Category Archives: Chinese

Wangfujing

When in Beijing, eat Peking duck.

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This was at Quan Ju De, one of the restaurants popular for its Peking duck (another popular one down the street is Da Dong Roast Duck). I walked in without realizing that a) it was a three to four storey restaurant, b) there would be a line for the elevator, c) there would be a large waiting room for customers to get called their number, and d) there would be another 50 min wait until the duck could be served after being seated. Basically, it’s super popular and the experience leading up to the actual food felt quite unusual to me, like I was waiting to see a general practitioner in a hospital.

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I don’t usually enjoy eating ‘exotic’ things like liver but I actually quite enjoyed this one. The duck itself was, needless to say, great. Was totally stuffed after that feast so we spent some time walking along Wangfujing street, which included looking at more food…

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Wangfujing snack street has some interesting sights like live scorpions but that aside, I find it a little too crowded to want to come back here.

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Sweet Beijing

It was on my last day of Beijing that I tried the ubiquitous yogurt milk and Mongolian yogurt ice cream. Now I need to find a way to import them to Brunei cause I am absolutely hooked!

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On the same day, I tried the Wuyutea matcha soft serve that perpetually attracts a line at its Wangfujing branch. I love the strong powdery matcha taste but my soft serve was half melted by the time I finished snapping a picture of it ūüė¶

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Crazy that I crammed so much sugary stuff in one day but it was a now-or-never situation! The only other sugary stuff I consumed the other day was san xiong di bubble milk tea at Coco’s (Wangfujing) under Izzah’s recommendations. It had tapioca pearls, pudding and red bean, mmm.

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Final Food Adventures in San Francisco

As it turns out, I ended up postponing my food exploration to non-touristy areas in San Francisco to my last few weeks in the Bay Area. After my finals, I got the chance to explore some Vietnamese / Thai food in Tenderloin as well as some popular eateries at Richmond / Sunset.

I have always heard things about Tenderloin Рabout how I should avoid accidentally walking into Tenderloin, especially in the evenings, because of safety reasons. After finding out that Little Saigon was in Tenderloin, I simply thought to myself that I had to check out this place at least once. I have also never had banh mi before so I thought, why not? My friend and I went to Saigon Sandwich, a small place where you can supposedly find the best banh mi in San Francisco.

Roast Pork Banh Mi @ Saigon Sandwich, Tenderloin, SF

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This is evidently a go-to lunch place for a lot of people working in the area. I’m not surprised, considering how you only need to spend¬†$3.75 to fill yourself up – a steal in the city. My friend and I shared a roast pork banh mi and it was really delicious. I liked the baguette, the crunchy carrots and not to mention their sauce! Unfortunately, our eating experience was interrupted by a scary looking homeless person who kept knocking on the glass window we were sitting by. He was quite relentless and I was honestly scared but after awhile he left to bother some other customers waiting in line…

We then hopped to a Thai restaurant that Felicia absolutely loves called Zen Yai Thai. She had been evangelizing their mini boat noodles and after trying them, I don’t blame here for it. Their tom yum broth was pretty amazing and I also really enjoyed the broth in the our second boat noodle, which supposedly is made from curdled blood.

Tom Yum Boat Noodle @ Zen Yai Thai, Tenderloin, SF

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Beef (or Pork?) Boat Noodle @ Zen Yai Thai, Tenderloin, SF

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Excellent broth and noodles for $2.50 each and as Felicia recommended, get many different combos of boat noodles to share with your friends.

I got to try more Chinese food in the Richmond and Sunset area – more notably, Shanghai Dumpling King and San Tung Chicken Restaurant. Shanghai Dumpling King¬†is kind of known for their¬†xiao long baos¬†(soup dumplings) but unfortunately it fell short of my¬†expectations. I was initially a little put off by how red and raw the meat filling looked but it ended up tasting fine. However, I thought it didn’t have very much soup at all. Perhaps I was unlucky enough to get a mediocre batch of xiao long baos.

San Tung  Chicken Restaurant, on the contrary, lived up to my expectations. My friends and I had their shrimp and leek dumplings, sauteed Chinese long beans, and of course, their popular dry fried chicken wings. All of them were really great but too bad I was too hungry to even remember to take pictures before we devoured the food.

 

Oodles of Noodles

¬†I am absolutely a fan of noodles and there are days when I crave saucy, thick Asian noodles that aren’t like your greasy chow mein take out. One of the places in Berkeley that I know has pretty good noodles is Noodle Theory.

Upon stepping in, you’ll realize that this establishment caters to a different kind of crowd that you typically see in restaurants close to college – more mature, professional adults and more non-Asians than¬†you would expect from an¬†Asian noodle restaurant. This is probably because the food here errs on the side of fusion more than authentic Asian.

Pan Seared Duck Breast over Noodle in Spicy Red Curry

If there is one thing that Noodle Theory does pretty well, it is the sauces and soup that come with the noodles. My friend ordered a bowl of thick noodles with kimchi sauce – the special of the day – and I thought it was really good. I actually liked it more than my pan seared duck noodle in thai red curry, which after a while felt too rich. I’ve also had their other food items like spicy pork ramen in peanut lime broth – great, flavourful broth but a-okay¬†ramen noodle. I guess I had expected the Japanese type of noodle instead of the ones that come out of a Korean ramen packet.

Despite my dissatisfaction with the ramen noodle, I do like the sauces and broth in this place and I have made multiple visits to this place to experiment with the different items in their menu. This is the place to go if you are craving noodles but fancy something different and more upscale than your typical Thai or Chinese restaurant, and also if you are feeling a little more generous with your money.

Goes to Texas…

EATS VEGAN FOOD

Protein 2000 @ Veggie Heaven, Austin

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Trying out vegan food is always fun because I find it interesting to learn how good (if I am lucky) vegan food can be. Some vegetable proteins imitate the texture of meat pretty well. Protein 2000, which is made of soybeans and drenched in sweet garlicky sauce, is decent for fake meat. It is catered for American taste palates though. I was also intrigued by their brown rice because it came mixed with green peas I presume. Initially I thought it was strange but it started growing on me.

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GOES TO TEXAS … EATS CHINESE BBQ

Roast Duck and Pork BBQ with Rice @ Din Ho Restaurant, Austin
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I have not had cravings for baby back ribs or briskets but I was really in the mood for some Chinese food. Yelp led me to Din Ho restaurant, supposedly one of the most authentic and best Chinese restaurants in Austin. My excitement was built up when I could smell the barbecued meat from across the parking lot after getting of the bus and walking towards the restaurant.  The items on the menu were more affordable than I expected since this restaurant was given a two dollar sign on Yelp (the Roast Duck and BBQ Pork with rice cost me less than $9). I thought the roast duck was okay but the BBQ Pork was good. I do not usually like eating Chinese BBQ Pork because I am quite particular with the odor of Chinese pork but I actually liked this one. The meat was juicy and the texture good. However, I do think that both the pork and the duck could be a little more savory. All in all, the barbecued meat was good and this meal beats a lot of Chinese meals I have had in Berkeley for its price.

Home Cooked Food

Oyster Chicken and Kale @ My Humble Abode

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Oyster chicken with caramelized onions, sauteed kale with garlic, and brown rice . I present to you the first chicken dish that I have cooked in two months.

Having time to whip up an actual home-cooked meal (slapping turkey breast and cheese between slices of bread does not count) can be considered a luxury for me this semester. I have been subsisting on plenty of sandwiches, free food on campus and restaurant food. There was even one point when peanut butter jelly sandwiches were my staple for a week. Judging from all the pictures of food that I have been posting up here, my multiple attempts to go on a ‘diet’ have evidently failed.

Needless to say, I have not had very many nutritional home-cooked meals the past few months. This time round, I should make a New Year’s Resolution to just eat healthier in general.

Vegan Asian

Courtesy of my friend and Yelp, my first dinner in Palo Alto was a vegan dinner. Vegan food used to be synonymous to yucky back in the day when my only experience with vegan food was in my college dining commons. Ever since I lived in my own apartment, I started branching out of my dining options and discovered that soy meat and mock seafood don’t taste as bad as they sound and can be surprisingly good.

I was pretty excited to see what pleasant surprises Garden Fresh had in store for us. For our main entrees, we ordered honey walnut shrimp and Thai lemon chicken.

Garden Fresh @ Palo Alto, CA

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The texture of the honey walnut (soy) shrimp was nearly true to the real thing and the dish tasted very good. I was impressed.

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Thai lemon chicken was good but this one couldn’t fool us into thinking that the meat was legitly chicken.

Shanghai Bund

Pan Fried Pork Buns and Xiao Long Bao @ Shanghai Bund, San Francisco Chinatown

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This time I actually did some research on Yelp before walking into a restaurant in Chinatown and it paid off!

Dim Sum

Dim Sum @ Legendary Palace, Oakland Chinatown
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Quack

Needless to say, Day 2 of ‘detox’ flew out the window the moment I saw roasted duck on my dining table.