Chong Qing Xiao Mian
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This is the first place I ate at when I moved to SF. My friend told me it was "okay" but I'm not sure what he was talking about - this place is great.
Be warned, if you don't like spicy food this place probably isn't for you. They do have a pork bone broth noodle that's pretty good and not spicy though, so don't worry if your masochist friends drag you here.
For me, I live for the pain, so the first time I got the dan dan noodles. The noodles had a nice chewy texture to them, and the broth and ground pork made me sweat a little. Good stuff.
I tried the pork bone broth the next time, along with scallion pancakes and liangpi (cold skin - it's made of rice flour not human calm down). Both side dishes were pretty good, but the scallion pancakes won out in this round. Nice and flaky and crispy... everything I could want in a scallion pancake.
The pork bone broth noodles were great too, with a nice variety of pickled vegetables in the soup, with the same great chewy noodles. I had to add chili oil to it though because I'm no wuss.
If you're looking for a solid noodle joint in Chinatown, come here. Don't expect stellar service unless you speak either Cantonese or Mandarin, and expect to wait during meal times, but food is good enough that it makes me crave it randomly during the week when I'm having a mediocre catered lunch at the office.
I'm still crying how delicious my Braised Short Rib Noodle dish was and it was probably one of my fave highlights from my recent San Francisco trip. Visiting China Town is a must for anyone visiting SF; however, I am now going to be an advocate for Chong Qing Xiao Mian because not only do you get your bang for your buck (is that how the saying goes?); however, your taste buds will be crying tears of joy.
Now there are a ton of options around this area, but we were in much need of a soup or noodle dish to soothe our throats as they were a little rough from all the drinks/shots last night. Plus noodle dishes are perfect for illness and hangovers...
The broth from my dish had such a punch I should've fallen out of my chair with every sip I had. The noodles were cooked perfectly and the dish honestly could've served two people. What really had me in awe was how the meat fell off the bone so quickly. My friend let me dig into her Spicy Mustard Noodle dish and that is another great option.
Keep in mind this isn't an open-seat restaurant as you'll need to sign in at the very front.
This place was unassuming, but really good! I had the wohan dried noodle. It was spicy, but not so much that I couldn't taste the other flavors. I hope I have time to return!
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