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Why Doesn't San Francisco Have Better Sushi?

Unfortunately, that is what happened when something so simple becomes so successful internationally. Every culture adds a little bit of their own influence to the process, and everyone on the street thinks that they know how to make it, and try to reinvent it without really understand what it is first.

Traditional sushi uses a mixture of vinegar and sugar in the rice mix. Most sushi here in the US probably use the wrong type of rice as well. And most don't add a tad of wasabi in their nigiri. But these differences are probably the result of different preferences. And like you said, price probably has something to do with it to some degree.

Down here in the South Bay, most sushi places have been taken over by Koreans who put salt in their rice mix, and Chinese, who don't put anything at all. Haven't visited THAT many sushi places in town, but there are still two places that I know of in the area that are fairly traditional in their sushi-making: Tomi in Mt. View and Kitsho in Cupertino. I have not been to either place for a while, but Tomi seemed to be as popular as ever if not more. The owner at Kitsho was rumored to be retiring soon. But it is still open the last time I checked.

Although we do eat sushi here, we just think of it as "american food", and set our expectation low. I get my real sushi fix when I visit Asia. Even the sushi box from a grocery store in Japan tastes better than anything here in the US. We are still somewhat blessed here that at least it tastes like Sushi. I had some in London, and they may look somewhat like Sushi, but they did not taste anything like Asian food to me.

If you have not seen the documentary on this Sushi chef in Japan, check it out. It took his apprentice 10+ years of training just to make a decent piece of Tamago. When I was growing up, I lived a few doors down from a Sushi chef who had been making sushi for 30+ years. His son had taken over the business about 20 years ago. Even in a simple piece of Tuna Nigiri, you can taste the difference between the father and the son.

Jun 03, 2013
gundam91 in Features

Taiwanese lunch today in Cupertino... help me choose between....

For some reason, Taiwanese restaurants just can't seem to survive in this area. Taipei 101 has the best stinky tofu. The first time I had it there, I had the same experience as that food critic from the movie Ratatouille. Every bite brought back memories of my childhood eating in the night market from southern Taiwan. I stopped by a few weeks ago for lunch to find that they have closed. I think A&J has folded as well.

Mama Chen's is the best out of the three mentioned. But my wife still likes Liang's best beef noodle soup the best. There is another one (廟口小吃, Grand Harbor) in a strip mall on the northeast corner of Warm Springs & Mission in Fremont that is decent. There is a brand new mall complex right next to it, the Taiwanese restaurant in there branched out from LA. They used to be in Milpitas but folded many years ago. This time around, the food is not even worth mentioning.

Michelle's is interesting with various types of fried buns(餡餅), but the best one ( for fried buns 生煎包) is this hole-in-the-wall place called Shanghai Flavor Shop on Old San Francisco Rd. Different style, but really good. Don't get anything else there though.

Thai noodle soups in south bay?

Finally made it to this place for a late lunch. The price for the roast duck noodle soup is $10 for lunch and $12 for dinner. Not sure if there is a size difference, but the price seem slight steep for what you get.

Bottom line: good enough that I would stop by if I need a roast duck noodle soup fix since it's less than 10 minutes away.

Good: the flavor of the soup base is about the same as places up in SF & Berkeley. "Authetic" enough. (Since I've never been to Thailand, so this means close enough to ones in SF/Berkeley).

Needs Improvement: only thin spaghetti-like rice noodle available. (I much prefer the fat 1/2-inch wide noodle.) A little skimpy on the duck & vegetables. Portion smaller. The dish seem to lack some depth, probably, in part, due to the things I pointed out.

I'll still give it 90 points in comparison to 100 points for my usual places up in SF/Berkeley.

Thai noodle soups in south bay?

I've been crazy about the duck soup noodle ever since I discovered it a few years back in a Thai restaurant in San Francisco. I've been looking ever since for a place here in the South Bay that has this dish. So far I have been disappointed by a few places that have these on their menu. And every time I go up to SF or Berkeley, all I think about was to stop by those restaurants for a quick bite.

My wife just told me about Buda Thai in Mountain View. It looks like they have this dish! The online reviews look good, and the pictures look like it's the real thing. Will be visiting this place in the next couple of days to find out....

Hakkasan, M.Y. China Make Weak Splashes in San Francisco

"Hakka" is a region in the southwest of China. The cuisine is NOT "Cantonese". It has its own distinct style and flavors.

Dec 17, 2012
gundam91 in Features

Taiwanese lunch today in Cupertino... help me choose between....

Nope. Different place. Mama Chen's will be next door to that little sheep hot pot place.

Taiwanese lunch today in Cupertino... help me choose between....

Haven't been to Mama Chen's for a while. Just went back today after reading the article. I did noticed that it changed to Mama Chef's. But it's the same folks that works there though. The interesting thing is Mama Chen is opening up a new place just about 1/2 miles down near Tantau on Steven's Creek. The signs are up, but it looks like they are still decorating the inside. This will be interesting, the battle of the three mamas on Stevens Creek.

Anyways, we've been on this beef noodle soup chase the past few weeks. We were just down in LA, so we tried the Chef Hung's noodle soup house in Irvine in the same plaza as 85 C Cafe. Chef Hung had been the champion of Taipei Beef Noodle Soup competition for several years. I thought it was pretty good, very neveau interpretation of the dish. But my wife thought it was so-so. She likes Liang's version of it, she used the exact description you had. Our other local favorite beef noodle soup place is A&J Restaurant in the Cupertino Plaza. Our conclusion of Mama Chef's version is that it is a very traditional version of the dish, nothing wrong with that. It has that home-cooking/comfort food feel & taste, definitely brings me back to my childhood when my dad, who's a beef noodle soup finatic, would drive a few hours to eat a bowl because someone told him that there's a good beef noodle soup vendor there.

The competition is good! Now we have choices. My wife's still fixated on Village Liang's. But I prefer the food choices at Mama Chef's.


We had the beef noodle-

in search of ginko nuts

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