I wonder if the quality has changed at the Oakland location since.

                                                        Holy crap, XLB Kitchen has an XL XLB http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678862 ! Pictures on Y*lp show it as smaller than the Large Tang Bao in Shanghai, but that's still a novelty!

                                                        1. re: JoyM

                                                          XLB Kitchen owners also operate Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae. The owner started out as dishwasher at old Wukong?

                                                        2. That is a very well thought out compiled list! Kudos hyperbowler!

                                                          Other Vietnamese Chinese contenders (Vietnamese Chinese have Chiu Chow/Teochew roots, but their food is very different than Chiu Chow Cantonese)

                                                          - Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia (Noriega, SF) owned by a family whose chef used to work at Hai Ky. Less MSG, easier to park.
                                                          - VH Noodle House (Richmond, Pacific East Mall)

                                                          Taiwanese
                                                          Mama Chef (Santa Clara)
                                                          Mama Chen (Cupertino)
                                                          Taiwan Café (Milpitas)

                                                          Hunan
                                                          New contender: "Wonderful" next to Chicken Pho You in Millbrae. Have not been, but higher priced entrees, supposedly a branch from a famous place in Beijing. No signs of Sichuan or Cantonese on the temporary menu, several dishes of Hunanese preserved/pickled/smoked pork.

                                                          Sichuan/Taiwanese style Sichuan
                                                          Spices IV (Foster City)

                                                          The chef at Yum's Bistro, if given enough notice can do some excellent Shunde Cantonese dishes (actually the restaurant where he worked in the 1970s, specialized in rustic Shunde Cantonese).

                                                          You can find some scattered Shunde and Zhongshan Cantonese dishes in Millbrae at Gourmet Village, The Kitchen, and Champagne restaurant (San Mateo/Millbrae).

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: K K

                                                            Thanks for all the Peninsula/South Bay info! Search is wacky today, but it brings up some of your previous inputs on Shunde and Zhongshan dishes.

                                                            While I'm writing...

                                                            Yi Ping (Sichuan, San Ramon)
                                                            Yu Yu Restaurant (Korean Chinese, Dublin)

                                                            It looks like Northwest Chinese food has been in the East Bay since early 2014. No reports yet, but here was an inquiry about it and a y*lp link to the photos/menu.

                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967583

                                                            If I'm correctly reading the restaurant's Chinese name (西北拉面, Xi Bei La Mian), it translates to Northwest hand-pulled noodle. The menu lists a few items of note including liang pi, ding ding chow mein (only Shandong Deluxe has these chunks of hand pulled noodles to my knowledge), and big plate chicken (also at Shandong Deluxe, Xi'an Gourmet, Made In China, and Terra Cotta Warrior).

                                                            1. re: K K

                                                              Wonderful on Broadway in Millbrae seems to be a pretty authentic Hunan place. They opened maybe a month ago. In general, dishes were heavy handed on salt, a bit oily, and things do get pretty spicey. Lots of garlic, green onion, ginger and chiles in the dishes. No lack of flavor going on here. After I told that to a co-worker from Hunan, she said that sounded about right. As I was late to dinner, I did not have the chance to review the menu or order, so no official dish names.

                                                              Red braised pork belly was surrounded by those four ingredients above. Chiles sauteed with preserve egg (pi dan) was less spicey than it sounds; they might have been Anaheim chiles. Apparently this is a staple of Hunan cuisine, but a combination I've never had before. Frog with those big four veg and lamb with cilantro were fine.

                                                              A small whole fish in a chile broth with soft tofu is a winner. The server claimed that the dish needs to be cooked for thirty minutes. If so, the fish was surprisingly not overcooked. Had a similar profile as soondubu. Green onion pancake is thick and bready, similar to the one at Darda. Saltier, oilier, tastier.

                                                              Fermented rice with glutinous rice balls was subpar. The egg mixture in the broth was overcooked. The balls had no chew. Open view kitchen with old style Chinese wood theme; the decor is a cut above the average Chinese restaurant in the Bay area. Beer would be good (or necessary?) with the food, but liquor license not approved yet.

                                                              1. re: Kirk_T

                                                                Thanks for the feedback. Still have not been yet, but had a feeling it wasn't going to be bad. I don't know much about Hunan food but the place seems legit, and at least clean and semi upscale looking. I did glance at a takeout menu one time and there were a lot of preserved smoked Hunan style meat (la rou) dishes, far more than any other place I've seen.

                                                                The trick with most regional Chinese restaurants is to request dishes with less oil less salt (shao yoh shao yen). The pork belly you had was probably Mao's braised pork belly...pretty famous and iconic Hunan dish.

                                                                1. re: Kirk_T

                                                                  Wonderful
                                                                  270 Broadway, Millbrae

                                                                  Hours:
                                                                  closed on Tuesdays (as of two weeks ago)
                                                                  Sun-Monday, 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-9:30pm

                                                              2. er... scratch Ming's off that hand-pulled noodle list. That chef no longer works there.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                  1. + Beijing Duck House (Cupertino)

                                                                    The summary:

                                                                    Tasty preorder Peking Duck (7 to 8 lbs per, shipped in from Long Island NY somewhere), carved tableside, and served with in house made crepes, and the carcass and meat in a tasty duck soup (thus, two ways...but they won't do three way). They also make a lot of "Lao Beijing" style snacks, some that supposedly were served as Imperial Banquet type mini dishes for the Last Empress of China (mostly dessert types, she probably had a sweet tooth, but luckily not a Yelper type into macarons, froyo, and Cream sandwiches). The cold appetizer dishes are very noteworthy, like marinated duck tongue, and Chinese mustard (mostly deboned) duck web which had a killer umami presence and perfect amount of mustard marination...as well as a dish of Lu cuisine origin called Luo Han Du (like a head cheese, but has pork stomach and tripe)...could give Cosentino's Boccalone offerings a run for their money...not as decadent as coppa di testa but very close in feeling. Friends who have eaten at Quanjude Beijing said this duck was obviously inferior, but I suppose if you haven't been to Beijing duck restaurants where they use apple or lychee wood fire, this ain't so bad and is already a great effort for SF Bay Area. I forgot to ask the other friends if they thought it was better than Great China (which I think for sure it would be).

                                                                    Not the best service (or hospitality) by the owner/lady boss, but perhaps a bit of a communication issue. Overcome this and go in a group, and the experience gets better.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: K K

                                                                      Great report-- I'm encouraged to organize a Chowdown here!

                                                                      Because of a typo (now fixed) you might have have missed some other reports about this place.

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/975169

                                                                      1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                        Saw that sometime back thanks, our table had way more varied dishes than that report, including ones from the temporary specials menu which I had already mentioned a few.

                                                                        1. re: K K

                                                                          (drool) I just caught your pics, and menu pictures, on yelp. Fingers crossed that they make those specials menus permanent and translate them. In the meantime, the translations you gave are super helpful--- I hope they keep making the items you ate!

                                                                          http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/beijin...

                                                                    2. Based on Luke Tsai's review of Dragon Gate in Oakland, looks like we have a solid addition to the Taiwanese category.

                                                                      http://goo.gl/SzpJVr

                                                                      1. Shanghai Dumplings (Saratoga) moved to Shanghai Dumpling (Cupertino) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923572

                                                                        Shanghai Family Restaurant (Cupertino) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/743042

                                                                        1. Can we try to pin this to the top? Not sure if the moderators would do it but it would be nice.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Ridge

                                                                            I'll ask the mods.

                                                                            Let's give this thread another month--- at the beginning of August, I'll make a version 2.0, which can integrate the new entries from this post.

                                                                            It would be nice to have a brief list for each region of go-to dishes common at the restaurants, but that gets complicated by the inconsistent naming. Plus, threads devoted to each restaurant are so rich with discussion, it's probably better to keep things minimal here.

                                                                          2. Top Noodle (Milpitas, shanghainese)

                                                                            Adding the two below, the Bay Area now has five places with lots of Shaanxi items:

                                                                            OK Noodle (Newark, Shaanxi)

                                                                            Thousand Tasty (Milpitas, Shaanxi and northern Chinese) 8 varieties of rou jia mo, bread soup, "house handmade" noodles, various pancakes, various shredded pancake(chao bing) dishes

                                                                            1. Zhong Shan Restaurant (SF Parkside) Seven items listed as being Zhong Shan style, including six in the "Village Style" section of the menu as well as Steamed Sparerib with Olive. Steamed yogurt with seafood (海鮮粒蒸乳酪) sounds interesting.

                                                                               
                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                I noticed this place too. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Cantonese food, but it looks to me like there are some unusual clay pot dishes on the menu too. Signage (to me, at least) might suggest someone serious about food.

                                                                                 
                                                                              2. A few Shandong-Korean places pulled from Chowhound tanspace's blog: http://eat.tanspace.com/2014/01/10/%E...

                                                                                Hung’s Kitchen (Shandong-Korean, San Ramon
                                                                                )China Way (Shandong-Korean, Santa Clara)
                                                                                Tong Soon Garden (Shandong-Korean, Santa Clara)
                                                                                Nak Kung (Shandong-Korean, Santa Clara)
                                                                                Tsing Tao (Shandong-Korean, Campbell)

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                  Oh wow, tanspace revived his blog . . . well, first and only post since 2009.

                                                                                2. Little Sichuan Restaurant (Newark) : lots of untranslated signboard items too

                                                                                  So far, if you exclude duplicates from chains, we're at more than 150 places, more than half from Sichuan, Shanghai, and Shandong/KoreanChinese and several from Cantonese variants or offshoots.

                                                                                  1. Two northeast China restaurants in SF:

                                                                                    China North Dumpling (Outer Sunset SF) chef from Shenyang
                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981311

                                                                                    Sungari Restaurant (Excelsior SF) chef from somewhere in Liaoning : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/982662

                                                                                    Also for the northeast, Made in China (Parkside, SF) has sections of the menu titled "Shenyang Tasty BBQ," "Dongbei Classic Dishes,""Northeast tasty hotspicy," and "Northeast tasty dishes."

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: soupçon

                                                                                        Thanks!! It looks like I misspelled the name in the original post.

                                                                                        Of the dongbei places in San Francisco, that is the only one that has corn cakes.

                                                                                        1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                          Were they corn or millet cakes (窩窩頭)? I have a brother-in-law who was "sent down" to Heilongjiang from Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution and much of the time had little else to eat but "wo wo tou" where he was (Xunke). Now he cannot stand the sight of them. I think there are a lot of bad associations with these millet cakes, although Zhou Enlai made a great show of pretending to be fond of them.

                                                                                    1. These fell through the cracks. Please let me know if I've miscategorized anything!

                                                                                      Chef Yu / Hunan Gourmet (Sunnyvale, Hunan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2435...

                                                                                      Chili Garden Restaurant (Milpitas, Hunan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/23033

                                                                                      Chili Palace (milpitas, hunan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619427

                                                                                      Golden Garlic (san jose, Tianjin) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/974044

                                                                                      Liou's House (Milpitas, Taiwan and Shanghai)

                                                                                      Shanghai Garden (Cupertino, Shanghai)

                                                                                      Soong Soong Restaurant (San Jose, marquis name translates to "North and South Famous Dishes" ) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827449

                                                                                      Spicy Town (Fremont, Sichuan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/492859

                                                                                      Su Hong (Palo Alto, Shanghai & knife shaved noodles)

                                                                                      ======

                                                                                      and two places KK has written about as Sichuan/Taiwanese "military dependent's village cuisine" :

                                                                                      Liang's Village Cuisine (Cupertino) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7523...

                                                                                      Trend Restaurant (Mountain View) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712585

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                        Trend Restaurant has closed and is now Chef Zhao's.

                                                                                      2. Dragon Garden (Cupertino, Sichuan)
                                                                                        Happy Sichuan Restaurant (Millbrae, Sichuan)
                                                                                        Happy Cafe (San Mateo, Shanghai)

                                                                                        Hot pot is served at restaurants serving various Chinese cuisine's. Where does little sheep, both in terms of its appetizers and it's style of hot pot, fit in?

                                                                                        Little sheep hot pot (Cupertino, Union City, San Francisco tenderloin, San Mateo)

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                            "Little sheep hot pot (Cupertino, Union City, San Francisco tenderloin, San Mateo)"

                                                                                            And pending in Mountain View (for several months -- 102 Castro St. -- extensive remodeling underway).

                                                                                            I just noticed (thanks to Melanie's links) that Little Sheep is part of Yum! Brands now. (Biggest fast-food conglomerate in the known universe: Pizza Hut, KFC, etc.)

                                                                                              1. Has anyone noticed any of the Shanghai places leaning more toward Jiangsu or Zhejiang, or know of a chef coming from one of these areas? I would expect this to be a subtle thing, but just curious.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                  I don't know where their chefs are from (and the menu speaks to both regions), but Bund Shanghai appears to do Zhejiang dishes better than Jiangsu. Their Su Dongpo pork is spectacular, for example (try the $5 sampler portion), while my Wuxiren wife makes much better "Lion's Head" meatballs. Likewise, Bund Shanghai's you mianjin dishes fall flat (pardon the pun).

                                                                                                2. Some new info:

                                                                                                  Town of dumpling and I – skewers are closed.

                                                                                                  Two Tibetan places:
                                                                                                  Nomad Tibetan (Berkeley)
                                                                                                  Yongewa Kitchen (Cotati, Sonoma County)

                                                                                                  There are Shaanxi dishes at Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                  Spicy Legend (SF Outer Richmond, a Sichuan restaurant, but chef from Henan)
                                                                                                  Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino, So-Cal chain with founder from Liaoning)
                                                                                                  Panda dumplings owner is from Shanghai

                                                                                                  Later in the week I will incorporate everyone's comments into a revised post that I'll add to this thread. Please let me know if there is anything else you can think of before I do that. Once I get comments on that, I'll create a new post of version 2.0 that will stay up until summer of 2015

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                    I read on yelp that Town of Dumpling is remodeling and is only temporarily closed. should open in about 2 weeks.

                                                                                                    1. re: elise h

                                                                                                      Hope you're right about it being a temporary closure... The last couple of times I've been there, they were very busy and we enjoyed the dumplings, tendon & pig ears.

                                                                                                      1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                                                        I just called and they said the remodel will take another 2 weeks. That would be around Sept 4. But call before to ensure they are open.

                                                                                                  2. Update time. After I get comments, I'm gonna create a Version 2.0 thread so no one gets confused by the discussions of closed down places, etc.

                                                                                                    == SHANXI AND SHAANXI ==

                                                                                                    = Shaanxi / Xi'an (all have hand-pulled noodles, rou jia mo, and liang pi) =
                                                                                                    OK Noodle (Newark)
                                                                                                    QQ Noodle (Milpitas, Cupertino)(no liang pi)
                                                                                                    Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Terra Cotta Warrior (SF Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    Thousand Tasty (Milpitas, Shaanxi)
                                                                                                    Xi'an Gourmet (SF Richmond)

                                                                                                    = Shaanxi biang biang noodles =
                                                                                                    Imperial Tea Court (Berkeley)

                                                                                                    =Shaanxi scissor cut noodles=
                                                                                                    M.Y. China (SF Union Square)

                                                                                                    = Shanxi knife shaved noodles =
                                                                                                    Ancient Sichuan (El Cerrito)
                                                                                                    Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Five Joy (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Sichuan Fusion (Richmond)

                                                                                                    == TIBET ==
                                                                                                    Cafe Tibet (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Nomad Tibetan (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Tashi Delek (El Cerrito)
                                                                                                    Yongewa Kitchen (Cotati, Sonoma County)

                                                                                                    == NORTHWEST / UIGHUR / XINJIANG ==

                                                                                                    Some dishes available at:
                                                                                                    OK Noodle (Newark)
                                                                                                    Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Terra Cotta Warrior (SF Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    Xi'an Gourmet (SF Inner Richmond)

                                                                                                    = Langzhou hand-pulled noodles =
                                                                                                    Ark Restaurant (Alameda)
                                                                                                    M.Y. China (SF Union Square)

                                                                                                    = Lagman hand-pulled noodles / Xinjiang Ban Mian =
                                                                                                    Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    House of Pancakes (SF Parkside)

                                                                                                    == NORTHERN ==

                                                                                                    = Beijing =
                                                                                                    Beijing Duck House (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Beijing Restaurant (SF Excelsior)
                                                                                                    Everyday Beijing (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    House of Pancakes (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Taste Good Beijing Cuisine (Milpitas)

                                                                                                    = Islamic Chinese =
                                                                                                    Chinjin Eastern House (West San Jose)
                                                                                                    Darda (Fremont, Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Ma's (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Old Mandarin (SF Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    Shinjin (San Jose)

                                                                                                    = Hebei (maybe) =
                                                                                                    Yi Yuan (Millbrae, a Sichuan restaurant, but chef from Hebei)

                                                                                                    = Henan (maybe) =
                                                                                                    Spicy Legend (SF Outer Richmond, a Sichuan restaurant, but chef from Henan)

                                                                                                    = Tianjin =
                                                                                                    Golden Garlic (San Jose)
                                                                                                    House of Dumplings (Union City)
                                                                                                    Tianjin Dumpling (Oakland, Chinatown)

                                                                                                    = Other Northern and Jiaozi (could be Shandong, Dongbei, Beijing, etc. ) =
                                                                                                    North China Dumpling (Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    Dumpling Empire (South San Francisco)
                                                                                                    iDumpling (Redwood City)
                                                                                                    House of Xian Dumpling (SF Chinatown)
                                                                                                    King of Noodle (SF Inner Sunset)
                                                                                                    Kingdom of Dumpling (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino, So-Cal chain with owner from Liaoning)
                                                                                                    Panda Dumpling (San Carlos, Redwood City)
                                                                                                    Tianjin Dumpling (Oakland, Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Town of Dumpling (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Xian Gourmet (SF Inner Richmond, dumpling maker is from Shandong)
                                                                                                    Xiao Long Bao (SF Inner Richmond)

                                                                                                    = House made bing =

                                                                                                    see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892914
                                                                                                    Beijing Restaurant (SF Excelsior
                                                                                                    )House of Pancakes (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino)

                                                                                                    == SHANDONG ==
                                                                                                    (Shandong owner and/or food, with no direct nod to Korea)

                                                                                                    Ark Chinese Restaurant (Alameda)
                                                                                                    China Village (Berkeley, owner of Shandong heritage, Shandong dishes mainly by special order)
                                                                                                    Great China (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Hung’s Kitchen (San Ramon)
                                                                                                    Palace Chef (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Shandong Deluxe (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Shandong Restaurant (Oakland, Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Tong Dumpling (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Tsing Tao (Campbell)
                                                                                                    Xian Gourmet (SF Inner Richmond, dumpling maker is from Shandong)

                                                                                                    == SHANDONG &/or CHINESE KOREAN ==
                                                                                                    (Shandong dishes with Hangul on the menu. All have black zha jiang mian)

                                                                                                    Chef Wang (Millbrae)
                                                                                                    Chef Yu (Oakland, Temescal)
                                                                                                    China Way (Santa Clara)
                                                                                                    Koryo Jajang (Oakland, Temescal)
                                                                                                    Nak Kung (Santa Clara)
                                                                                                    San Tung (SF Inner Sunset)
                                                                                                    San Wang (SF Japantown)
                                                                                                    Tong Soon Garden (Santa Clara)
                                                                                                    Yu Yu Restaurant (Dublin)
                                                                                                    Zazang Korean Noodle (SF Pacific Heights)

                                                                                                    == NORTHEAST / DONGBEI ==
                                                                                                    Bamboo Garden (Mountain View)
                                                                                                    Chef Xiu (Mountain View)
                                                                                                    Dongei Mama (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Guan Dong House (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Little Shen Yang (Union City)

                                                                                                    = Inner Mongolia =
                                                                                                    Little Sheep Hot Pot (Cupertino, Union City, SF Tenderloin, San Mateo)

                                                                                                    = Liaoning (maybe) =
                                                                                                    Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino, So-Cal chain with founder from Liaoning)
                                                                                                    Sungari Dumpling (SF Excelsior, chef from Liaoning)

                                                                                                    = Shenyang =
                                                                                                    Made in China (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    North China Dumpling (SF Outer Sunset, dumpling maker and/or owner from Shenyang)

                                                                                                    == SHANGHAI / JIANGSU / ZHEJIANG ==
                                                                                                    Bamboo Garden (Mountain View)
                                                                                                    Bund Shanghai (SF Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Dumpling Kitchen (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Happy Cafe (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Jai Yun (SF Chinatown; the chef is from Nanjing and only offers a multi-course menu)
                                                                                                    Lily's House (Lafayette)
                                                                                                    Liou's House (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Little Shanghai (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Lulu's Kitchen (Concord)
                                                                                                    Melin House (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    North China (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Old Shanghai (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Panda Dumpling (San Carlos, Redwood City, Shanghainese chef with a few items)
                                                                                                    Rice Valley (SF Sunnyside)
                                                                                                    Sha Bistro (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Bistro (Millbrae)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Delight (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Dim Sum (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Ding Sheng Restaurant (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Dumpling King (SF Outer Richmond and Sunnyside)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Dumpling Shop (Millbrae) / Xiao Long Bao Kitchen (South San Francisco)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Dumpling (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Family Restaurant (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Flavor (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Flavor Shop (Sunnyvale)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Garden (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Shanghai House (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Restaurant (Oakland, Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Shanghai Winter Garden (Millbrae)
                                                                                                    Su Hong (Palo Alto, Shanghai & knife shaved noodles)
                                                                                                    Top Noodle (Milpitas)

                                                                                                    == SICHUAN (SICHUAN and CHONGQING) ==
                                                                                                    Ancient Szechuan (El Cerrito)
                                                                                                    Chef Ma (San Jose, chef from Chengdu)
                                                                                                    Chengdu Style Restaurant (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Chef Zhao Bistro (Mountain View)
                                                                                                    China Village (Albany)
                                                                                                    Da Sichuan (Palo Alto)
                                                                                                    Dongbei Mama (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Dragon Garden (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Fey Restaurant (Menlo Park)
                                                                                                    Grand Hot Pot Lounge (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Happy Sichuan Restaurant (Millbrae)
                                                                                                    Little Sichuan (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Little Sichuan Restaurant (Newark)
                                                                                                    Little Szechuan (SF North Beach)
                                                                                                    Mandarin Garden (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Mama Ji's (SF Castro)
                                                                                                    Mandarin Gourmet (Palo Alto, chef from Chengdu)
                                                                                                    Pepper Bros (Newark)
                                                                                                    Sichuan Chong Qing Cuisine (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Sichuan Fortune House (Pleasant Hill)
                                                                                                    Sichuan Fusion (Richmond)
                                                                                                    Sichuan Home (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Sichuan House (Walnut Creek)
                                                                                                    South Legend Sichuan Restaurant (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Spicy Empire (San Mateo) / Spicy King (SF Chinatown) / Szechuan Cuisine Uncle Cafe (SF Chinatown) / Newark Cafe (Newark)
                                                                                                    Spicy Legend (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Spicy Town (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Yi Ping ( San Ramon)
                                                                                                    Yi Yuan (Millbrae)
                                                                                                    Z&Y (SF Chinatown) / Chili House (SF Inner Richmond)

                                                                                                    = Taiwanese Sichuan =
                                                                                                    Spices / Spices II (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Spices Fremont (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Spices III (Oakland Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Spices IV (Foster City)

                                                                                                    == HUNAN ==
                                                                                                    Chef Yu / Hunan Gourmet (Sunnyvale)
                                                                                                    Chili Garden Restaurant (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Chili Palace (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Henry Hunan (SF chain/institution with a few Hunan dishes/ham, but mostly Chinese American stir-fries)
                                                                                                    Made in China (SF Parkside)
                                                                                                    Shao Mountain (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Wonderful (Millbrae)

                                                                                                    == GUANXI ==
                                                                                                    Guilin Noodles (Oakland, Chinatown)

                                                                                                    == CANTONESE subsets ==
                                                                                                    See KK's Regional Cantonese primer at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8102... . Some scattered Shunde and Zhongshan Cantonese dishes in Millbrae at Gourmet Village, The Kitchen, and Champagne restaurant (San Mateo/Millbrae).

                                                                                                    = Chiuchow / Chaozhou / Teo Chow / Chinjiew =
                                                                                                    Menkee Wonton (SF Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    Teo Chew Noodle Shack (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Ying Kee (Oakland Chinatown)

                                                                                                    = Chaozhou / Vietnamese =
                                                                                                    Hai Ky Mi Gia (SF Tenderloin)
                                                                                                    Lam Hoa Than (SF Outer Sunset)
                                                                                                    San Sun (SF Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia (SF Outer Sunset
                                                                                                    )Thanh Ky (Oakland Eastlake)
                                                                                                    VH Noodle (Richmond)
                                                                                                    Vien Huong (Oakland Chinatown)

                                                                                                    = Hakka =
                                                                                                    Dragon river (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Hakka Restaurant (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Ton Kiang (SF Outer Richmond)

                                                                                                    = Macanese =
                                                                                                    T 28 (SF Parkside)

                                                                                                    = Shunde =
                                                                                                    Jade Garden (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Yum's Bistro (Fremont)

                                                                                                    = Zhong Shan =
                                                                                                    Zhong Shan Restaurant (SF Parkside)

                                                                                                    == TAIWANESE =
                                                                                                    Ai Noodle (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    China Bee (San Mateo, Taiwanese)
                                                                                                    Dragon Gate (Oakland Jack London Square)
                                                                                                    Five Happiness (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Grand Harbor (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Joy Restaurant (San Mateo)
                                                                                                    Liou's House Chinese Restaurant (Milpitas)
                                                                                                    Mama Chef (Santa Clara)
                                                                                                    Mama Chen's Kitchen (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Southland Flavor Cafe (Cupertino)
                                                                                                    Taste of Formosa (SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Taiwan Café (Milpitas)

                                                                                                    = Sichuan/Taiwanese "military dependent's village cuisine" =
                                                                                                    (See for reference this closed place http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712585

                                                                                                    )

                                                                                                    Liang's Village Cuisine (Cupertino)

                                                                                                    = Taiwanese Sichuan =
                                                                                                    Spices / Spices II (SF Inner Richmond)
                                                                                                    Spices Fremont (Fremont)
                                                                                                    Spices III (Oakland)
                                                                                                    Spives IV (Foster City)

                                                                                                    == OTHER ==

                                                                                                    == Chinese Vegetarian (notables) ==
                                                                                                    Jai Yun (SF Chinatown; the chef is from Nanjing and only offers a multi-course menu)
                                                                                                    Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant (Ukiah, associated with Buddhist temple)
                                                                                                    Sogo Tofu (San Jose, Taiwanese vegetarian, tons of freshly made take out items)

                                                                                                    == Chinese Vegetarian ==
                                                                                                    Enjoy Vegetarian (SF Chinatown; SF Inner Sunset; SF Outer Richmond)
                                                                                                    Garden Fresh (Palo Alto, Mountain View)
                                                                                                    Long Life Vegi House (Berkeley)
                                                                                                    Loving Hut (Oakland Chinatown; SF Chinatown)
                                                                                                    Lucky Creation (SF Chinatown; lots of take out gluten items by the pound-- great for a picnic)
                                                                                                    Royal Greens Vegetarian (San Jose)
                                                                                                    Shangri-La restaurant (SF Outer Sunset)

                                                                                                    == Indian Chinese =
                                                                                                    Red Hot Chilli Pepper (San Carlos)
                                                                                                    Spice Kitchen (Newark)
                                                                                                    Wang's Kitchen (Milpitas)

                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                      excellent. just to be clear on nomenclature, 'regional' in this context means non-Guangdong regions, unless specified as ethnic or prefecture (Zhong Shan) subsets as you have noted. in case general readers aren't aware, one of the places in the fairly exclusive Tianjin category, Tianjin Dumpling on Franklin St. in Oakland, is not a restaurant or cafe but a take out shed with limited daytime hours.

                                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                                        Thanks, I'll add a comment about Tianjin Dumpling. I think that's the only place on the list that isn't a full-service restaurant.

                                                                                                        Would it be worth calling the thread instead "Non-Cantonese Chinese round-up" and keeping the ethnic & prefecture sections in anyway? The subtleties of Cantonese cuisine are way out of my league, so I'm open to whatever makes sense.

                                                                                                      2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                        You got Happy Sichuan in Millbrae, which is in the same location as the now closed Shanghai Bistro, so the latter can be taken off the list.

                                                                                                        1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                          Great list!

                                                                                                          Minor corrections:
                                                                                                          - It's "China North Dumpling" not "North China Dumpling."
                                                                                                          - North China is Outer, not Inner, Richmond.
                                                                                                          - Did you miss out Taishanese among the Cantonese subsets? Clay Pot House (the reincarnation of Taishan Cafe). Also, someone from Taishan told me that China First is Taishanese, or at least that they have Taishan dishes. I wouldn't really know, but she's from Taishan FOB.

                                                                                                          1. re: davidg1

                                                                                                            I think we're on a slippery slope here when when we identify restaurants as "Taishanese." Historically Taishan has been the origin of the bulk of Chinese emigrants to San Francisco and perhaps hundreds of restaurants in the Bay area have owners or chefs who are "Taishanese." We seem to be peeling off so many layers of "regional" Chinese cuisine that there will be nothing left.

                                                                                                            I have similar reservations about Shunde, though its inclusion may be more debatable. Shunde is known for the skill of its chefs, who are highly recruited. If there is such a thing as a Shunde cuisine, it probably has worked its way into the fabric of numerous Cantonese restaurants.

                                                                                                            I think it would make sense to have a separate discussion parsing the cuisines of Guangdong (i.e. "Canton" province) and consider either all of Guangdong cuisine (which would include Chaozhou and Zhongshan, for esample) or the cuisines of Sze Yup + Sam Yup + Guangzhou as "core" (i.e. non-regional) in the SF Bay Area.

                                                                                                            1. re: soupçon

                                                                                                              "Historically Taishan has been the origin of the bulk of Chinese emigrants to San Francisco."

                                                                                                              This statement is true, in that Taishan was once the origin of the majority of Chinese immigrants to SF, but that was long ago. Before the huge wave of immigrants who arrived from the New Territories (and all over Guangdong via Hong Kong) in the 1960s. That pretty much ended the predominance of Taishanese (and Sze Yup)culture in SF, and it's 50 years ago at this point.

                                                                                                              I very much doubt that there are hundreds of restaurants that a person arriving here from Taishan today would recognize, and describe, as Taishanese.

                                                                                                              1. re: davidg1

                                                                                                                Be that as it may, Chinese menus are notoriously conservative. They are additive, and hardly ever subtractive, and there is a continuum in Chinese food in terms of ingredients and dishes. Much of what I was eating in Chinese restaurants in San Francisco more than 50 years ago is still available today.

                                                                                                                I honestly have no idea of what constitutes Taishanese food, do you? What is specifically Taishanese about China First? Is it something that old line restaurants like Four Seas or Capital don't have?

                                                                                                                My point remains that if we are going to define "regional" Chinese food as "other than Cantonese" we have to draw the line somewhere.

                                                                                                                1. re: soupçon

                                                                                                                  I don't know what constitutes Taishanese food, although I'm told they use a lot of fish sauce (in addition to soy sauce and oyster sauce). And I have no idea what's Taishanese about China First - although I'm inclined to trust that someone recently-arrived from Taishan would know what they're talking about.

                                                                                                                  But I do agree with you about drawing the line.

                                                                                                          2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                            Are not Taiwan Restaurant (S.F. Richmond) and Taiwan Restaurant (Berkeley) Taiwanese enough for the Taiwan Category?

                                                                                                            1. re: soupçon

                                                                                                              Dragon Gate (border of J.London and the warehouse district, oaktown) seemed rather Taiwan-esy to me.

                                                                                                              1. re: moto

                                                                                                                Yes, definitely. Didn't notice he missed that one. Luke Tsai (who is Taiwanese himself) found it VERY Taiwanese. And good, too.

                                                                                                                1. re: soupçon

                                                                                                                  Heh, how did I miss Taiwan Restaurant (S.F. Richmond) and Taiwan Restaurant (Berkeley)? (I got Dragon Gate though :-) )

                                                                                                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                    Talk about venerable -- Berkeley's Taiwan predates most of the town's other restaurants (including most of the current Gourmet Ghetto), and likely is older than most of its customers too. Amazingly it's apparently still going strong, given heavy restaurant turnover around there.

                                                                                                                    How many other Bay Area restaurants can boast "same chef since 1972?" http://www.taiwanrestaurant.com/

                                                                                                            2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                              Also, I thing you are reaching a bit by second-guessing a restaurant's cuisine from the chef's origin. The chef at Z&Y, for example, is from Beijing, but you wouldn't put Z&Y in the Beijing category.

                                                                                                              1. re: soupçon

                                                                                                                That's a good point. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone. I'll keep places under the general categories unless there's evidence otherwise (e.g., Sungari has some dishes associated with Liaoning so it'll go there, but in my limited undersanding anyway, I don't see anything from Liaoning at Michelle's pancake so I'll categorize them under general Dongbei).

                                                                                                                I'll get rid of the wishful thinking categories (e.g., "Hebei maybe"). For Yi Yuan, I'll put it under "Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles" with a note about chef from Hebei, and I'll put it under Sichuan as well with no note since that doesn't say anything about Sichuan food.

                                                                                                              2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                Further to soup's point, we've had several restaurants in lower Peninsula whose titular cuisine contrasted with chef's background (e.g. two former, very creditable, places near me, for some reason, billed themselves Shanghainese and Hunanese, despite both having able chefs from Sichuan, and despite being known among regulars for outstanding Sichuanese specialties. A different case is the Penininsula Chinese restaurant best-known of all among non-Chinese diners since the 1960s, which has a chef born in Sichuan -- Chef Chu's -- but does not specialize in Sichuanese food by any means).

                                                                                                                Among "openly" Sichuanese restaurants, Chef Zhao Bistro (besides having slipped in alphabetization in the list), also has a chef from Chengdu (since you are mentioning that point for Chef Ma); moreover, the restaurant makes a point of mentioning that he was an instructor at a cooking school there. Maybe he taught Fuchsia Dunlop. . .

                                                                                                                1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                  Right, and the big caveat is that even if a chef is from the place where they specialize, specializing in a cuisine doesn't mean the chef is good at all dishes (or any). For example, I'd prefer to go to Cantonese Yank Sing and M.Y. China for xiao long bao than most Shanghainese places.

                                                                                                                2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                  I notice Palo Alto's venerable Jing-Jing absent from the Sichuan category. I recall authentic Sichuanese specialties there in past visits.

                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                    I remember having a good meal there a decade ago.

                                                                                                                    Looking over the online menu, I don't see any dishes you couldn't find at non-Sichuan restaurants these days. I think we could be more lenient on variations that are less common then Sichuan, but based on a quick look at their menu, I think putting them on the list would open the floodgates for dozens more.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                      I mention Jing-Jing because it was orignally introduced to me by Chinese-born co-workers as Sichuanese and because it calls itself a "Szechwan-Hunan" restaurant. I have not eaten there in some time, and do not have deep knowledge of the place. It does have a long reputation as where to go for spicy Chinese food in Palo Alto.

                                                                                                                      I'll caution you though on a broader point of inferring regionality from posted menu. Besides the usual factor of Chinese restaurants' English-language menus reflecting the clichéed sub-set of their actual repertoire that the mainstream anglophone market will "like" (including the Americanized-Chinese dish group), the measure of a purported Sichuanese kitchen isn't that it lists twice-cooked pork, ma po tofu, and dàn dàn miàn (since many other Chinese restaurants list those dishes too, nowadays), but how they're made and how they taste -- things you can't discern by reading. (That was how I spotted the presence of Sichuanese-trained chefs in the two Chinese restaurants I mentioned earlier that named themselves for other regions.)