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Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

Last night I ate at Los Panchos, which is basically on the corner of Valencia and Mission Street in San Francisco. I think I ate there one other time in the past two years, but I definitely ate food from there in June of 2012, since I posted about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/859472

I ordered plain cheese pupusas, which were excellent. Bubbling, hot cheese on the inside, with a really nice circle of crispy cheese (the part where the cheese gets directly grilled when it oozes out) on each one. Is there a word for that bit of toasted cheese? There should be.

The curtido has a lot of some herb in it (oregano? epazote?) and is slightly pink. I really liked it. Hot salsa was served with chips at the start of the meal, and I had to ask to get some mild tomato sauce for the pupusas.

I ordered two pupusas with rice and beans, which were good but nothing special. Guacamole was also in the 'good but nothing special' boat. One dining companion ordered pupusas with a small cup of chicken soup. I didn't really think the soup was that great, especially compared to other chicken soups in the Mission (one that comes to mind is at Chava's on Mission near 24th St).

Friendly service, not super fast because the pupusas were made to order, but it was worth the wait. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.

Mochi at Yuen Hop (Oakland Chinatown)

I went to Yuen Hop this morning (Friday) at about 9 a.m. There was a pretty decent selection of mochi, and I bought the ones with both sesame and peanuts. I like them a lot! Really soft texture on the mochi, filling not super sweet.

This morning they had several other types:
- Just peanut
- Just black sesame
- Peanut and black sesame w/ coconut
- Mung bean
- Taro

Next time maybe I'll just buy the whole lot.

Mochi at Yuen Hop (Oakland Chinatown)

To confirm....do you mean Cam Huong bakery in Chinatown? There appears to be another Cam Huong over on the other side of Lake Merritt.

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

I was reminded by sunnyside's post that I ate here again a few weeks back. We had some repeats of previous meal (the cold "cauliflower" and pan-fried dumplings are still stand-outs), but also tried some other things. Vegetarian ma-po tofu was a good version...tofu was soft and sauce wasn't overly goopy. Good amount of ma-la flavor, but not very spicy in terms of chili heat. Pork belly with bok choi was decent, but not amazing. To me, it was a bit rustic in its overall taste and preparation, though I guess this isn't a bad thing. Zha ziang mian was good and lighter than the version at House of Pancake...but not quite as good, in my opinion.

To those ordering dumplings, I recommend getting them pan-fried. They seem to be doing a good job of cooking these so the frying is worth it.

Amphawa Thai Noodle (SF)

I think this place is stepping up their game...or maybe they have been for a while, and I just haven't eaten here in a long time. The menu is full of interesting items that are not common at Thai restaurants here. Today we tried the Sukhothai Noodle Soup, which is described on the menu as "hot and spicy noodle soup with roasted pork, ground pork, fish balls, green beans, cabbage and peanuts." We ordered it with wide rice noodles, and though it's probably not my favorite flavored soup in the world, I thought it was good and different than anything I've had before. The broth is somewhat sour in flavor, but I'm not sure from what. It's a very different taste from the sour notes in Tom Yom soup. The serving was also huge...plenty to share. See photo.

We also had a papaya salad, which we ordered medium. It came out quite spicy and nicely seasoned with good dried-shrimp flavor. This was real-deal papaya salad. They also have the salted crab version on the menu.

Finally, we had some pad see u, and it was very fresh tasting, but otherwise boring. This came out first out of the three dishes, if that means anything.

I'm curious to hear who else has been eating here in the past year. There are lots of dishes still to try.

Dave MP

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City Food Tour--worth it?

Another note: taxis were really inexpensive in Saigon, so if there's a place that isn't quite walking distance, just hop in a cab to get there. I didn't find Saigon to be the best walking city, which is too bad, because it DID seem to be a great eating city. So don't be afraid to take transit between food stops...that's my advice.

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City Food Tour--worth it?

I realized that I never really wrote on Chowhound about the food experiences I had in Saigon this past spring, though I did write about Hanoi here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/976370

We were only in Saigon for about 24 hours, so we did not do any type of food tour. If you are comfortable eating street food on your own, and getting past the potential language barriers, I don't necessarily think you need a food tour to find great stuff.

One resource I used while there was this food blog and the street food map: http://www.eatingsaigon.com/saigon-st... I only went to two places from here, but both were GREAT, so I imagine using this resource to plan your own food tour could be worthwhile, especially if there are particular dishes you're wanting to try. The two places I went to were both quite near (walking distance) the backpacker neighborhood. One was a pho place called Phở Thanh Cảnh, and the other was a Banh Mi place called HUYNH HOA, at 26 Le Thi Rieng Street. The banh mi place was definitely worth checking out....takeout only, very cheap, very fresh, super busy in the early evening when I went. Best banh mi I've ever had, easily. Smaller than they are in the USA, which means it's appropriate as a pre-dinner snack :


For street food exploring, I found that breakfast was the best time to be out and about. It was harder to find great street food in the afternoon/evening, although I'm sure there are exceptions. But in the earlier morning hours, there were amazing options, many right on the street and viewable.

Hope this helps!
Dave MP

Red Boat Fish Sauce 50N or Salt

I am pretty sure I saw their 40N fish sauce at Andronico's in the Inner Sunset. In the Asian condiment section. But I didn't pay close enough attention to see if it was 40 or 50.

I'd suggest just emailing or calling them to ask, if you haven't already.

Several Days in Istanbul and the Princes' Islands - Report

I spent several days in Istanbul in July, and we managed to have some great meals. We were lucky to be staying with Turkish friends who led us to some great spots, though I see that most of the places I tried have been talked about online (whether on TripAdvisor or Chowhound or elsewhere). Overall, I thought the food in Istanbul was fantastic, and we barely broke the surface. Note: One of our hosts is a pescatarian, so meat dishes weren't usually the emphasis of our meals.

Dinner Day 1: Duble Meze Bar, which is at the top of Palazzo Donizetti. This was the fanciest place we ate at the whole time we were in Istanbul, though the food wasn't super expensive (wine definitely was though!). We sat outdoors on the top-level roof deck, about 18 stories up, so the view was fantastic, and there was a nice breeze. We ordered various meze to share, and two things stood out. First, the stuffed mussels, which had a slightly sweet filling flavored with cinnamon. Second, topik, which is an Armenian dish that I hadn't ever tried before. It's sort of a soft paste of chickpea surrounding a sweet/savory stuffing. It has a soft texture, and I thought the version here was good. Otherwise, I don't recall what we ate, but it was a nice introduction to Istanbul.

Breakfast Day 2: Göreme Muhallebicisi on Kurtulus Cd. This is a small, local spot where we tried some typical Turkish breakfast (kaymak and honey on bread, olives, cucumbers, and eggs scrambled with tomato). Also a nice Turkish coffee and plenty of Turkish tea. Unfortunately, we didn't get to return there later in the trip to try any of the homemade desserts (they are known for dairy desserts, in particular) or their homemade ice cream. It's not far from the Osmanbey metro stop, and this is a completely tourist-free neighborhood.

Lunch Day 2: We spent the morning at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia without our hosts, and then ate at Sultanahmet Koftecisi. We were careful to choose the original restaurant (there are imitators on the same block), and we had a small but good meal. Two of us shared one order of the kofte and one order of the white beans (which come with salad). For dessert, we had the semolina halva, which was excellent. This ended up being enough for the two of us, though most other diners *each* had an order of kofte, as well as an order of beans. The place has been around for decades, and it was quick and inexpensive. Recommended, and don't skip the halva!

Dinner Day 2: For our second night, we stayed over on Kinaliada, the closest of the Princes' Islands, about a 45 min ferry ride from central Istanbul. We had dinner at a fish and meze restaurant on the island which my friends consider to be the best option, called Salih. It's not right on the water, but up the street a bit uphill from the little plaza with a tree in the middle of it. Here, the mezze were displayed on a tray that the waiter brought over to the table. We chose several dishes, including some nice cheese and melon, eggplant in yogurt, fried cheese balls, and fava beans. We also had some excellent grilled sardines, which were very fresh. Tables were all outside, many on the street.

Breakfast Day 3: This was at home, and included fresh bread from the bakery on Kinaliada.

Lunch Day 3: Back in the city, we had lunch at Helvetia, which is in Beyoglu. This place has a display of several dishes, mostly vegetarian, and you get to choose 4 or 5 dishes which they put on your plate. Price per person was about $5 USD and the food was excellent. The highlight was a carrot dish which contained some cinnamon and other spices, as well as some sort of grain/pasta (I can't remember the name of this, though). But I think the dishes likely change every day, and you can just choose whatever looks most appealing. This place is centrally located and I would have been happy to eat here for lunch every single day.

Snack Day 3: We spent part of the afternoon up along the Bosphorus and had a drink at a cafe in Ortakoy, right on the water. Afterwards, we stopped for a stuffed mussel from one of the little stands in this small neighborhood. There are also a ton of stands selling waffles, which we didn't try. Ortakoy is worth a visit though, even if just for a lemonade or beer by the water, and a stuffed-mussel snack!

Dinner Day 3: Çiya Sofrasi, in Kadikoy. This was our first trip over to the Asian side, and even though it was a weeknight, this neighborhood was super packed with young people eating and drinking. We walked through the market area, which was still busy even in the early evening, and then ate at Ciya Sofrasi, which was quite busy. We ordered kebabs here, and while I thought they were good, I didn't think they were outstanding. We also chose various mezze from the counter, and ended the meal with a traditional Ramadan dessert called gulac, which is made with phyllo pastry, milk and pistachios. I was worried it would be flavored with rose water (since apparently it sometimes is, and I don't like rose flavor), but this version didn't have any rose flavor. Really interesting, and worth a try. At this restaurant we also tried two of the homemade sherbets (juices). One was mulberry I think, and now I can't remember the other flavor. They tasted very slightly fermented to me, almost like kombucha. Overall, the neighborhood of Kadikoy seemed like it must have had a thousand restaurants, so I definitely recommend checking out that neighborhood, especially in the warm summer months when everyone is outside.

After this, we were off to Kas for a few days, which I wrote about here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985347

Eventually, we came back to Istanbul, and we went straight back to the Princes' Islands.

Dinner Day 4: Kalpazankaya Restaurant on the island of Burgazadasi. This place is on the far west side of the island, so you have to either walk there (about 30 mins) or take a horse-drawn carriage. If you walk, be careful of the carriages rushing by. Since we were there on a weekend, we had a reservation, which is advisable to get a good table, overlooking the sea and the sunset. Food was nice here..mezze, really nice fried cheese balls and great stuffed grape leaves. We also had some small fried fish (barbunia) but they actually weren't that amazing. If you can get a reservation here, I think it's worth a trip from the city and would make for a nice evening. The last ferry back to Istanbul is generally pretty late, like around 12:00 AM.

Breakfast Day 5: At home

Lunch Day 5: We had some lentil soup and some lahmacun at a local place on Kinaliada. I unfortunately don't remember the name, but it was about two blocks in from the water, and they specialize mainly in pide and lahmacun. Not destination-worthy, but this was the only real lahmacun we ate on the trip, and it was tasty and crispy. Not as good as what I ate in Glendale, California at Taron Bakery, though.

And I think that's pretty much it. However, I will also report on ice cream:

Ice Cream #1: The best ice cream I tried in all of Turkey was at Omer Usta, which is on Kinaliaida. They have lots of fruit flavors (all non-dairy) and various flavors with dairy, too. Banana was amazing, but I also really liked peach, mulberry, strawberry, melon and chocolate. I went here multiple times. I actually think it's worth a ferry ride from Istanbul just for this ice cream place. Don't accidentally go to the other ice cream place nearby, which seemed way less-good.

Ice Cream #2: If you happen to end up on Burgazadasi, hit up Sinem Dondurmacisi, which also had nice fruit flavors. It's near the ferry.

Ice Cream #3: In Kadikoy, an ice cream place called Ali Usta had great fruit and non-fruit flavors. Sort of like gelato (so, no mastic in this ice cream). Worth the walk from the ferry.

See pictures below (sorry they are not in order)

Aug 14, 2014
Dave MP in Europe

June 2014 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

Just found this post via search, since I was wondering if anyone had been to Phnom Penh House recently. Sounds like it might be worth a try.

Anyone been to the branch on MacArthur recently?

Did I hallucinate this eggplant recipe?

This weekend, I got inspired to try the Iman Biyaldi recipe that mcsheridan posted. I followed it almost exactly in terms of ingredients and proportions, except I put some tomato juice at the bottom of the baking pan instead of just water.

In terms of prep, I decided to use the stuffing technique I described in my other post here. I peeled the sides of the eggplants in stripes, then pan fried them to soften them a bit, then slit them down the middle and did my best to stuff them with the stuffing. I used four eggplants, all of which were small Italian variety. I actually think this didn't work quite as well for stuffing as the Chinese eggplants did, but it was still fine. I also used some really good tomatoes from the market...nice and ripe and sweet. I think this mattered a lot.

Final results were delicious. It takes some patience to cook the onions without getting them too brown, but it paid off.

Aug 12, 2014
Dave MP in Home Cooking

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

Your scallion pancake picture does look pretty bready. The version I had last week wasn't like that.

S&P fish looks good!

What's not-to-miss at Hong Kong Flower Lounge? [Millbrae]

Do they still have those good wontons there?

miss louella, did you go? What were the highlights? I haven't had dim sum there in many years.

Help a pressed for time NY Hound find the Asian food of her dreams?

I ate at Battambang in November of last year. Here's my report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9141...

Looks like I thought it was very good, especially the pumpkin dessert. But I still prefer Angkor Borei. At Angkor Borei, I always get the ahmok with fish, which I think is consistently fantastic there. The prahok is also good, and the appetizers like squid salad and papaya salad are nice too. Also like the spinach leaves appetizer. Curries there are fine, but not as special in my opinion. Same with the stir-fried dishes.

I agree with others that having some Burmese food is worthwhile here in SF too if you're coming from NYC.

Hope you have a great time, and let us know where you eat.

Kas and the Turquoise Coast - Turkey - Report

In July I spent 3 days on the southern coast of Turkey, and we stayed all three nights in the town of Kaş. We flew into Dalaman, rented a car, and drove the 2.5 hours to Kaş, which was a very easy drive on generally wide and traffic-free roads. I was hoping there'd be more interesting food to purchase or sample on the side of the road, but there were mostly just fruit stands (mainly melon and watermelon, which seemed too big to buy for just the two of us, and places selling gozleme and other made-to-order meals). Not much in the way of quick, ready-made treats.

We stopped for lunch in Kalkan, and had a nice albeit expensive meal. This town definitely seems more aimed toward British tourists, with lots of adverts for "English breakfasts" and a shop selling bacon. I was glad we didn't stay here, though the beach looked very nice.

In Kaş we had two really great dinners, thanks to a recommendation from a friend's co-worker who had spent time there. There are lots of places to eat in Kaş and many of them seem kind of similar -- seafood, grilled meats, typical mezze. I was glad we got recommendations for places, since we probably wouldn't have found them on our own. We ate early (around 7:30) and didn't need reservations, but both places ended up being quite full by 8:30, and reservations would be wise for both if you're dining later. Kaş is also very touristy, but had many more Turkish tourists than foreign tourists, so dining hours tended to be more Turkish style (i.e. late dinners). It was also during Ramadan, which meant many people were eating even later.

First dinner was at Bİ'lokma (Mama's Kitchen), and it was recommended that we try the homestyle Turkish dishes here. We shared the manti and the stuffed eggplant (with meat), and also a salad. Dining was all outdoors on a raised patio, and we enjoyed it.

Second dinner was at Bahçe, and this was even better. Here we were told to stick with the mezze—even though grilled meats were available, they wasn't the specialty. We tried the stuffed cabbage and grape leaves, which were fantastic and spiced with a slightly sweet rice filling with a touch of cinnamon. Also tried some yogurt with spicy chilies....this ended up actually being way too spicy for me. Finally, we shared one imam biyaldi and one order of the stuffed squid, which were both phenomenal (and probably the two best things I ate in all of Turkey). Imam biyaldi was tender and sweet, with translucent onions and sweet tomatoes. Stuffed squid was soft enough to cut with a fork, and was stuffed with spinach and shrimp, then grilled. Note: we ate at the restaurant that's called Bahçe, not to be confused with the fish restaurant across the street owner by the same people. Apparently that place is good for fish, but the one we ate at is good for mezze.

Our third dinner in Kaş was a BBQ at our hotel, where they had grilled chicken and fish. The place we stayed, Ates Pension, had a great breakfast buffet, with both Western and Turkish breakfast options. I think many pensions have something similar here, so we never ventured out for breakfast.

The best ice cream we tried was in the main plaza, sort of opposite the mosque. The ice cream here is the Turkish style made w/ mastic, so it's sticky. I liked the banana and melon flavors, but they had a large variety, including interesting things like pomegranate and mulberry. One benefit of it being Ramadan was that volunteers from the mosque handed out free lokma each night to anyone who wanted it. I am never one to pass up free donuts, and they were a nice treat.

We spent one day aboard the Bermuda Boat, which was a tour of Kekova ruins and various swimming spots. The reason I mention it here is because the food on the tour was particularly good, especially the grilled chicken kebabs which they made using a charcoal grill right on the boat. This went along w/ lots of meze options.

Another day we spent taking a boat trip across to Meis, Greece, which I will write about in another post. We had some very nice Greek food for lunch.

Overall, I would highly recommend Kaş as a vacation destination. Lots of great activities, far enough from the airport that there are no big buses or package tour companies there yet, and lots of great food options thanks to the large numbers of Turkish tourists who probably keep quality higher than places like Kalkan. I hope to return someday.

Aug 09, 2014
Dave MP in Europe

Lucca, Italy - Pizzeria da Felice, Antica Drogheria, La Bonta

I spent several days in Lucca, Italy a few weeks back, and had some nice meals. The best sit-down dinner was at Il Mecenate, which I wrote about here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985340

Another sit down dinner was at Trattoria da Leo, which I didn't think was good at all. Overcooked roasts, mediocre pasta, boring contorni.

We walked by Pizzeria da Felice a few times before eating there, and I was reluctant to give it a try because it seemed somewhat touristy. However, we tried it on a rainy day for a late lunch, and it honestly was probably the best food we ate in all of Lucca (even better than what I ate at Il Mecenate). We ordered a whole pizza (half sausage, half salami), and also tried a slice of the cecina, fresh out of the oven. The pizza had a thin crust, great sauce, and a good cheese/sauce ratio (i.e. not too much cheese). Probably one of the 5 best pizzas I've had in my life (others mainly being in New York and New Haven) Photos below.

Another dinner was at Antica Drogheria, which has both pizzas and pastas. We liked this meal, and the overall vibe of this casual restaurant. Pizza here was very different than it was at Il Mecenate. It was personal-sized and had a slightly thicker crust, more Neopolitan style I think. I really wanted to love this place, but in the end I felt only 'pretty-good' about it. Might be a better option for lunch.

Finally, I thought gelato in Lucca was pretty hit-or-miss. La Bonta was really good for non-fruit flavors (i.e. chocolate, coffee), but they were even better for a dessert which we purchased to bring home: mini cream puffs covered in chocolate and piled into a crunchy hazelnut/candy crust. Otherwise, the best gelato I had in Lucca was at Grom, which was too bad because it's a chain which I'd had before.

Aug 09, 2014
Dave MP in Italy

Il Mecenate - Lucca, Italy - Report

I spent some time in Lucca a few weeks back. This was arguably the best dinner we had in the city—everything was well-prepared, using fresh ingredients, and for what it's worth, this place felt like the least touristy of everywhere we ate in the city. Here are some of the items that we ate:

Aug 09, 2014
Dave MP in Italy

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

More photos

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

Thanks everyone who has posted about this place so far. I checked it out tonight with three others, and we ended up ordering way more than enough food. Total bill was only $44 before tip!

Scallion pancake tasted freshly made and came out hot and with a nice crispiness. As it cooled, it got a little bit more limp and doughy, but it was still a nice rendition. While not the best I've ever had, I'd definitely order this again. I dipped it in vinegar and soy sauce mixture (little saucers available on the table). There's also a bottle of a sweeter sauce on the table, which looked like prepared fish sauce, but there's no fish sauce in it. Maybe just prepared sweet vinegar sauce? First time I've seen this.

The "cold cauliflower" dish, like others have said, is not cauliflower at all. There's a picture on the menu which helps clarify, but it's bean curd skin w/ cucumber, peanuts, cilantro and celery, all in a spicy and sweet sauce. Like others, everyone in my group thought this was very good.

We tried the twice cooked fish, which was good but not amazing (for me, anyway). I think others at the table liked it more. The pieces of fried fish were tender but the crispiness of the batter had diminished and they were quite salty. Cabbage lacked wok char. But overall flavors were still nice.

Beef noodle soup was good: I liked the broth, which tasted homemade and not too MSGish. Beef pieces were tender. Homemade noodles, sadly, were a tad overcooked. Maybe the kitchen was busy and timing wasn't quite right. Hopefully this is a fluke, because the noodles have great potential.

Lots of dumplings on the menu, and we tried two types. Beef and celery dumplings we ordered pan fried, and these were really excellent. The filling was bursting with juice (almost soup-dumpling-like) and the outside shells were crispy. Tasted great dipped in vinegar.

The pork and fennel dumplings were less to my liking, but still good. The green veggies in it (dill in addition to fennel, from the taste of it) was strong. But others really liked these, and they were well made.

Pacing was somewhat slow, which I appreciated. Things came out basically one at a time over the course of 30 minutes. Service was friendly, prices were very reasonable, and I'll be back!

Best way to reheat cheong fun, leftover from dim sum?

Thanks everyone. I ended up putting the noodles in a bowl, and then putting the whole bowl in the steamer. I steamed until it was just heated through, so it held up pretty well.

Dave MP

Aug 06, 2014
Dave MP in General Topics

Best way to reheat cheong fun, leftover from dim sum?

I had some beef rice noodle rolls at a dim sum place yesterday, and took some of it home with me. I'm hoping to heat it up for lunch...anyone got tips? It has a fair amount of filling, and was topped w/ the sweet soy sauce previously. I am thinking steaming might be best? But could also use microwave or something else.

Any experience with this?

Aug 06, 2014
Dave MP in General Topics

Baked Cracker-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Made these last night using a mixture of croutons and Stone wheat thins crackers. Came out great. I don't have a wire rack, so I just used a regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper worked well, and the chicken ended up being pretty crispy, even on the bottoms.

Aug 06, 2014
Dave MP in Recipes

How to fry potstickers without burning the bottoms?

From frozen: I do things slightly differently that biondanonima, but I think the results are similar. I put water in the pan (enough to go halfway up the sides of the potstickers, like greygarious says). I also put in 1-2 T of oil. I bring this to a boil, covered, which is usually very quick, and then I add the potstickers, flat-side down. I steam them (covered) for about 6-8 minutes, then uncover and allow the water to boil away. And then, like biondanonima, I let them cook until they are as brown as I want them.

So, basically, with frozen potstickers I skip that initial browning step, and the potstickers still come out nice and browned and crispy. Non-stick pan is best, but I've had success with nicely seasoned cast-iron as well. I try to use a pan-size that is equal to the number of dumplings I'm making...seems to work better when the pan is full.

Aug 04, 2014
Dave MP in Home Cooking

Authentic Chinese Beef and Broccoli

I really like dishes that contain all of the things you mentioned (szechuan peppercorn, fish sauce, tons of ginger, cumin, other fermented things), but I wouldn't put any of them in beef with broccoli.

I usually use some ginger (but not a ton, otherwise your dish will be more like "ginger beef with broccoli") and garlic, and maybe a bit of onion, depending on if you like that. Then rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, corn starch, broth (chicken or beef or whatever), and oyster sauce. I sometimes include the black beans, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes if I want the sauce to be slightly sweeter, I add a small amount of sugar.

I think you could somewhat easily make a Thai-style version of beef with broccoli, using garlic, fish sauce, sugar and a small amount of soy as a seasoning.

Aug 01, 2014
Dave MP in Home Cooking

Did I hallucinate this eggplant recipe?

About a week ago, I made the stuffed eggplant dish from the Turkish section of Claudia Roden's cookbook Arabesque. I actually changed several things in the stuffing recipe, but as far as her technique, I followed the directions, which use the slit method you describe. I used Chinese eggplants, which were on the soft/ripe side, and I peeled off strips of skin so that the eggplant had vertical stripes. I gently pan-fried the whole eggplants to brown them on all sides, and only then did I slit them and stuff them. Because the eggplants had become softer due to the pre-frying, they were easier to slit and stuff, and the resulting shapes were canoe-like. I was impressed by how much stuffing actually fit—way more than if I had tried to do it while they were still raw.

This recipe involved stuffing the eggplants with meat, but I imagine a similar technique could work with imam biyaldi.

Dave MP

Aug 01, 2014
Dave MP in Home Cooking

Mochi at Yuen Hop (Oakland Chinatown)

To answer one of my own questions: they open every day at 8:30 AM

Mochi at Yuen Hop (Oakland Chinatown)

Just to clarify: they are filled with a mixture of black sesame and peanut butter?

They look good, and I'll be on the lookout for these. Any sense of what time Yuen Hop opens in the morning?

My Chowhound Wedding

Looks beautiful! Congratulations!

Jul 28, 2014
Dave MP in Home Cooking

Chili House at 8th and Clement? [San Francisco]

I ate at Chili House for the first time tonight, and unfortunately didn't have that great a meal. The main problem was that everything was much too salty. Actually, if that hadn't been the case, it would have been just fine.

The Yunnan Rice Cakes were pretty good, and the noodles themselves had a good texture (i.e. not overcooked), but there was minimal sauce (less than in hyperbowler's picture) and it was only mildly spicy. Overall, just much too saltiness, especially the bits with the pork, which are super salty to begin with.

Spicy dumplings -- Also much too salty, but otherwise pretty good. The dumpling filling tasted very salty to me, as did the sauce. I think I prefer the wonton version of this dish, though, so I would order that next time.

Seasonal Chinese broccoli with garlic -- Too salty, but otherwise would have been good.

Mu-shi pork, served w/ pancakes - A pretty typical American-Chinese version, which wasn't bad, aside from the fact that it was.....(you guessed it): too salty.

Not sure if others have that this experience, or whether it was just an off night (Monday), but I probably wouldn't return based on this one meal, despite the interesting menu and the friendly service.

Dave MP

Jul 28, 2014
Dave MP in San Francisco Bay Area

Phoo Pwint Store - Source for Burmese Pickled Tea Leaves in the Inner Richmond, SF

Despite the red color of the packet, and the little picture of a red chili that's included, this is the NON-spicy version. I forget the color of the spicy version.