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Q's on ordering suckling pig dinner in SGV restaurants

I'm not a SoCal resident, nor have I had any roasties from those famous high end Cantonese seafood SGV restaurants, but from general experience I would advise the following

- call the restaurant and ask away all your questions. First find out the cost, as well as the size of the piglet. Find out what is their smallest size and focus on that. Let them know ahead of time there are only two of you, and that you will still the whole pig and take home leftovers (and you have no problem with that). And of course ask how much time in advance notice they need if a preorder whole is needed.

- compare and contrast the pricing/size/weight

- ask if the piglets come with anything on the side. There's almost always the dip sauce, but good to know what it is exactly.

- For me, I would ask if the piglet's feet are included when the restaurant purchases the piglets. If yes, find out what dishes they can do with it. At the nicer roast suckling pig specialist restaurants, some do a soy sauce marinated/braised/simmered piglet feet dish that is quite delectable. Or some keep the feet on when roasting the whole piglet, and is also tasty to eat.

- check yelp and blogs (online search/photo image search) in case there are photos of past visits where people ordered them to give you a better idea before you make your final decision as to who will do it.

- I do highly encourage to to find enough people/adventurous eaters/good friends to join. This feast is meant to be shared. The piglet should be eaten entirely dine in or as much as possible for the optimal experience.

Another suggestion is that if these restaurants offer an appetizer sized plate during dim sum lunch hours, you can try one to determine if you want to order a whole one. It is not necessarily a representation of what you will get in the end from a whole pig (since we have no idea when these plated suckling pig appetizers are roasted and sliced).

Jun 06, 2014
K K in Los Angeles Area

2014 regional Chinese roundup

Thanks for the feedback. Still have not been yet, but had a feeling it wasn't going to be bad. I don't know much about Hunan food but the place seems legit, and at least clean and semi upscale looking. I did glance at a takeout menu one time and there were a lot of preserved smoked Hunan style meat (la rou) dishes, far more than any other place I've seen.

The trick with most regional Chinese restaurants is to request dishes with less oil less salt (shao yoh shao yen). The pork belly you had was probably Mao's braised pork belly...pretty famous and iconic Hunan dish.

Jun 04, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 regional Chinese roundup

Saw that sometime back thanks, our table had way more varied dishes than that report, including ones from the temporary specials menu which I had already mentioned a few.

Jun 03, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 regional Chinese roundup

+ Beijing Duck House (Cupertino)

The summary:

Tasty preorder Peking Duck (7 to 8 lbs per, shipped in from Long Island NY somewhere), carved tableside, and served with in house made crepes, and the carcass and meat in a tasty duck soup (thus, two ways...but they won't do three way). They also make a lot of "Lao Beijing" style snacks, some that supposedly were served as Imperial Banquet type mini dishes for the Last Empress of China (mostly dessert types, she probably had a sweet tooth, but luckily not a Yelper type into macarons, froyo, and Cream sandwiches). The cold appetizer dishes are very noteworthy, like marinated duck tongue, and Chinese mustard (mostly deboned) duck web which had a killer umami presence and perfect amount of mustard marination...as well as a dish of Lu cuisine origin called Luo Han Du (like a head cheese, but has pork stomach and tripe)...could give Cosentino's Boccalone offerings a run for their money...not as decadent as coppa di testa but very close in feeling. Friends who have eaten at Quanjude Beijing said this duck was obviously inferior, but I suppose if you haven't been to Beijing duck restaurants where they use apple or lychee wood fire, this ain't so bad and is already a great effort for SF Bay Area. I forgot to ask the other friends if they thought it was better than Great China (which I think for sure it would be).

Not the best service (or hospitality) by the owner/lady boss, but perhaps a bit of a communication issue. Overcome this and go in a group, and the experience gets better.

Jun 03, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

Kusakabe [San Francisco]

Someone posted a yelp photo of the a la carte menu, dated May 22. Otoro, aji, saba, kohada, tai, kasugodai, ayu, hotaruika, uni, ikura, ankimo. $7.50 to $8.50 (guessing the prices are per piece) with otoro at $10.50.

Definitely a far cry from the breadth at a place like Shunji in SoCal, but is already considered very good by SF standards.

Maruya hits the 30 types of fish mark easily (well, so does Sushi Sam's in San Mateo, but the quality is not even close). But when Maruya first opened, they had maybe 15 selections. But whatever Kusakabe has based on those selections a la carte, Maruya will likely have them as well.

The only difference is that Maruya doesn't serve A5 beef (Miyazaki Wagyu). That is more of a modern gimmick for wow factor. Then again, lots of high end hybrid kappo/sushi Japanese run eateries in Hong Kong are doing the same thing, up the wow factor, to get the crowds and social media experts through the door. They didn't serve me A5 at Ginza Iwa Hong Kong though, which was fine.

May 29, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

Yes what ipse said.

Didn't realize it was out of the way....in that case, please save your quota for other things!

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Bay Area restaurants with delicious grilled octopus preparations.

Coqueta and 1760

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

San Tung has a sister restaurant right next door called San Tung #2, supposedly same owners, mostly similar menu, and handles overflow or those who don't want to wait for #1 if it is way crowded. I haven't been, but don't bother there since they do not provide complimentary kimchi/pao tsai like #1, which I find very very strange....

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

No comment on the attendance and how it affects restaurants, but I would start by going to opentable.com and searching for a range of dates/times of some of the aforementioned restaurants and see what works for you (also to check availability) and start booking places you want to check out, like right now. Also consider going directly to the restaurant's website to book reservations there (which usually redirects to opentable), particularly the very popular ones. If you are willing to dine later, 9 to 10 pm, you have better options/availability.

If you do SPQR, some say that the counter/chef's table side is best. Since it is walkable from SF J-town, and if you make it there in time much earlier, drop by Benkyodo Co for some excellent mocha based confectionaries (wagashi). No preservatives, old school Japanese American. There are Japanese tourists who visit, that apparently buy boxes to bring home. If you go earlier you might be able to try strawberry mocha or blueberry, very addictive. Though our Japantown is otherwise not interesting at all.

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

Our regional Chinese here isn't bad but definitely pales in comparison to the breadth and depth of SGV. Taiwanese is sadly a big joke, even whatever is left in the South Bay (with the exception of four TW food trucks based in the South Bay that are passable). It's as bad as our ramen.

If you must have Japanese, and can make it to Berkeley, Ippuku is excellent for dinner. Though I wonder how it compares to SoCal's finest yakitori joints.

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

Cooking Papa (Mountain View)

Yes rice noodle roll with flour crisp is indeed the carb on carb item known as "ja leung".

I've been to CP MV twice so far, so let me offer some comments

- there are a few veterans from CP Foster City working at CP MV, guessing for the long haul. There are also junior waitstaff and newcomers.

- Once you understand CP's operations, you'll come to realize the 10+ hour workdays the staff goes through...very stressful and some of the junior staff do not have the capacities to handle a high stress high turnover environment, and are not as wired into the business as the senior staff....thus need more time and training.

- the kitchen perhaps is a tad small to be able to handle all the tables and load. I think CP MV would benefit by having fewer tables, so waitstaff can navigate between easier...but I think they planned it that way so to maximize throughput, and thus revenue. But what they have now is pretty much a bottleneck when it is super busy.

- of the dishes sampled so far, a majority of them are quite pleasing. The preorder baked sago pudding dessert was excellent. Roast pork belly and empress chicken very good. The drinks need some work (only tried iced lemon tea), but at this rate better than nothing.

As much service and consistency issues/complaints there are currently, you have to admit that there isn't another "brand" of Cantonese high paced comfort based food restaurants out there that can open up quickly to face huge crowds...and it will not subside anytime soon. I sure am glad they are in MV, instead of a Sizzler or Chick Fil A.

As far as speculation about dim sum and the chef being ex-ABC...who knows. It could go either way. The resulting product could be different by the same chef in a different environment/different ownership and management/operation philosophy. If owners are smart and know the limits of the chef's potential they would figure out a plan to get what they can out of it within reason. I would rather try CP MV dim sum than Fu Lam Mum...

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

Cooking Papa (Mountain View)

The managerial woman is likely either Prascilla or Eleanor, both have ownership stakes in all the CP locations.

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

True from that perspective, but if a visit to ST is happening for the wings, the 5 spice beef noodle soup is a good companion if a bowl of rice isn't ordered, and if there is stomach space.

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

I remember being asked (in Cantonese) at Hai Ky if I wanted kidney, and I'm sure they also understand/speak English there....so make sure they include kidney in your order.

If you are really hungry, you might be able to eat two bowls of noodles, in which case try something else (if not two bowls of Mi Pok). Their Vietnamese iced coffee is drip and very strong which I very much enjoy...unlike Trieu Chau's pre-drip pre refrigerated coffe that I found rather horrendous, offensive, and vanilla caramel latte like tasting (Brodard has this same issue coincidentally).

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

No, but my understanding of King of Noodles is that they are similar to Kingdom of Dumpling in approach (unsure if they are same ownership). There isn't another place in town that offers specifically a 5 spice marination of braised/stewed beef whose flavor is also present in the broth. If I recall correctly the beef noodles at Kingdom of Dumpling, is brisket, not shank.

May 27, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

The crust styles of the two are apples vs oranges. TC does cookie dough/cookie crust, and GG is puff pastry/soh pei. Two completely different schools.

But I will say that Honolulu cafe's so called greatest puff pastry egg tart, is nowhere near as good as GG. This is the flagship Wanchai location which I had 2 years ago.

May 26, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

Was at Maruya last Tuesday, and was served a humongous round ball (almost temari sushi like) of Mendocino uni. I've had this variety at other places in the past and did not think too much of it, but the kind they served at Maruya was really fantastic and cream of the crop.

The problem with Japanese uni is that, unless it is immediately air freighted over, still in the shell and moving somewhat, the stuff in the tray can really vary.
Getting it in quality is a huge challenge given the distance (not an issue in Hong Kong where flights are so frequent that fish orders can arrive same day without being flash frozen and be served in the evening).

Sometimes local fresh can outperform "exotic import".

And Maruya doesn't have to rely on 98% of fish shipped in from Japan....some of the other regional items are excellent....tokobushi (ear shell/mini abalaone) from San Luis Obispo, botan ebi from British Columbia, Scottish salmon (the marinated version is incredible). And for this diverse spread, I applaud them.

May 26, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
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YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

Personally I find GG bakery's egg tarts far superior to most egg tarts in Hong Kong. Whether the crust is good or not, that yolk center filling is golden.

May 26, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
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YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

The dry fried wings are nice but not super earth shattering. My favorite item at San Tung despite its inconsistency the last few years, is the 5 spice beef noodle soup...the slices of beef shank they give you are excellent...and have higher tendon to meat ratio. Jelly in the belly! At $9 it's steep, but far far better than any ramen in the city.

May 26, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

I've studied pictures posted on Yelp of Kusakabe, and I have to say that while some pieces of sushi looked very interesting, others were not terribly so. Big problem is that I ate at Ginza Iwa in Hong Kong (a branch of the one Michelin star Tokyo shop) in December and at a high end kappo ryori....I just think that the big guys more or less get very similar fish (with the exception of Akiko's for some items, but they almost don't carry the more well known hikarimono).

Kusakabe runs near $100 ish per person but you only get about 13 pieces of sushi. For me I need 18 to 22, and for something like that at Maruya will run you $160 to $180. I'm sure you can ask for a few more pieces, just like at Maruya, so it will be either leaving hungry or pay more to fill up.

I personally think Maruya is really great and top for SF, and it is nice that a sous chef recommended kyee Maruya. While I have not been to Shunji I have also studied pictures/blog write-ups/those various CH posts by JL and others....basically Maruya doesn't have that uber exotic variety like Shunji, like almost unheard of white fish, or Hokkaido hairy crab. But the quality and whatever they get seasonally is pretty much top in the city over many other places and over 30 kinds of fish available. Some are more in line with what you see from the list of seasonally available fish from a wholesaler like True World Foods (website).

Turtle Tower (Larkin flagship store only) is worth checking out. Focus on pho ga, maybe a bowl of chao ga if you have room.

If you frequent Trieu Chau in Santa Ana, I actually found their rendition of duck leg wide noodle (broth on the side) with wonton better, and less on the MSG aftereffects. I prefer Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia on Noriega (owners are ex-Hai Ky so virtually identical menu in some aspects, easier to park, less thirst). But if you do make it to Hai Ky Mi Gia, ask specifically for "Mi Pok" which they can do the Singaporean version (brothless, wide noodles)...and it will have pork kidney to satisfy your offal fix.

Porcellino... This is a good place, still reminds me of Incanto, but you put your order down, pay first, then grab a table with a # and they bring your food over. Inevitably you want to order those Boccalone salumi thin slices from Iberico lardo to porchetta di testa, mortadella, and all that other good stuff. The most exotic thing offered was shaved tuna heart spaghettini, but I don't remember any pork offal dishes that night last month. Check out the blackboard near the cashier and see if there's anything that piques your interest. Friend and I blew about $80+ for two that included two espressos and two glasses of sparkling red, so this can get pricey.

If you can get there on a Saturday, SF Ferry Building where they have the farmers market, and just check out the vendors inside. The porchetta sandwich at the Roli Roti truck (Sat only) as mentioned, is really good. They also sell a pork knuckle but I haven't had it yet. Skip the roast chicken. The Mess Piggy sandwich at Boccalone (pulled pork and spicy pickled Hungarian peppers) is also a force to be reckoned with. If you can make it to Boccalone, you could possibly skip Porcellino.

A16 - if the trippa Napoletana is on the menu (appetizer) this is one of the best offal dishes in town. They usually don't make the dinner menu available until 4 or 5 pm, so call ahead and ask. It's so darn good, I could have had two orders, and very tempted to even request that to be served with pasta. It's basically honeycomb tripe slices but stewed till super tender, and that sauce is total magic dope. Our Mexican waitress told us it was better than her mom's cooking of tripe!

You could consider 1760...it's the sister shared plates restaurant to Acquerello. The uni bucatini alone is what every sea urchin/sushi lover raves about. But a lot of their offerings (despite a small menu) are very solid. Book ahead of time, and even if only 9:30 pm is available, take it.

Skip ramen in SF. Yamada-ya in SF apparently isn't anywhere close to SoCal's.

I would recommend Smile House Café on Taraval if you are into Hong Kong style cafe's. That's probably our best one in town, and would easily cream anything in SGV. Really solid Cantonese braised beef brisket, eclectic HK style western/pasta dishes, Hai Nan chicken rice (HK style with very flavorful chicken rice), and lots more.

May 26, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
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Sushi étiquette

Sorry didn't read through all the comments where chartreauxx had already said this.

The call in advance just guarantees you a seat if the restaurant is super popular (and high end), plus the inquiry gives them the courtesy of a heads up, if a request. Usually those who handle reservations are better communicators and can be on one's behalf with the chef (depending on his fluency).

About "prepare" in advance....It's not a matter of taking a piece of nigiri and cutting it in half. You only see that in the Jiro movie only because the tiger prawn or kurumaebi is so big that it would be impractical for most to down a single piece. Then again not everyone is Jiro who notices a diner using their left hand, or make sushi in accordance to the size of their mouths/bite etc.

It is more so enabling the chef also to carefully pre-portion out the purchased amounts of fish, and figure out best ways to still ensure a customer experience. This is the mark of a chef at the top of his game if this is a super high end restaurant if he knows how to delegate these properly and still make tasty sushi at a smaller size. This could mean doubling up a single piece, or offering you maybe twice the variety (assuming each reduced size bite is half a regular nigiri). The chef can then figure out how much product he uses per night, and also if he needs to order more (or less).

Certain fish and seafood are cut specifically for optimal sizes. It may require something different to get an equivalent joyous bite at a smaller size. I can see this happening with some shellfish (clam, abalone etc). And if the OP has jaw/bite issues with firmer selections then it is also best to let the restaurant know.

May 22, 2014
K K in General Topics
1

Sushi étiquette

Or better yet, OP can call ahead and make a reservation and put in that specific request with the staff, to see if the chef accommodates and how it will be handled, rather than showing up and then drop the ball. That way the chef gets enough time to prepare if anything.

May 22, 2014
K K in General Topics

Cooking Papa (Mountain View)

It is more like an inflated expectation from those one off reviewers without understanding things from the business side and the daunting task CP has undertaken to keep a wide menu, yet more or less nailing the taste, value, and quality from the big picture.

Cooking Papa Foster City did not get to where they are now without a lot of work and time (and thus rewarded with Michelin recommended last 2+ years). Maintaining quality consistently (with highs and lows/good and bad days) is no easy task, especially when Foster City location set their own bar so high. Same thing with Korean restaurant Jang Su Jang...they may not be the best Korean restaurant in Santa Clara, but there is a level of consistency along with service.

The addition of dim sum to the MV location, may very well be to their detriment if they are not careful since it will very likely overshadow their other offerings during lunch period, and put undue stress onto one category and staff member(s) of the kitchen far beyond others. But I am very certain the owners thought and planned this through and am confident on what they are doing. They didn't earn their success by luck and doing things on the fly, that is for sure.

I think the people who will get more worked up over negative reviews are from those of us who care, more than the restaurant....but I will say that the owners are aware of online reviews, though not sure what they do with them if anything, and to me appear receptive to constructive feedback if you approach them the right way. Their fanbase is large enough that they could write off les miserable if need be.

May 19, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Best Asian preserved plums/fruits and best Taiwanese/Singapore/Malay shaved ice

For Taiwanese style shaved snow, hop into a car and head to Sno-Zen in Mountain View. Probably the closest thing we have to authentic Taiwanese shaved snow in Northern California, although caters more to a wider demographic (but the texture is great). They have shaved ice too, but their snow product is the signature.

There's that Jerky King place in Cupertino Village that the others have already mentioned which I'm sure has what you need, and I believe they are a branch of the ones from Southern California (Vua Bo Kho)...despite the Vietnamese sounding name most of the stores carry Taiwanese products.

May 19, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

How do you eat sushi with other people?

You can order a giant platter of sushi, rolls, sashimi, and sit at a table and share, if that floats your boat.

But the best experience as already stated, is to sit at the bar and let the chef decide, but it really depends on the restaurant and what you are comfortable with.

Sitting at the bar and having the chef decide, is actually the way to go, and also the only available way to order at very high end places in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, whether they have Michelin stars or not. The idea is to sample the seasons, have a progression and balance, and to taste and see the chef's craft. In these instances, two to three people (tops) is ideal, when you are sitting side by side. Four or more is difficult to have conversations with one another.

For informal places, anything goes.

May 19, 2014
K K in General Topics

Nominee for The Next Big Thing: Mei Cai Kou Rou 梅菜扣肉

Not to mention the magic braise gravy/magic sauce in that pot of goodness that must be emptied on top of a giant bowl of rice and eaten like there's no tomorrow.

May 16, 2014
K K in General Topics

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

1) Meat (pork) with mushroom and peanuts
2) Vegetarian (mock meat/mock pork/wheat gluten) with mushroom and peanuts
3) Vegetable (with peanuts). Not entirely clear on the this one.

The van in question is an older Nissan, green/turquoise color. It's the 2nd car from the front. (Look for the van parked anywhere there is space)

May 16, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

Attaching a stock photo of the one sold/served by Cooking Papa (appetizer/savory version). It appears to be steamed with the lotus leaf wrap, but unwrapped already when plated and delivered to your table. I had it once, and all I can say is that it re-inforces my dislike of Cantonese zongzi, although their in house made attempt is admirable. Again this is just a preference, despite my general love for Cantonese fare. But I do recall that the seasoned soy sauce did enhance the experience and is really crucial.

Also decided to take one for the team (well it was actually a re-visit for me) to the mini van mom and pop business (selling Tainan style zongzi) I was talking about.

Similar to traditional Cantonese, shaped and wrapped like a pyramid. The rice is glutinous, and has a house seasoned soy sauce/stock that engulfs most of the material (could be from the pork braise). The signature of this style is a lot of peanuts (a very particular variety) with the skin on. There are chunks of lean pork inside that are tender, but the gem is the shitake mushroom on top. This business also sells a peanut only version, and a vegetarian version that is also quite good. There is no salted egg yolk inside.

This batch was a bit less intense overall in flavor than 2 years ago that I remembered, perhaps less salty which is good. Then again these are all home made, and finding anything fairly true to form Taiwanese is very very very difficult in Northern California these days, so it is an extremely commendable effort.

Here's the kicker...it appears that they also sell at Lynbrook High school (San Jose) on Fridays (didn't ask the time) and Sundays at Belmont Ralston Middle School (but you need to be there, best time between 11 am to noon, and noon is when the Sunday Tzu Chi Chinese school classes end). So maybe they will be there at most till 12:20 to 12:30 pm when there are no more prospective parents/customers.

Prices seemed to have gone up. They prefer to sell in bundles of 10, and it used to be $22. Last Sunday the old man charge me $15 for 5. Inflation/rising cost of gas/materials/real estate yada yada... but definitely a zongzi that I very much enjoy.

May 16, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Nominee for The Next Big Thing: Mei Cai Kou Rou 梅菜扣肉

I want to point out that 梅菜扣肉 has some differences between the Hakka Cantonese prep vs Hakka Taiwanese, especially the pickled mustard greens 梅菜 prep and flavor, having had both (the latter is only available in Taiwan).

The mustard greens in Taiwan taste completely different and are extremely pungent and bitter (a lot more rustic and perhaps a factor of the raw ingredient itself, as well as the pickling process), and perhaps far too strong for my tastes. The veggies are sun dried, then salted and stuffed into either plastic or glass bottles (the old school "OG" way as done in the countryside in Hsin Chu or Miao Li counties). The mustard green is sometimes locally called Fu Cai (Fu, same character as Fuzhou's Fu), as it has Fuzhou origins.

The Hakka Cantonese one tends to be a tad more sweet, less pungent. If you have these two versions back to back, the flavors are rather contrasting.

Gua Bao, or at least the more legit places in Taipei, adds some suan cai, basically a different kind of pickled green (not cabbage) that is a bit more akin to sauerkraut and has a more sour flavor profile, that is also paired with beef noodle soup (actually a perfect companion).

Even with that said, I find the combination of pickled mustard greens (slightly sweet vs ridiculously strong bitter salty sour pungent) with Hakka style braised pork belly, perhaps a tad overwhelming to the western palette.

However...the Hunan style Mao's braised pork belly (especially a great one), which is usually spicy...is probably something that would be more easily accepted.

May 16, 2014
K K in General Topics

2014 regional Chinese roundup

That is a very well thought out compiled list! Kudos hyperbowler!

Other Vietnamese Chinese contenders (Vietnamese Chinese have Chiu Chow/Teochew roots, but their food is very different than Chiu Chow Cantonese)

- Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia (Noriega, SF) owned by a family whose chef used to work at Hai Ky. Less MSG, easier to park.
- VH Noodle House (Richmond, Pacific East Mall)

Taiwanese
Mama Chef (Santa Clara)
Mama Chen (Cupertino)
Taiwan Café (Milpitas)

Hunan
New contender: "Wonderful" next to Chicken Pho You in Millbrae. Have not been, but higher priced entrees, supposedly a branch from a famous place in Beijing. No signs of Sichuan or Cantonese on the temporary menu, several dishes of Hunanese preserved/pickled/smoked pork.

Sichuan/Taiwanese style Sichuan
Spices IV (Foster City)

The chef at Yum's Bistro, if given enough notice can do some excellent Shunde Cantonese dishes (actually the restaurant where he worked in the 1970s, specialized in rustic Shunde Cantonese).

You can find some scattered Shunde and Zhongshan Cantonese dishes in Millbrae at Gourmet Village, The Kitchen, and Champagne restaurant (San Mateo/Millbrae).

May 12, 2014
K K in San Francisco Bay Area
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