Y’all know that I love me some noodles, so it’s a shock that I haven’t written about my favorite noodle place in the Bay Area: Shan Dong restaurant in Oakland. They have fresh, hand-made noodles that cost $1 more per dish, but it’s a no brainer: you gotta get them. I’m not exaggerating when I say that their noodles have the perfect texture.
I am particularly fond of the Szechuan noodles (dan dan mien), pictured above, as well as the satay beef noodles. The chow mein is decent, even though I don’t usually order it. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for the noodle soups, since my dining companions are not usually in the mood for them. However, the waitress once obliged my request for a stir-fried version of one of the noodle soups, which was excellent. (Did I mention the servers here are super nice? Well, they are!) Not all of the noodles are good here, however. I’ve been disappointed by both the ja jiang mien and the sesame paste noodle. Both were oily without much flavor.
Anyway, the other thing that’s very good at Shan Dong are the potstickers. I used to order dumplings (steamed), but I was always a little disappointed by the thick skin that quickly became soggy after only 5-10 minutes. When I saw the potstickers on the menu, I was like, “Eureka!!” Since that glorious day, I have only ordered potstickers. The thick, homemade dumpling skin is perfect for frying. The filling could be better, but I’m not going to complain.
OK, on to the non-noodle dishes: I must say this is Shan Dong’s weakest point. Granted, I haven’t tried that many dishes, but the ones I have tried (e.g., mu shu vegetables, dry braised green beans, sizzling rice soup) were nothing to write home about. But, really, who cares? I will gladly trade great noodles for so-so Chinese dishes.
When TC and I found out that my new apartment would be a mere 6 blocks from Shan Dong, we made a pledge to limit ourselves to one visit every 2 weeks. So far, we’ve done really well — only one visit over the last month. There are just too many other places to try, but I know that Shan Dong will definitely be in our regular rotation.