Tian Jin Dumplings And Xi An Gourmet | Tasting Table San Francisco

Two new restaurants add to the Bay Area's culinary map of China

Sichuan, Shandong, even the far-north Dongbei Province: You can now easily find restaurants specializing in these regions' cuisines.

Not so with the food of Tianjin and Xi'an–until this fall. Two new places add these markers to the Bay Area's culinary map of China.

Tian Jin Dumplings, a tiny window in Oakland's Chinatown, serves a few familiar boiled dumplings; we prefer the pork and chive shui jiao ($7 for 15), wrapped in thin, al dente skins.

More unique is one of Tianjin's best-loved street foods: jian bing guozi ($4). A thin crepe, its surfaces gilded with scrambled eggs and flecked with scallions, is wrapped around long, crisp crullers. A starchfest, yes, but a flavorful one, thanks to smears of hoisin and chile sauces.

Xi An Gourmet's pork sandwich

Xi An Gourmet, in the Inner Richmond, is a new incarnation for the former San Dong House BBQ, which decided it was high time to introduce San Francisco to the sturdy, homey foods of this midwestern Chinese city and hired a Xi'an-born chef.

Choose from the Xi'an specialties listed on the wall. Favorites from our visits are the Shaanxi sandwich with pork ($4), a thick round bun stuffed with five-spice-scented shredded meat, and the yard-long Shaanxi hand-pulled noodles ($7) tossed with savory oil, black vinegar and chiles.