Today I drove to Dalat in San Jose intending to enjoy a light lunch of hu tieu. On the corner of the same block I noticed a fast food “Chinese” place called Fortune Cookie. Somehow that sounded vaguely familiar, and then I remembered the tip from chowhound “tanspace” that the Shandong owner and chefs from Korean-Chinese restaurant, China Way, were now here. Change of plans . . . I may not be in Beijing for the Olympics, but I can enjoy the Shandong-style version of zha jiang mian (ZJM) made here with hand-pulled noodles.
One of the staff was wearing a China Way t-shirt, and the pleasant man in charge confirmed that China Way was his restaurant. Fortune Cookie has a steam table set up and the other customers were choosing eggrolls and General Tso’s chicken for their take-out. The overhead menu though includes hamburgers and a few cooked-to-order dishes such as “noodle in black bean sauce” or zha jiang mian and “combination spicy noodle soup” aka chao ma mian, both $6.50.
Prepared “dry-style” here, the black bean sauce was studded with seared bits of pork, small juicy shrimp, carmelized onions, and zucchini.
The hand-pulled noodles were a darker shade than I’ve seen before and topped with slivers of cucumber.
Initially, I spooned less than half the black sauce onto my noodles because I wanted to taste how concentrated/salty the flavors were first. The owner came over to my table saying, “More sauce, more sauce!” and I did need to use all of it. The noodles were a shade less chewy than ideal, but still good and I liked their silky and dense mouthfeel.
Fortune Cookie is the type of spot that I’d usually avoid like the plague. It just goes to show you that chowish meals can be found in unlikely places.
10 Beijing Dishes: What to eat at the 2008 Olympic Games in China by Fuchsia Dunlop, http://www.chow.com/stories/11258
414 E William St, San Jose, CA 95112