Friday, October 4, 2013
Hot Day Treat: Refreshing Fenpi from House of Xian Dumpling
The temperature was pushing 75° F at lunchtime and I declared it a heat wave (not really a stretch, for San Francisco) and an excuse to revisit the newly-opened House of Xian Dumpling and try out a cold noodle offering from their menu.
wheat starch noodles used by Xi'an Gourmet, House of Xian Dumpling's are made from mung bean starch. In either case, a chilled jelly-like sheet is cut into wide strips, forming tender translucent noodles and tossed with a savory "dressing." At House of Xian Dumpling, the dressing includes julienned cucumbers and peanuts in a vinegary, peppery sauce with a hint of sweetness. The sauce seemed nicely balanced, though I added a little chili oil to bring it up to my preferred level of chili heat. Together with the cool, slithery noodles (less chewy than wheat starch noodles) and cucumber shreds, my plate of liang pi made for a nicely refreshing hot-weather treat I would gladly repeat.
If I have one misgiving about House of Xian Dumpling's "Wide Bean Noodle Salad" it would be that it seems overpriced, relatively speaking. Virtually everything on the restaurant's menu is $5.95, $6.95 or $7.95, with $6.95 being the mode. The dish (listed as an appetizer) is priced at $6.95, the same as the much larger and more substantial bowls of hand-made noodle soups with their generous protein components. (To be honest, one could also argue that the liang pi was fairly priced, and the noodle soups underpriced.)
Speaking of which, I've yet to try the dumplings at House of Xian Dumpling, in deference to my noodle-centric blogging pursuits, but will get around to that, especially since they are in the neighborhood. And though I'm enamored of Xi'an's noodle culture, I'm well aware of the city's claim to fame as the originator of the dumplings known as shui jiao, of which I've downed more than my fair share.
Where slurped: Xi'an House of Dumpling [apostrophe mine], 925 Kearny St., San Francisco