Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Uncle Chen : San Mateo

On the East coast, for the most part, Asians have the tendency to self-segregate into areas where there are a large number of other Asians. As a result, good Chinese restaurants generally can be found in specific locations like Chinatowns or towns with large Asian populations. Eating good Chinese food also implies that the food has some authenticity. Otherwise, you're either eating at a fusion restaurant or just plain have a craving for crappy, greasy Americanized Chinese food.

But here in SF, things are subtly less clear-cut. I see a significantly greater number of interacial couples walking about. A number of older Asians can speak perfect English, as opposed to older Asians on the east coast who have a significant accent on their English if they even speak English at all. And lastly, you have places like Uncle Chen Restaurant, which is an Americanized Chinese restaurant, but has been a local institution for (what a sign said) 18 years.

Which gets me to the food. I ordered Mongolian Beef pictured above and while I wouldn't say it astounded me at any level, it was a good deal more refined that the standard Americanized Chinese food that I'm used to. The meet while a bit over-cooked, had an interesting blend of spicyness and a darker barbecue type sauce. Combined with the freshly fried white crispy strips and the vegetables, this American Chinese dish had had several iterations of refinement over the years. So while I'm not sure I'll ever return to Uncle Chen's Restaurant, it makes me a little curious as to whether there does exist an outstanding Americanized Chinese restaurant in the San Fran area.

Uncle Chen Restaurant
40 42nd Ave, San Mateo, CA (Map)
(650) 572-7989
($Chinese, $San Mateo)

1 comment:

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