Posted by: oysterculture | February 8, 2009

News Flash: Oxen run rampant through SF Chinatown

Hot off the presses!  Oxen were spotted running through the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown and reports are coming in that this phenomenon is playing out in Chinatowns around the world.  Your intrepid reporter raced to the scene, and the following is an eyewitness account of what she found.

Approaching Chinatown via Kearney Street with great trepidation, I noticed something was different, not quite right, but it was hard to put my finger on it; excitement stirred the air.  The closer I got to Chinatown, I noticed people gathering along the sides of the street, small children running wild with noise makers and generally wreaking havoc.  Turning the corner, and hoping for a moments respite, I chanced upon this scene:

chance encounter in Chinatown

chance encounter in Chinatown

 I was not prepared for the scene, far worse than I imagined, not just oxen, but dragons, too! 

Feeling the need to calm my nerves, and those of my companions, we dashed into Capital Restaurant for a moment’s reprieve, and some sustenance to see us through the evening.  We ordered noodles, figuring we needed all the luck we could get, and some of the salt and pepper chicken wings for which the restaurant was famous.  

Capital's Famous Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings

Capital's Famous Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings

Mongolian Beef Chow Mein (Noodles for Luck!)

Mongolian Beef Chow Mein (Noodles for Luck!)

An editorial decision was made to not show the carnage that followed.  Once our bellies were full and our waining nerves restored, my trusty companions and I set forth to see what was taking place.  Be forewarned, the pictures may shock and surprise you!  
The dragons are closing in!

The dragons are closing in!

A ship passing in the night - in Chinatown!

A ship passing in the night - in Chinatown!

More dragons - they're closing in!

More dragons - they're closing in!


To insure good fortune to all, dear readers, I’ve included a recipe for Dan Dan Noodles, that I modified from Fuchia Dunlop’s marvelous book:  Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper:  A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China.

Xie Laoban’s Dan Dan Noodles

200 g dried Chinese flour & water noodles

For meat topping:

  • 1 T   peanut oil
  • 3    Sichuanese dried chillies, cut in two with seeds discarded
  • 1/2 T    whole Sichuan pepper
  • 25 g    Sinchuanese ya caior Tianjin preserved vegetables, rinsed (Fushia does not say to rinse, but I think it is too salty otherwise)
  • 100 g   ground beef 
  • 2 T   light soy sauce

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 T  ground roasted Sichuan pepper
  • 2T   seasame paste (tahini)
  • 2 T   dark soy sauce
  • 4t  chili oil with chilli sediment

1.  Heat 1 T peanut oil in a wok of medium heat.  When oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chillies and pepper, and stri fry briedfly to get the oil spicy and fragrant.  Do not burn the spices.  Add the preserved vetegtables and continue to stir fry until hot and fragrant.  Add the meat and continue to stir-fry until the meat is brown and a little crispy but not too dry.  When meat is cooked, remove mixture from the wok, and set aside.  

2.  Mix the sauce ingredients together and divide among the serving bowls.

3.  Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.  Drain and add a portion to each serving bowl.  Sprinkle with meat mixture and serve immediately.

4.   Before eating, give the noodles a good stir until all is combined.  Enjoy! 

The entrance to Chinatown - has calm returned?

The entrance to Chinatown - has calm returned?

 The dragons and oxen seem to have disappeared as quickly as they came.  The streets of Chinatown have returned to some semblance of normality.  The only signs of the awesome spectacle of last night are the shreds of torn police tape and crowd control  barricades left behind in the mad scramble to exit the scene. 

Gentle readers the sights were awesome, the colors and sounds so vivid, I hope you can someday share the experience.  I look forward to repeating this event next year.  I will brave the streets of  Chinatown any day for more salt and pepper wings and chance encounters with dragons.

GUM LUNG:  Long Luck!



  1. Love the dragons and their colors. Those dry-fry chicken wings look so good!

  2. I had a lot more pics, but for some reason WordPress seemed to be telling me I reached my limit. Some of the floats were really creative. Those wings were incredibly tasty – this place had 50+ reviews on Yelp and the vast majority mention the wings, which has to tell you something.

  3. Intrepid or what? Dragons no less. How brave of you to risk life and limb to bring us your glorious report! 🙂

  4. I’ll risk life and limb for those chicken wings and to bring you the latest happenings =)

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