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
Saturday, June 27, 2015
I walked in through the open door past the tiki-ish entryway to the newly remodeled San Dong Best restaurant that was formerly Xi An Gourmet (nee San Dong House). "We're not really open yet," said the young male server who greeted me. "But you can order something anyway." There were a couple of other tables with eaters at 2:00 in the afternoon, and I realized I had stumbled into a "friends and family" soft opening.
"Opening day is Monday," said the server, "we'll have new menus then." The menu at San Dong Best will include all, or nearly all of the dishes on the Taraval St. menu (including the Xinjiang dishes, he said) and more. My guess is that at this inner Richmond location, a couple of doors from the fusion-ish new Fajitas Restaurant, they'll be aiming for a slightly more up-market dinner crowd, and I'm eager to see what they come up with for new Shandong-style entrees.
I inaugurated Shandong Deluxe with, the "plain broth" lamb noodles, though I requested wider noodles this time around. It turned out to be nearly identical to the dish I had had in 2012, a subtle, meat-infused broth (possibly born of pork bones) that was neither particularly medicinal nor spicy, just comfortingly unctuous, as lamb soups are wont to be. The noodles were excellent, wabe and chewy (and not skimped on). A couple of the tender lamb chunks had collars of fat on them, but nearly as much as I would like. There were quite a few mushroom slices in the broth, and the obligatory pair of Shanghai bok choi stalks atop. Ob balance, this was definitely an A-team bowl of noodles.
One mystery remains: why do they spell it "Shandong" in the Sunset and "San Dong" in the Richmond?
Where slurped: San Dong Best, 3741 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
|Curry Udon at Odang Udon|
Back in January I blogged about the joy of house-made, er, truck-made noodles from Odang Udon, a food trailer at an obscure small food truck venue, the Duboce Truck Stop. At the time I lamented the relative inaccessibility (to me, at least) of the spot; it's not on a major transit line nor in the vicinity of any of my customary destinations.
|"City Odang" at Odang Udon|
Where slurped: Odang Udon Truck, SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428-11th St., San Francisco.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Lanxang Kingdom's Khao Piak: Lao Chicken Noodle Soup Served In A Temple Of Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
If you've been paying attention, you know that Lanxang Kingdom is the once a week Lao-or-bust pop-up hosted by Turtle Tower Restaurant on Thursdays, TT's closed day. As a food-aware San Franciscan, you'll also know that Turtle Tower is our city's most notable North Vietnamese soup kitchen, and almost synonymous with pho ga, a chicken noodle soup which almost every visitor to Turtle Tower has tried. It's only fitting, therefore, that Lanxang Kingdom should serve khao piak, Laos' counterpart to pho ga. Though not on the regular menu, it has been in LK's weekly specials rotation, most recently showing up this past Thursday when I caught up with it, my third shot at this Lao specialty following the versions I had tried at Champa Garden and Maneelap Srimongkoun.
|(Lanxang Kingdom photo)|
In comparison with the previous two versions of Khao Piak I've tried, I found a remarkable familiarity and similarity among the broths, with Lanxang Kingdom's a trifle less muddy than Champa Garden's but not as thin as Maneelap's. In the chicken department, LK's offering, like Champa's, had boneless shreds, while Maneelap's used bone-in chicken. Lanxang Kingdom's was the only version that included cubes of pork blood (optional at the point of sale). All three versions would be equally valiant flu fighters.
Where slurped: Lanxang Kingdom at Turtle Tower, 645 Larkin St., San Francisco
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
If had I told you I was headed out this noon to slurp noodles in a chili oil-based broth, you'd have thought me a liar, because I was wearing a white T-shirt, and as an accomplished noodle-slurper I am very punctilious about such niceties. But I allow a certain amount of randomness in my life, and I did in fact end up Jackson Pollock-ing one of my favorite tees at Spicy Queen in the Inner Richmond.
A short block to the west of Shandong Best-to-be, the garish facade of Spicy Queen (a. k. a. Spicy Hotpot) caught my eye. Spicy Queen is a sister of Chinatown's Spicy King, founded by a former Z&Y chef. I had eaten at neither, but the picture in the window of "Chongqing Hot Numbing Spicy Noodles" drew me into the place like a magnet, white T-shirt and all.
The pot stickers were a decent version, meaty inside and not too doughy, but not browned as crisp as I like. This may have been the fault of my timing; I ordered them just before the kitchen staff's meal break, and they may have been rushed.
Spicy Queen also has Guilin Rice Noodles, Crossing the Bridge Noodles and even Wuhan Hot Dry (regan) noodles on the menu, so I have plenty of inducement to return.
As for my T-shirt? It's in the laundry. If Spray 'N Wash doesn't do its job, it's about to become an undershirt.
Where slurped: Spicy King, 3809 Geary Blvd., San Francisco