China Bee, San Mateo

China Bee
31 S. B Street
San Mateo, CA 94401

After my aunt and I paid our mother’s day respects to my maternal grandmother and great grandmother, we headed down to San Mateo for an early dinner. Since I was in charge of which restaurant to go to, I decided to pick China Bee based on its fairly good reputation and my mom’s love of Taiwanese food. We got to downtown San Mateo at about 5:15PM but I had to circle another 20 minutes to find parking as it seems everyone was out for dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day.

We sat down and looked at its one page menu to see what we wanted to eat. Even with a one page menu, though, it was hard to pare down the choices. Should I choose three cup chicken? What about the stir fried glutinous rice cakes my mom liked to eat? It was a little hard to decide, but we ended up getting the following:

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at China Bee

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at China Bee

  • Spicy Beef Noodle Soup – The broth was nice, packing a very dark beef broth with a good amount of chili oil to give it some kick. I loved the chewy wheat noodles as well. The one downside, however, was that the beef itself was not as tender and moist as most other places I have had.
  • Shanghai Style Chow Mein – This dish was okay, though the noodles were thinner Cantonese style white noodles than the thicker, doughier noodles that I was used to. I wished that the flavor of the sweet soy sauce could come out a little more and that they added more vegetables.
China Bee 2

Stinky Tofu at China Bee

  • Stinky Tofu – While the fermenting smell was fragrant, there was a lack of fermented flavor when we bit into the tofu pieces. Perhaps it was lost when the tofu was deep fried? The vinegar soy sauce at the bottom of the bowl was a nice compliment, however.
China Bee 3

Green Onion Pancakes at China Bee

  • Green Onion Pancakes – While the layers on the inside had some flakiness and the outside was fried well, on the whole these were pretty doughy causing more chewiness than better green onion pancake.

All in all, the food was perfectly decent but nothing to write home about (but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a blog post). It was a nice place to eat with my aunt, though it only intensified cravings for Taiwanese food in Southern California. On the Taiwanese food front, it seems that nothing in the Bay Area can compare to Southern California, just like any Cantonese dish I cook now pails in comparison to my mom’s more exquisite cooking.


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