Sungari Dumpling house -- Northeastern chinese in Excelsior (SF)
I caught a tip on Tablehopper about Sun Gari, a Chinese restaurant in Excelsior with a chef from Dongbei (i.e., the provinces in Northeastern China).
The name references the Songua River in Northeast China. The menu sports boiled dumplings, hand cut noodles (not hand pulled), clay pot items, cold appetizers, lots of vegetarian/tofu dishes, some Chinese American things, and the specialties below. I may have misunderstood, but I think the woman behind the counter said the chef is from Liaoning province, but not the capital Shenyang.
They indicated that the menu's English translations needed help, so I played amateur translator and used Pleco to help them with some editing for their next revision. I'm not familiar with a lot of these dishes, but here's a stab at translating their list of specialties:
K01 泡椒鳳爪 Pickled chile chicken feet
K02 蒜苗紅豆腐 Garlic greens red bean curd
K03 北方炸茄盒 Northern fried eggplant box
K04 北方溜肥腸 Northern sauteed intestines
K05 豆豉燒肥腸 Black bean stewed intestines
K06 醬爆泥鳅 Sauce fried loach
K07 酸菜炒腰片Sauerkraut fried kidney slices
K08 椒鹽腰塊 Salt and pepper kidney pieces
K09 乾蒸雞翅 Dry steamed chicken wings
K10 椒鹽鷄翅 Salt and pepper chicken wings
K11 漂香鷄翅 Piao chang chicken wings
K12涼瓜排骨 Bitter melon ribs
K13椒鹽排健 Salt and pepper ribs
K14北方溜排骨 Northern ribs
K15 孜然掌肉／半肉 Cumin lamb/beef
K16 葱爆眷肉／半肉 Scallions lamb /beef
K17 沙茶羊肉／半肉 Shacha lamb/beef
K18 北方鍋包肉 Northern pot package of meat
K19 北方糖醋肉段 Northern sweet and sour pork
K20 北方紅燒肉 Northern red braised pork
K21 蒜苗回鍋肉 Garlic greens twice cooked pork
K22 花溪牛肉乾 Huaxi beef jerky (Huaxi is a city in Jiangsu, not Dongbei)
K23 火爆腰花（雙花）Kidney flower
K24紅燒席眼獅子頭 Red braised tiger dress lion's head meatball
K25老湯毛血堆 Mao Xue Wang (blood soup)
K26私房紅燜鴨 Red braised duck
K27紅燒蹄筋 Red braised tendon
Northeastern specialities seem to be noted elsewhere on the menu with the English word "North" in them.
I don't know my way around a Northeast menu, so I got three unfamiliar dishes and Shanghai noodles to play it safe:
E07 Shanghai handmade noodles : These thick hand cut noodles were smooth. Their texture is closer to the thick and wide fresh fettuccine/tagliatelle ideal for soups. The noodles themselves were pretty good, but these are not the rougher surface, taller, and chewier textured udon-like noodles.
H08 North great harvest (literally bumper crop) : Lettuce, red radishes, and cucumber spears with a thick umami and salt heavy pork and egg sheet (maybe tofu skin) dip. Nice appetizer for a large group. Anyone know more about this dish?
K03 North fried eggplant box: deep-fried sandwich of eggplant with a center of ground pork, coated in a heavy tempura-like batter. The batter is seasoned with salt and black pepper.
K18 北方鍋包肉 Northern pot package of meat: scored boneless slices of pork deep fried and tossed with sweet and sour sauce.
It's located on Mission across from Goldilocks Bakery and Pissed off Pete's.
4543 Mission St, 94112
Except for two people getting take out, I was the only one in there so service was fine :-) They've been open for a week and the one server hung out in the dining area the whole time.
Yeah, those are a mixture of their and my translations, so that's why there's no cultural/culinary context or floweriness --- I hope they can get someone good to finish translating their menu b/c the person they hired, to their chagrin, clearly used google translate.
Great!! I was tempted to post the tablehopper tip even though I knew I wouldn't make it to the Excelsior for a few weeks.
Curious, could you tell if the red in the great harvest dish came from tomato, chili, or both? Though geographically distant, the picture of fresh vegetables could convince me that this was some sort of Lao/Thai jeow/jaew.
The dip looks a bit reddish in the photo, but it didn't have any heat and was fully brown. The base is some kind of fermented soy product-the taste reminded me mostly of Chinese style zha jiang mian (yellow soybean paste?) and a bit of white fermented bean curd.
The dish is called Běifāng dà fēngshōu 北方大豐收 (Northern large bumper harvest). I'm certain I've seen something that translated to "bumper harvest" recently so another Bay Area restaurant may have this too.
The bulk of dishes from the "Specialties" section of the menu I listed above can be found elsewhere, at least by name, so I'll look at some other Dongbei menus over the weekend to see what dishes here might be unique. Based on some travel resources referencing Northeastern China, "I04 chicken cooked mushrooms" (Xiaoji dun mogu ) should be a specialty.