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Buying spices in Hong Kong plus a few other ingredient questions

Nope, around the corner just along Graham downhill towards Queens Rd. Just got back from there and apparently more and more of the veggie stands on that alley are carrying western salad greens. There is one shop that has more Thai, some Chinese dried peppers, and lots of western jarred sauces and things like that. It's still a limited stock and not at all comprehensive.

Dec 10, 2012
jondis in China & Southeast Asia

Buying spices in Hong Kong plus a few other ingredient questions

There is one market in the Central Wet market right on Graham that has cheaper western herbs and salad greens. Don't know the name of it but it sells thai eggplants, beets, raddichio, lettuce, rocket/arugula, etc for much cheaper prices than City Super or Olivers.

Dec 09, 2012
jondis in China & Southeast Asia

Top Notch Dim Sum?

Exactly. The crux of this post was comparing the palate for Vancouver and SF dimsum.

The typically Cantonese palate goes towards very different things than Americans or American born Chinese, which is something I'm still learning about being an ABC. However, with the rapid expansion of the global economy (I know this is overly used) information is spreading faster and if it's one thing Chinese people spread like wildfire is talk about food...along with gossip of course...

Dec 06, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

VA CHEF IN BAY AREA JANUARY 7-14, WHERE DO I EAT? NO RESTRICTIONS

Since there's so many high end, I'll fill you in on some good ethnic eats that are cheaper.

Vietnamese:
There's nowhere else to get a good bowl of pho outside of Vietnam than in San Jose. This is untested water for myself, since everytime I ask my Viet friends whose pho is the best, they always say, "my mom's". However Pho 99 was a really good treat, as was another place in Mountain View, can't remember the name which is no help at all. Maybe others can chime in here.

San Francisco (Golden Era) and Oakland (Golden Lotus) do have two amazing vegetarian Vietnamese restaurants that do amazing things with Seitan, offering a caramelized chicken dish that tastes and feels very closely like the real thing. Turtle Tower has a great bowl of pho done northern style (no sprouts, touch of ginger).

Chinese:
Follow the previous dim sum thread in comparison to Vancouver.

Cheap Indian: Darbar and Kahori Lahore are good, especially in comparison to Naan N Curry which tends to overuse butter and cream.

Get a good bowl of Ramen: In Japantown, there's Tampopo and Suzu. Katana-Ya is in Union Sq. and then Oyaji is in the outer mission, great place to get drunk with the sushichef/owner.

The real restaurant people's food? Taco trucks at 2 AM after drinking. Anywhere along International in Oakland (Guadalajara on Fruitvale is my favorite).

Soul Food: Everett and Jones in Berkeley and Oakland (5-6 locations, my fave's san pablo, just the meat, potato salad, and a slice of wheat bread), go to Broadway if you like sides. Front Porch and Hard Knox Cafe have great fried chicken.

Southeat Asian:

Burma Superstar on Clement in SF (good neighborhood to explore with fresh markets)
Champa Garden in Oakland, it's Lao and Thai food.
Other Budget stops:

In-n-out burger
Top Dog in Berkeley
Golden Boy Pizza in North Beach

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

Some places will offer a baked version, the same as a baked char siu bao..I'm going to have to check it out. The only other place I've had it was in Oakland, the two story place on 8th.

Speaking of which, Restaurant Peony also does a version of the Macau Egg Tart in which they caramelize the top. you have to special order it though "poh gok dan tat"

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

If you jump back up in the thread, there are a few mentions that say really good things. First time I've heard of it, though I don't make my way down the peninsula as much anymore, my parents are kinda stuck on Joy Luck. I should find some friends to yum cha down there with.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

true..but to compare it to the quality of food in vancouver is a poor show for sf.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

I'm just saying that's the perception...and I'm not the only one that has uttered it. would you rather I say that it's for people that fear loose hair and other gross acoutrements accompanying their chinese food? While it's absurd, that's also a reality.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Underdog

definitely like this place, they source their ingredients themselves from organic farmers and ranchers. Sausage are nice and juicy, though not quite as big and plump as say Top Dog, but equally satisfying. I think it's cheaper than rosamunde too.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

My 2 Cents:

IF you're going to be in SF only and end up in Chinatown (sounds like you may be visiting family) my default is Gold Mountain on Broadway. This is the best quality compared to places like New Asia, City View and Lychee Garden, which are the only other pushcart dim sum joints in the vicinity.

Ton Kiang and Yank Sing are for non-Chinese. I've never been there, but I'm sure it's not bad. The other thing is that they're in out of the way places, Richmond District and Embarcadero, so parking is not as convenient or require a valet. (Valet for dim sum? funny thing is I'd only see that in China...what a brave new world...) If you're going to the Richmond, you're better off at Mayflower which is authentically Chinese.

South Sea Restaurant in the Sunset also gets positive reviews. It's located around 11th and Irving.

Koi Palace has been branded as the high end place to take your parents, family, out of town guests, diplomats, city officials, to show off. Their interior kinda resembles a movie set from crouching tiger, hidden dragon, but it's not that gaudy. They have all the high end ingredients, very carefully plated dishes, and good food.

R&G Lounge is another place to go for good quality Chinese food in the City, best known for their salt and pepper fried crab. It's on an upper tier with koi palace, but probably not as much of the notoriety.

Dim Sum on the Peninsula:

Joy Luck Place (two locations, San Mateo and Cupertino?): I like the food over Kitchen in Millbrae (though I haven't been for dim sum) mostly because the food shows a little more care while Kitchen is kind of the solid Cantonese favorites, but done almost a little more homestyle, you can almost taste the carelessness from the wok hay...

I'm in the restaurant business myself for what it's worth, thank goodness not in the Chinese restaurant biz, but I do have my own preferences to good Chinese food.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

A good way to gauge is to see if the "Low Sah Bao" is in the dim sum rotation. It's been in existence for a little while now, I first had it in China and Hong Kong 2 years ago, the name translates to "leak sand". It seems like a lotus paste bun or a ly wong bao, but the center is actually a salted duck egg yolk mixed with sugar and most likely pork fat, which when heated results in a sweet yet rich, lovely lovely thing. I've only seen it here at Gold Mountain, in Chinatown SF of all places, but have asked for it at Joy Luck in San Mateo and the manager still hadn't heard of it yet...

I'm sure it's made it's way into Vancouver by now...?

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

The migration patterns of the Silicon Valley (Cupertino, San Jose, Santa Clara, etc) more closely reflect the migration patterns of Richmond, Vancouver. While both San Francisco and Vancouver have both historically drawn large numbers of immigrants, SF Chinatown is very much rooted in drawing a mix of rural Cantonese (SzeYup, Toisan, etc), Hong Kong, and Guangzhou immigrants. The migration patterns outside of these areas have been the professional classes settling into the suburbs from Hong Kong and Taiwan. For some reason, Vancouver has been the draw for more Cantonese from Hong Kong with more money and more well trained chefs and cooks, which can possibly be attributed to an easier entry into Canada versus stringent US laws and a competitive quota system post '65.

What you see in the Bay Area now is businesses that cater to a growing middle to upper class of Chinese Americans from the peninsula starting in Millbrae/San Bruno all the way to San Jose with higher quality chefs, cooks and ingredients...which is definitely not the case ten to twenty years ago.

Vancouver definitely has a leg up on the SF Bay Area, but I agree the gap is closing with the tide shifting towards the peninsula and south bay.

I've had dim sum in Taishan (Toisan), Kaiping (Hoiping), and Guangzhou. All very different places from high end to hole in the wall...Would have to rank Guangzhou and Vancouver as my favorite places, but as a Cantonese person, I think we end up with our comfortable defaults for the places that are "not wrong"

totally on a half related not, I love fat wong's in Millbrae for their Gnow Lam (clear broth beef brisket) and they have huge wonton...the closest thing to Hong Kong for me...(gow gay gnow lam in Seung Wan is the best.)

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area

Top Notch Dim Sum?

City View is horrible. Food is served cold. Better off getting dim sum from the to go shops in Chinatown.

Dec 05, 2007
jondis in San Francisco Bay Area