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2009/4/10-20 [Reference/BayArea, Recreation/Food] UID:52840 Activity:moderate
4/10    Is there a good soup noodle place (like Din Tai Fun) in the Bay Area?
        I went to HC Dumpling today, which had pretty good soup noodles, but
        it paled in comparison to the SGV.
        \_ Corrected: I meant to ask for a soup dumpling (XLB) place! -op
           \- yes, i have modeled you brain.
              some what amusingly, i went from San Francisco to a famous
              XLB place in the middle of chinatown in singapore, and when
              i got there, it turned out they were closed (on Wednesday?!).
           \- yes, i have modelled you brain.
        \_ what do you mean by 'good soup noodle' ?    Theres a good vietnamese
           noodle place in milpitas area -- Pho Kim Long.  -ERic
           \_ Vietnamese place in the ranch 99 area in El Cerrito
                \_ That place is called Saigon II and its is pretty good.
           \_ Heheheh hehehe, he said fuk-him-long. -Beavis
                \_ I've seen a chain called Pho King too.
        \_ Hy Kai Mi Gia in the TL.
        \_ Pho Tan Hoa in SF is good.  The various TK noodle Houses are good
           too.
           \_ Did you know that TK Noodles is now different than TK Noodle
              House? The brothers got into a fight and split their chains
              both with the word TK Noodle in them. Also, TK Noodle is so
              dot-com-ish, as retro as Boba Tea. Din Tai Fun is hip today,
              kind of how Boba Tea was back in the 90s.
              \_ http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/11.14.96/noodles-9646.html
              \_  Tung Kee vs. New Tung Kee: http://www.csua.org/u/nyv
                  \_ I did, but I also knew the son who lived above the place
                     on Williams -!pp
        \- If you are talking about thin skin XLB, YANK SING is the standard
           for SF, but it is really quite expensive for DEEM SUM. For cheeper
           there are a couple of options but not totally a stardard ...
           Shanghai Dumpling King isnt bad. I thought a DTF branch was
           going to open up in the Bay Area ... maybe in South Bay?
           [assume you mean soup *dumpling* ... that is what DTF is known for]
           There is also a decent shen jian bao place in a south bay
           strip mall near the lawrence Fry's Costco etc.
           \_ Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. Yank Sing is
              exactly what I was looking for, but maybe somewhere a little less
              pricey. SDK (dumpling king) is on my list of places to try. Do
              you know the name of the place near Costco? I'll check it out...
              \- The place near Costco is something like SHANGHAI FLAVOR SHOP.
                 There special item there is the SHEN JIAN BAO. There is also
                 FU LAM MUM near the Mtn View train station ... not top flight
                 DEEM SUM but ok. Are you really looking in "the bay area" or
                 are you really looking in the south bay. There are also
                 supposed to be some good Sichian and other Chinese sub-genre
                 places in Milpetas/Fleemont but I havent been to them.
                 \_ SF would be preferable but I work in the South Bay so that
                    can work too. I'll see if I can check out Fu Lam Mum. How
                    does Ton Kiang compare to Yank Sing?
                    \- for XLB, YANK SING is the standard. for other DEEM SUM,
                       there are other options ... TON KIANG, the places in
                    \- for XLB, Yank Sing is the standard. for other DEEM SUM,
                       there are other options ... ton kiang, the places in
                       milbrae etc. BTW TPNTTK [aka "The Place Next To Ton
                       Kiang"] has some good stuff at good prices and there
                       are fewer WHITE PEOPLE waiting in line. However I think
                       are fewer White People waiting in line. However I think
                       they may have had an ownership or chef change so some
                       of the items like GIANT 60CENT FRIED OYSTERS may no
                       of the items like Giant 60cent Fried Oysters may no
                       longer be available. if you are in the sunset, here are
                       my greater china recommendations: TPNTTK, SHAGHAI
                       DUMPLING KING, SUPER PANDA KITCHEN, SPICES, ultra cheep
                       DA CAFE late night menu, possibly CREATIONS DESSERT.
                       my greater china recommendations: TPNTTK, Shaghai
                       Dumpling King, Super Panda Kitchen, Spices, ultra cheep
                       DA Cafe late night menu, possibly Creations Dessert.
                       TK is controversial ... i wouldnt veto it, but i wouldnt
                       pick it. you might also try the GIANT $1 PORK BUN at
                       CITY BAKERY at 20th and Noriega. if you commute down
                       the penisula, you can also analyze EVERYDAY BEIJING
                       FISH DUMPLINGS and SUNNY SHANGHAI XLB.
                    does Tom Kiang compare to Yank Sing?
                       pick it. you might also try the Giant $1 Pork Bun at
                       CITY BAKERY at 20th and Noriega.
                        \_ Awesome thanks! --psb #1 fan
                        \_ TPNTTK is called Golden River.
        \_ Went to DTF on Saturday. Showed up at 10:30 and didn't have to
           wait in line at all. Craziness. Someone mentioned that they opened
           up another shop down the street. It was as good as I remember it...
           -op
2022/08/19 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
8/19    

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Cache (8192 bytes)
www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/11.14.96/noodles-9646.html
Archives McNoodles cooking staff Christopher Gardner People are catching on to Tung Kee Noodle Houses for a tasty and inexpensive bite By Andrew X Pham CURIOSITY LURED me into Tung Kee Noodle House years ago. Swathed in ethnic flavors and configured for corporate efficiency, the restaurant appeared to be dishing up something unusual. The unbeatable prices and the ethnically diverse crowd impressed me, but it was the poster of a short-order cook flaming a wok that crystallized my first impression of the restaurant. His composure beamed not with the traditional joviality of poster chefs--his was the hard intensity of a fighter, a man out to carve his own empire. It was, I later discovered, the very face of Tung Kee Corporation's CEO, Mr Tan Lu. Tung Kee Noodle Houses are no strangers to the South Bay. The first restaurant, located on William Street in San Jose, flashed its red-and-green neon sign in 1983. The latest and greatest restaurant, the seventh, just opened last month on Barber Lane in Milpitas. Approximately 7,000 people turn to Tung Kee daily for quick, inexpensive bowls of noodles. Open every day, the chain serves nearly 50,000 meals a week. With a clientele composed of 50 percent non-Asian patrons, there is no doubt Tung Kee Noodle Houses have successfully made the giant leap into mainstream culture. In the ethnic world of mom-and-pop diners, establishments survive by either serving authentic food in Spartan settings to a limited ethnic population or by catering to the mainstream with Westernized menus. So far, only Tung Kee Noodle Houses thrive in this no man's land, somehow tapping into not one but several groups of diners. It all began with a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant who neither spoke English nor had any restaurant experience. In 1978, Tan Lu, wife Anh Du and their four children fled Vietnam. Like many Vietnamese refugees at that time, they bought passage on an organized escape boat that was bound for Malaysia, a closer and safer destination than Hong Kong or Thailand. Their group of 36 made it to Malaysia, where they were granted political asylum. The family spent one year in a Malaysian refugee camp, waiting to emigrate. Soon after the United States approved their applications, the family found itself transported from the stifling tropical heat directly into the punishing cold of Chicago. After a year of learning English, working at Togo's as a sandwich maker and saving prodigiously, Lu promptly took his family to sunny California. Three more years of work yielded Lu and Du a modest savings. Although neither Lu nor his wife had any restaurant experience aside from his brief stint at Togo's, they borrowed and pooled all their savings to buy Tung Kee Restaurant at 261 E William St. They believed the restaurant would give them a chance, albeit a dicey one, at being their own bosses and getting ahead. Despite its dilapidated condition, the restaurant was a good investment because they could live above the business and save on housing costs. kitchens Christopher Gardner Hands-on Operation: A precise yet frantic energy pressurizes the cooking staff at any one of the busy Tung Kee Noodle House outlets. The restaurant's former owners were in the business for a quick profit. They specialized in setting up and operating Chinese restaurants for a brief time to show that these businesses were profitable ventures. Then, as soon as possible, these professional entrepreneurs sold their businesses to recent immigrants who were not savvy about details involved in building a business from scratch. Usually, cooking instructions and management tips were thrown into the bargain to see the new owners through the transition period. They labored seven days a week, year-round, a merciless drive that built a successful chain of seven restaurants in 13 years. "It wasn't easy, but we worked hard and took it one step at a time," Lu says in a soft voice, sitting in his flagship restaurant on William Street. A small, compact man, soft-spoken and humble but intense, he wears the same uniform as his waiters, white short-sleeved shirt and navy blue slacks. Pens line his shirt pockets, and a cellular phone clips onto his belt. About the restaurant's name, Lu confesses, "Tung Kee doesn't mean anything. To avoid losing the customer base and filling out paperwork, they simply kept the name. "We went carefully," he confides, "and watched what other successful people were doing because we were new to the restaurant business. We could have opened the second and the third restaurant a long time before we did, but we just waited until our customers demanded it. Our restaurant became so crowded that we had to open another restaurant or lose the business to someone else." Already competition has come from unexpected quarters: the New Tung Kee Noodle Houses (a fast-growing chain of three restaurants), whose owners are former business partners and relatives of the family. The Tung Kee formula seems to be so successful that New Tung Kee Noodle Houses are spitting image of the originals--and equally successful. The familial faction took with them the restaurant name as well as the business formula. And since those involved are relatives, the families decided not to drag each other into court on infringement charges, but instead remain on non-speaking terms. Customers, both the dine-in and takeout crowds, are often confused by the two chains, requesting items that one chain has and not the other. New Tung Kee expanded the original menu and offers five more entrees, including a vegetarian dish and even a version of pad Thai noodles. What the new chain lacks are the corporate posters depicting the rise of the family corporation, with photos of various restaurants. But everything else remains the same: the Chinese-Vietnamese waitstaff, the neon signs, the neutral dining-room color scheme, the customized kitchen layout, the Formica tables and indestructible benches. The two chains are so similar that the Tung Kee Corporation has commissioned a new logo to distinguish itself. And what else should this one resemble but the corporation that Mr Lu holds in high esteem: McDonald's. The new logo is a gold noodle bowl against a red square. Like McDonald's, the Tung Kee menu forms the backbone of the chain's success. Dishes are common entrees, familiar and accessible to a large segment of both Asian and non-Asian diners. Noodle soups--the biggest sellers--reach a broad spectrum because the broth, unlike other Asian soup broths, is bland, with only traces of Chinese herbs. The moderation of flavors is tolerated by Asian diners and accessible to non-Asians. Tung Kee achieves these rock-bottom prices through streamlined operations and rigorous cost control. The efficiency-driven corporate ideology is most visible in the kitchens. Although the actual setups vary slightly, all Tung Kee kitchens employ the same implements: three cauldrons, specially designed imports from Hong Kong, form the heart of the entire establishment. Two hold soup broth, and one boils water for blanching noodles and vegetables. One single wok, set over extremely high flames, cooks all the stir-fry dishes and crispy noodles. One large pan fries all the sensitive ingredients the wok can't handle. Besides these, a large rice cooker and a industrial-size water boiler for tea provide all the assistance necessary to service the whole restaurant. A certain precise yet frantic energy pressurizes the kitchen, exciting motion among the cooks and sending the waiters ricocheting out into the dining room bearing steaming trays of food. The process, from receiving orders to handing back steaming platters of food, is carefully orchestrated. Lu says he intends to keep the prices the same "forever." He insists, "We have not raised our prices in the 13 years since we first opened. In the newest restaurant, the waitstaff will take orders on palm-top computers with wireless links to a central computer. This saves staff the time it usually takes to re-enter their orders into a touch-screen ordering computer--thereby eliminating one major bottleneck. The central computer sends the orders to monitors in the kitchen, prints the re...
Cache (8192 bytes)
www.csua.org/u/nyv -> www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/11.14.96/noodles-9646.html
Archives McNoodles cooking staff Christopher Gardner People are catching on to Tung Kee Noodle Houses for a tasty and inexpensive bite By Andrew X Pham CURIOSITY LURED me into Tung Kee Noodle House years ago. Swathed in ethnic flavors and configured for corporate efficiency, the restaurant appeared to be dishing up something unusual. The unbeatable prices and the ethnically diverse crowd impressed me, but it was the poster of a short-order cook flaming a wok that crystallized my first impression of the restaurant. His composure beamed not with the traditional joviality of poster chefs--his was the hard intensity of a fighter, a man out to carve his own empire. It was, I later discovered, the very face of Tung Kee Corporation's CEO, Mr Tan Lu. Tung Kee Noodle Houses are no strangers to the South Bay. The first restaurant, located on William Street in San Jose, flashed its red-and-green neon sign in 1983. The latest and greatest restaurant, the seventh, just opened last month on Barber Lane in Milpitas. Approximately 7,000 people turn to Tung Kee daily for quick, inexpensive bowls of noodles. Open every day, the chain serves nearly 50,000 meals a week. With a clientele composed of 50 percent non-Asian patrons, there is no doubt Tung Kee Noodle Houses have successfully made the giant leap into mainstream culture. In the ethnic world of mom-and-pop diners, establishments survive by either serving authentic food in Spartan settings to a limited ethnic population or by catering to the mainstream with Westernized menus. So far, only Tung Kee Noodle Houses thrive in this no man's land, somehow tapping into not one but several groups of diners. It all began with a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant who neither spoke English nor had any restaurant experience. In 1978, Tan Lu, wife Anh Du and their four children fled Vietnam. Like many Vietnamese refugees at that time, they bought passage on an organized escape boat that was bound for Malaysia, a closer and safer destination than Hong Kong or Thailand. Their group of 36 made it to Malaysia, where they were granted political asylum. The family spent one year in a Malaysian refugee camp, waiting to emigrate. Soon after the United States approved their applications, the family found itself transported from the stifling tropical heat directly into the punishing cold of Chicago. After a year of learning English, working at Togo's as a sandwich maker and saving prodigiously, Lu promptly took his family to sunny California. Three more years of work yielded Lu and Du a modest savings. Although neither Lu nor his wife had any restaurant experience aside from his brief stint at Togo's, they borrowed and pooled all their savings to buy Tung Kee Restaurant at 261 E William St. They believed the restaurant would give them a chance, albeit a dicey one, at being their own bosses and getting ahead. Despite its dilapidated condition, the restaurant was a good investment because they could live above the business and save on housing costs. kitchens Christopher Gardner Hands-on Operation: A precise yet frantic energy pressurizes the cooking staff at any one of the busy Tung Kee Noodle House outlets. The restaurant's former owners were in the business for a quick profit. They specialized in setting up and operating Chinese restaurants for a brief time to show that these businesses were profitable ventures. Then, as soon as possible, these professional entrepreneurs sold their businesses to recent immigrants who were not savvy about details involved in building a business from scratch. Usually, cooking instructions and management tips were thrown into the bargain to see the new owners through the transition period. They labored seven days a week, year-round, a merciless drive that built a successful chain of seven restaurants in 13 years. "It wasn't easy, but we worked hard and took it one step at a time," Lu says in a soft voice, sitting in his flagship restaurant on William Street. A small, compact man, soft-spoken and humble but intense, he wears the same uniform as his waiters, white short-sleeved shirt and navy blue slacks. Pens line his shirt pockets, and a cellular phone clips onto his belt. About the restaurant's name, Lu confesses, "Tung Kee doesn't mean anything. To avoid losing the customer base and filling out paperwork, they simply kept the name. "We went carefully," he confides, "and watched what other successful people were doing because we were new to the restaurant business. We could have opened the second and the third restaurant a long time before we did, but we just waited until our customers demanded it. Our restaurant became so crowded that we had to open another restaurant or lose the business to someone else." Already competition has come from unexpected quarters: the New Tung Kee Noodle Houses (a fast-growing chain of three restaurants), whose owners are former business partners and relatives of the family. The Tung Kee formula seems to be so successful that New Tung Kee Noodle Houses are spitting image of the originals--and equally successful. The familial faction took with them the restaurant name as well as the business formula. And since those involved are relatives, the families decided not to drag each other into court on infringement charges, but instead remain on non-speaking terms. Customers, both the dine-in and takeout crowds, are often confused by the two chains, requesting items that one chain has and not the other. New Tung Kee expanded the original menu and offers five more entrees, including a vegetarian dish and even a version of pad Thai noodles. What the new chain lacks are the corporate posters depicting the rise of the family corporation, with photos of various restaurants. But everything else remains the same: the Chinese-Vietnamese waitstaff, the neon signs, the neutral dining-room color scheme, the customized kitchen layout, the Formica tables and indestructible benches. The two chains are so similar that the Tung Kee Corporation has commissioned a new logo to distinguish itself. And what else should this one resemble but the corporation that Mr Lu holds in high esteem: McDonald's. The new logo is a gold noodle bowl against a red square. Like McDonald's, the Tung Kee menu forms the backbone of the chain's success. Dishes are common entrees, familiar and accessible to a large segment of both Asian and non-Asian diners. Noodle soups--the biggest sellers--reach a broad spectrum because the broth, unlike other Asian soup broths, is bland, with only traces of Chinese herbs. The moderation of flavors is tolerated by Asian diners and accessible to non-Asians. Tung Kee achieves these rock-bottom prices through streamlined operations and rigorous cost control. The efficiency-driven corporate ideology is most visible in the kitchens. Although the actual setups vary slightly, all Tung Kee kitchens employ the same implements: three cauldrons, specially designed imports from Hong Kong, form the heart of the entire establishment. Two hold soup broth, and one boils water for blanching noodles and vegetables. One single wok, set over extremely high flames, cooks all the stir-fry dishes and crispy noodles. One large pan fries all the sensitive ingredients the wok can't handle. Besides these, a large rice cooker and a industrial-size water boiler for tea provide all the assistance necessary to service the whole restaurant. A certain precise yet frantic energy pressurizes the kitchen, exciting motion among the cooks and sending the waiters ricocheting out into the dining room bearing steaming trays of food. The process, from receiving orders to handing back steaming platters of food, is carefully orchestrated. Lu says he intends to keep the prices the same "forever." He insists, "We have not raised our prices in the 13 years since we first opened. In the newest restaurant, the waitstaff will take orders on palm-top computers with wireless links to a central computer. This saves staff the time it usually takes to re-enter their orders into a touch-screen ordering computer--thereby eliminating one major bottleneck. The central computer sends the orders to monitors in the kitchen, prints the re...