Last month Peter Yee and I were foiled in our attempts to have pani puri and chaat for lunch. Likewise, the new chicken place that has replaced Dumpling and Noodle (or was that Noodle and Dumpling?). We pushed ahead along El Camino Real and settled on an old favorite, Tong Soon Garden, which was bustling at late lunch hour.
Some years since my last visit, I’m sorry to report that it is a shadow of its former self. We tried two noodle dishes and the spicy chicken wings.
No idea what the wings are called on the menu, we couldn’t find it. But every table has an order and our waitress knew what I wanted when I described them. The sauce was not nearly as spicy nor garlicky as my recollection. Fried well and still tasty, but I’d had better here before.
Korean-Chinese fried chicken wings in spicy garlic sauce
Of the two noodles dishes, the spicy seafood noodle soup (chao ma mian) was better to my taste, though Peter might disagree. Calamari, clams and shrimp were tender and not overcooked, but the soup stock lacked depth. Also, I’d asked for “medium” spicy, and this was far less than that.
The dan dan noodles I found plain weird. Hardly any spice at all, this is the first serving of dandan I’ve ever seen that wasn’t stained with red oil. It almost tasted like yellow bean paste or something similarly starchy. Also the noodles were cooked too soft.
Chao ma mian and dandan mian
Tong Soon Garden
3240 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051