Hi fellow ex-Chowhounds. Mr Taster here, formerly of the Los Angeles Chowhounds, calling out from the void up here in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s much harder to come across a good plate of 刀削麵.
My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ (LTA™) and I will be visiting the Bay Area, arriving San Jose, and we intend to grab a few excellent Chinese meals from the regional mom and Pop shops, like the ones we used to frequent in LA’s San Gabriel Valley.
Where to begin? SV is a huge place.
Are certain valley cities known for having better overall Chinese food? For example, am I going to get a level of cooking in Milpitas that I simply won’t get in San Mateo? (The LA analogue would be Rowland Heights having a slightly higher standard of cooking, and perhaps a deeper funkiness than Monterey Park). Rank your favorite SV cities for Chinese cooking! (And don’t forget to include where the city of SF ranks on that list.)
Also, would love to know if Milpitas Square is the best Chinese mall to visit (in terms of diversity of cooking styles and of overall quality). I’d read there’s one in Cupertino also… Any others you’d suggest?
Next: I’ve done some preliminary research on regional Chinese cookery, and have come across a staggering list from Chowhound:
With only a handful of meals in SV, which would you absolutely not miss?
I can tell you we are partial to excellent hand pulled or knife cut noodles, but also love Sichuanese, Islamic (Xi’an and Xinjiang) and Shanghainese food. LTA™ is Taiwanese, so a good 牛肉麵 is always welcome. A good traditional Beijing style 烤鴨 (with proper open hearth hanging oven and fruit wood) would be great too- I don’t think I know of any in the US producing a Quanjude quality duck. Avoiding Cantonese food, just because we can get that in SF proper, and even in Portland Chinatown(!)
Having laid out this criteria, don’t be afraid to suggest a Cantonese (or other region I haven’t listed) if the quality of cooking is exceptional.