Long ago, London hound“limster” was dedicated to chowing at every Chinese place on Geary Blvd. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1632... Not sure how far he got, but I followed his example last week when I found myself in the neighborhood and picked a spot that I’d not been to before, Five Happiness.
Having pegged it as a hole-in-the-wall based on the street view, I was surprised to find a more elaborate interior of dark woods, traditional Chinese furniture, and classic décor, albeit a bit dinged and shopworn. Especially notable are the trio of giant carp swimming energetically in a small tank. When asked, my waitress said they were about 11 years old.
As others have mentioned, the menu romps around all the major culinary regions of China. The dumpling, noodle and small eats page alone has 56 items! At first I thought this might be a “Mandarin” restaurant under Shandong ownership, but the inclusion of a number of Taiwanese specialties, Taiwanese breakfast on weekends, and omni-China approach points more toward Taiwan.
I passed on the $5.95 lunch specials to order “42. Shansi Mu Shu Chow Mein (Sliced Noodles), $7.95.” This came with a complimentary bowl of lukewarm creamed corn and egg drop soup that wasn’t very good.
The knife-shaved noodles were stir-fried with thin slivers of pork, cabbage, carrots, green onions, and scrambled eggs. The eggs really added something, imparting an extra savory depth. And, I was happy there were no bean sprouts. The noodles were of varying widths and thicknesses and more chewy than doughy, just the way I like them. This dish glistened with a bit more oil than the version at Shanghai House, and lots more flavor.
Diversity is creeping into the San Francisco Chinese scene. I’m still dazed that I’ve had knife-cut noodles at two different restaurants in the City in two months. Plus the ones at Su Hong in Palo Alto, so that now a dish that was once considered uncommon around here is not so hard to find any more.
A few months ago “calalilly” recommended the Peking duck at Five Happiness,
I’d love to hear some specifics on other dishes where this restaurant excels.
4142 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
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