Tuesday, July 28, 2015
According to some accounts Naren, the name for the Xinjiang Uyghur dish that was my soup du jour today, means "meat eaten with the hands" (the Chinese characters 纳仁 used to render the name are apparently mere phonetics). Roughly chopped mutton, tomato, carrots, and onions were traditionally mixed with handmade flat, wide noodles and eaten with the hands (sounds messy but fun, doesn't it?). The broth the mutton and vegetables were cooked in was served in a dish on the side.
As for my naren, one of the fragments of folkish wisdom I garnered from various sources was this proclamation: "It is the faverite dish of old people." This septuagenarian wouldn't argue with that sentiment.
Where slurped: Uyghur Taamliri at Chug Pub, 1849 Lincoln Way, San Francisco
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Coincidence Or Cosmic Synchronicity? My Summer Mutton Noodles At Shandong Deluxe On The Eve Of "Da Shu"
|Infografic courtesy ECNS.com|
The Chinese Agricultural (Solar) Calendar is divided into 24 half-month periods, with the hottest, Da Shu ("Major Heat") beginning this year on July 23. There are different eating practices in different parts of China for this period, as shown in the above infografic: "People in Shandong drink mutton soup on Major Heat, which is called 'Summer Mutton Soup.' " Fitting, therefore, that I was sitting in a resaturant called Shandong Deluxe slurping mutton soup on July 22, the eve of "Major Heat" (actually already the 23rd in China). I'd like to think this demonstrates an intricate knowledge of Chinese customs, but in truth my visit was completely random, and I was unaware of the mutton-eating custom until I was doing some post-mortem research.
I had started out headed for the Uighur restaurant on Lincoln Way, but Muni and I were both running late, and I would have arrived at about 1:55 for the 11:00-2:00 lunch service. Not wanting to cut into the staff's chill time, I stayed on the #28 all the way to Taraval St. after deciding to make House of Pancakes Plan B. House of Pancakes, alas, is closed on Wednesdays as I had once discovered before (fool me twice, shame on me). Plan C was a no-brainer: Shandong Deluxe and its hand-pulled noodles, a block away.
Where slurped: Shandong Deluxe, 1042 Taraval St., San Francisco
Friday, July 17, 2015
I don't think there's really any need to feel afraid strolling through the Tenderloin, but the surroundings can be a little grim at times. Instead of whistling a happy tune, look for a cheerful antidote of your choice from the panoply of inexpensive and delicious ethnic fare to be found in the 'hood. One such dish is the one Thais would call kuay teow moo toon, known as "Pork Spare Ribs Noodle Soup" at Tycoon Thai, the welcoming O'Farrell St. Thai/Lao bistro with the excellent draft beer and dratted Mason jars. It's what I had today when I paid Tycoon Thai an overdue visit.
"Moo toon" is't something hummed by a cow, or even a cartoon of a cow. "Moo" (or something that sounds like it) means pork in Thai, and "toon" means steamed or stewed, and the two together usually refer to pork spare ribs. Kuay teow (however it's spelled) means rice noodles.
If I had a complaint, it would be about too many noodles. That's a complaint I rarely make (and would never make about hand-pulled wheat noodles) but there was such a mass of rice noodles it was difficult to stir in my choice of flavor enhancers from the condiment caddy. But soldier on I did, and put the finishing touches on a hearty and satisfying bowl of happy moo toon noodle soup.
Where slurped: Tycoon Thai, 620 O'Farrell St., San Francisco
Saturday, July 11, 2015
After discovering the new Uyghur-only restaurant in our town and checking out the laghman, I was only too eager to return Uyghur Taamliri and try the only noodle soup on the menu (and incidentally scarf down a couple of samsas).
The soup in question, with the nearly impenetrable name of Süiqaş, is described on the menu as "lamb, onion, potatoes, pepper with lamb soup pulling dough." It's listed in Chinese as tang fan (汤饭), literally "soup rice," which didn't seem to make sense, because the noodles would surely be made of wheat.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Getting wind that a new dedicated Uyghur restaurant -- San Francisco's only such establishment --- was up and running in the Sunset, I hightailed it to 20th and Lincoln Way for lunch today to check it out.
The restaurant is Uyghur Taamliri -- Central Asian Uyghur Food but don't strain your eyes looking for a sign, as there is none as of yet, even though it's been open for few days.* It's inside a tidy but inconspicuous pub called Chug Pub, and even once in the door the only signs you are in a restaurant is a stack of menus and a warm greeting from Carl.
|Chug Pub, 20th & LIncoln|
I went there hell-bent on vetting the laghman, but Carl was so keen on recommending the Şorpa (a Kazakh lamb soup) I ended up ordering both. (Fortunately, the plate dishes come in two sizes, so I was able to avoid over-stuffing myself by ordering the smaller-size laghman plate.)
|Şorpa, Kazakh mutton soup|
|Laghman hand-pulled noodles|
Where slurped: Uyghur Taamliri, inside Chug Pub, 1849 Lincoln Way, San Francisco
*A chowhound.com poster informed me that there IS a sign on the 20th Ave. side of the building which I missed.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
There's something jarring about the Thai noodle soup dish Yen Ta Fo, and I think it has to with the way the unnatural pink color of the broth seems to magnify its dominant sweetness. Having gotten to know it, it's not one of my favorite soups, but curiosity and my blog demand that I experience this eccentric soup from the hands of the best Thai noodle soup mongers I know of; noodlesse oblige, one might say. And who knows, I might experience a revelation.
Having previously sampled the yen ta fo from Lers Ros Thai and House of Thai, I made it an excuse for returning to Kyu 3 Noodles & BBQ today, where it's listed on the menu as Yen Ta Pho (which it certainly is not).
This hot pink bath was home to jumbo shrimp, fish balls, calamari rings, sliced fish cakes, cuttlefish and what appeared to be shredded jellyfish (but may not have been). It was like Hello Kitty meets cioppino, the famous San Francisco mixed-seafood chowder. Topping it off (and providing some color contrast) were dark green water spinach and cilantro, and yellowish fried wonton skins.
Where slurped: Kyu3 Noodle & BBQ, 337 Jones St., San Frncisco.