Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Xinjiang Ban Mian at Shandong Deluxe for my Birthday Noodles

This lunch made for the third bowl of noodles in three days, counting the main course at Azalina's Jardiniere popup on Monday night. But heck, it was my birthday and I LURVES me some long life! Besides, I've been aching to get back to Shandong Deluxe to try out the two Xinjiang items on the menu, and with my wife away in Shanghai I wasn't about to tackle a whole "big plate chicken" for lunch by myself.

Yes, there are noodles under there
The server smiled broadly when I confidently ordered "Xinjiang Ban Mian" in my best Mandarin. "Lamb or beef?" she asked, and I opted for lamb. I actually had no expectation for what would arrive at my table; Googling (and Baidu-ing) the dish taught me that the term covered a lot of bases, and I had only one prior experience with lagman (another term for Xinjiang ban mian) at Cafe Kashkar in Brighton Beach. I guessed I would  be getting a dry (i.e. not in soup) noodle dish smothered in a meat and vegetable topping that was colorful, flavorful and spicy. When the dish arrived, I was stunned by the mere size of it.  It was easily enough for two.  It turned out to be just about what I imagined, except for the spiciness, or lack thereof. It was topped primarily with stir-fried lamb pieces, tomatoes, celery, and mushrooms.  Any spicing was done subtly, with most of the flavor being derived from the natural flavors of the toppings, which made it tomato-ey above all. I wished for some dry pepper flakes to dust it with to provide a little heat, but none were available; other than the lack of spiciness, I found it tasty enough that I managed to consume the whole platter in spite of myself.

On both occasions I have been to Shandong Deluxe a pleasant woman sat at a work table at the back busily making jiaozi the whole time. Given that this is a Shandong establishment (at least in name) It's imperative that I return to try them.  On my way out I asked my server (whose name turned out to be Jenny) if the jiaozi were good. "Very good," she said.

I'm willing to believe her.

Where slurped: Shandong Deluxe, 1042 Taraval Street, San Francisco

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary! I saw your post on Shandong Deluxe on Chowhound and went there tonight to try. We got the exact same noodles, lamb, except I ordered in English since I don't speak Mandarin (Cantonese speaker!) :) Just wanted to say thanks for posting about them! I really enjoyed the noodles and the steamed dumplings I got (though I had expected pan fried, like a table near us had ordered). We will definitely be going back to try all the other mysterious dishes.


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