Monday, July 25, 2011

Ming's Beef--a Palo Alto Favorite!

Category: Beef
Difficulty Rating: Medium

Ming's Restaurant in Palo Alto (CA) has been a local favorite since 1967. They are famous for their gourmet Chinese cuisine and upscale panache. "Ming's Beef", which is sort of like Beef Satay without the sticks on fried rice noodles, was one of my family's favorites.

Yes, my family loved Ming's. My mom even threw me a "Sweet Sixteen" party there. All my friends and I dressed up in evening gowns and sat at a large round table. It was so grown-up and wonderful. Until I, with a sweeping gesture, accidentally knocked the trays out of a passing waiter's hands. I really am SO talented. You could hear the crash and splinter of dishes in the next state.I felt really bad! After apologizing profusely and trying to help the waiter pick up his dishes, I consoled myself with this wonderful dish...


2 T cornstarch
2 T sherry
2 T soy sauce
2 T oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T sliced fresh ginger root
2 T sugar
1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain into 3-inch strips
4 oz saifun noodles (also called rice or cellophane noodles), dry
Oil to fry noodles and for stir-frying (sorry, do not use olive oil unless it has NO flavor at all)
1/4 C oyster sauce


Mix the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl or 9X13 pan and add sliced steak strips to marinate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer. Fry saifun (rice) noodles in large (10-12 inch) skillet or wok in 1 inch oil. When puffed (a few seconds), remove to paper towels to drain.

Heat an additional 2-3 T oil in pan. Remove ginger root from marinade. Add meat mixture to work; stir-fry for 2 minutes or until meat changes color. Add oyster sauce; cook another minute or two. Serve over fried noodles. Use a little minced chives or green onion as a garnish if desired. Note: Make extra--this will serve about 3 people.


  1. Oh, the memories! I grew up in Menlo Park and my parents took me to Ming's every year for my birthday, my request, and I miss it so! We moved to Miami, Florida when I was nine, and several years ago, I took my son to Ming's on a trip back to California. Ming's used to give out their recipes on professionally printed recipe cards and my mother had two or more in her recipe box. I inherited and treasure them. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Do have any other Ming's recipes I could get from you?? I grew up in Menlo Park and Mings was our FAVORITE restaurant ever!!!

  2. I remember the original Ming when they were located on El Camino Real back in the 60's. I'm going to try this recipe. Any others you can post would be great.

    1. I first went to Ming's when I was 18 months old (in a basket), when it was on El Camino. That's 1959ish. By the time I could walk I could use chopsticks. Steve the bartender used to make me incredible Shirley Temples, with a lemon corkscrew down the center. Remember when those big, fluffy colored garlic and shrimp rice chips used to come out of the hole in the wall by the bar?

      Ming's moved to that big location in Palo Alto in the 60's, and the quality stayed the same. That was my birthday spot for ages, I so loved the Ming's Beef and Pressed Duck. Frank took some chefs and some staff to open Tao Tao in the 70's. Danny sold Ming's, and opened another restaurant in Palm Springs that was very popular with celebrities for some time. Tao Tao remained exactly the same for almost too long (it was getting kinda creepy - peeling wall paper, stained ceiling) but they finally updated it a few years ago. I still sort of miss coming in the back door, the smell of urinal cakes and that seedy dark bar.

      Unfortunately my Mother misplaced the recipe for Ming's beef and some others - it was a real PIA to prepare (multi-step), as is their chicken salad - but I still have that recipe!

    2. Can you post the recipes you do still have?