NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS - I am not currently doing noodle restaurant visit reports, but focusing on diving more deeply into noodle research, so this blog will be updated less frequently. For the latest Asian noodle news, and features from external sources, follow
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I've established a personal tradition of having duck for my fowl of choice on Thanksgiving, and with the jury (of Shanghainese in-laws) still out on dinner plans, I decided to get a leg up at lunchtime with a trip to Hai Ky Mi Gia.
in an official blogger capacity for the mee pok, is a Chaozhou Chinese (by way of Vietnam) establishment in the Tenderloin that ranks up there with Chinatown's San Sun as one of the great bargain dedicated Asian noodleries of San Francisco. More than any other eating establishment in town, it is associated with duck legs. Though only three of the 31 soups on HKMG's menu feature a braised duck leg, nearly 60 percent (29) of the last 50 Yelpers to review it mention having (or having had) one of them. Hai Ky Mi Gia is a hole-in-the-wall-and-a-half is size and is always busy, so that adds up to a lot of duck legs. You can get the braised duck leg with wontons and noodles, ho fun noodles, or egg noodles (choice of thick or thin). You can also get a duck leg on the side, in case you want a two-legged bowl of noodles.
I hadn't bothered to check if HKMG was even open on Thanksgiving Day, but was guessing that they were. At it turned out, they were open for lunch but closing at 3:00, as were some others of their Larkin St. noodle neighbors. When I arrived at 1:30, the restaurant was packed, and I had a short wait before I was given a seat at a communal 6-top.
It took about 10 minutes for my bowl of noodles to arrive, accompanied by a small saucer of carrot shreds and cucumber slices. After tasting the broth, I added a little chili oil and a couple of squirts of what I think was oyster sauce from an unmarked mystery squeeze bottle. I eschewed the carrot shreds and chewed the cucumber slices, but declined to add either to the bowl, which was adorned well enough with my favorite rabbit food, cilantro.
Where slurped: Hai Ky Mi Gia, 707 Ellis St; at Larkin St., San Francisco
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The color of the Burmese noodle soup called Ohn No Khao Swe comes from turmeric, not saffron, but eating it at Sapphire Asian Cuisine today had the 1966 Donovan hit playing in my head (where it's still playing as I write). I've blogged previously about Sapphire Asian Cuisine, the Chinese food steam table joint with a separate menu of made-to-order authentic Burmese food as a seeming afterthought, and of Ohn No Khao Swe, the dish that by all measures should be ranked a close second to mohinga, the catfish chowder considered Burma's national dish.
Here's a video lesson on making Ohn No Khao Swe, taught by none other than Yadana Nat Mai, alias June Bellamy, last princess of Burma:
[Added 24 November]
Another video lesson for making Ohn No Khao Swe from the younger generation, in the person of London blogger/author MiMi (@Meemalee on Twitter) and a favorite resource for Burmese food knowledge:
Thursday, November 14, 2013
That mi tek tek is a street food above all is evidenced by its very name. While "mie" simply means noodles, referring to the yellow egg noodles always used, the "tek tek" refers to the sound of itinerant street vendors tapping their woks with their spatulas to announce their arrival. There are two types of mie tek tek: mie tek tek goreng, meaning "fried" (think chow mein) and mie tek tek kuah, meaning "in soup."
At The Lime Tree, You have the option of ordering your soup mild or spicy, though "spicy," as I ordered it, means "not very." There are no condiments on the tables, so it's advisable to put in a request when you order for "extra spicy" if that's what fuels your boat. The not-too-spicy broth came with a copious amount of yellow ramen-like egg noodles, topped with shredded chicken, tomatoes, fried shallots, pickles and crunchy cabbage that I could detect. The noodles were nicely chewy, the topping were a nice mix of textures from sost and tender to crunchy, and overall it was a comforting, belly-pleasing bowl, lack of chili assertiveness notwithstanding.
|Mi tek tek goreng from Sataysfied|
Where slurped: The Lime Tree, 450 Irving St., San Francisco
Sunday, November 10, 2013
I hadn't had a bowl of noodles, not even home-cooked, for nearly a week and so my internal GPS directed my feet toward House of Xian Dumpling, even though it wasn't lunch or dinner time. My choice this time was Braised Beef Noodle Soup, with "hand-pulled flat noodle," i.e. biang biang style, if you will.
In my first post about this restaurant, I remarked that much of the ambitious menu seemed to be under construction. The proprietress, who must have seen my blog post, made a point of telling me that most of the menu is now available. As this would include the likes of xiao long bao, shengjian bao and xian doujiang, I can see myself returning frequently (but always reserving room in my belly for hand-pulled noodles).
Where slurped: House of Xian Dumpling, 925 Kearny St., San Francisco
Monday, November 4, 2013
"The concept is quite similar to Panda Express yet the food isn't even a tenth of Panda's taste and is instead 3/2 the greasy fattiness. Again, I love greasy fattiness but I love it only when it tastes amazing! Usually greasy fattiness and delicious taste tend to go hand in hand (it's one of those culinary unfairnesses) but it was quite far off here."
Fortunately there's a benign "gotcha" here in the restaurant name's extension, "....Taste of Burma." This taste is not found in the Orange Chicken, Broccoli Beef or Thai Basil Pork from the steam table, but in an a la carte menu above the steam table, titled "Made to Order." Made to order (or at least assembled to order) they are, and include a range of Burmese classics like Mohinga (catfish chowder), coconut curry noodle soup, samusa soup, tea leaf salad, rainbow salad and Shan tofu salad, to name a few.
I chose to first test the mohinga, because a) this is a noodle blog, b) mohinga is considered Burma's National dish and therefore merits one's first attention, and c) I've been on a fishy soup kick lately in any event. I placed my order with the cashier, paid, and found a table where I waited for it to be brought to me, which happened about 10 minutes later.
Mohinga is a chowder made from shredded catfish in a lemongrass-infused broth thickened with yellow chickpea flour, served with rice vermicelli noodles. Garlic, onion, ginger and fish paste and/or fish sauce are also typically used in the broth, and the dish is served with a variety of garnishes which may be already included or served on the side.
After tasting the broth, which was complex, citrusy, and slightly fishy, I added a squeeze from the lime wedge and half the crushed dried chilis (which were joined later by the other half). Although not a lot of tangible shredded catfish was evident, and the noodles were a little too soft (as they could hardly escape being, given their thinness) it was overall a very stout bowl of mohinga, with a broth that was as good as I have had, and well worth returning to. And there wasn't a touch of greasy fattiness (of either the good or bad variety) to it.
Where slurped: Sapphire Asian Cuisine ....Taste of Burma, 475 Sacramento Street, San Francisco
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Where slurped: Lil Burma Food Truck, SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428-11th Street, San Francisco