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Jan 30, 2002 05:14 PM

Chowhounds needed to scout Chinese Restaurants in Oakland Chinatown

  • h

I saw many Chinese restaurants in Oakland Chinatown. The ones posted in Chowhound were just a few. I tried several but there are sooo many of them. Pls share or try them and then share.

Some I tried long ago and could not remember the dishes very well.

-Peony: it's OK but not spectacular.
-Yung Kee BBQ: not good.
-Jade Villa: pretty good selections last time.
-Battambang: so-so. Popular w/chowhounds
-Silver Dragon: not very impressed
-Happy Season: too long ago

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  1. I like Gum Kuo for pressed duck and rice porridge. It's downstairs from Peony. I hear Sushi King next door is good, they have some special dishes. Last time I went by they had used computers and boxes stacked inside near the front door -- either they're moving or they just have bad feng shui. Anyway, I haven't been yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: diligent
      Nathan Landau

      Well, some of us have been trying to see if we can make a go of Friday chowhound lunches in Downtown Oakland. This week's site is booked, but maybe next week's could be in Chinatown.

    2. I second your question, Han!

      When I was a kid growing up in Oakland in the '60s and early '70s, Silver Dragon was the place (before they built the fancy location it's in now, where I've only eaten once). Then for a while it was a more modest (but supposedly more "authentic") place called New China where my Jewish grandfather always asked them to tell him what was on the Chinese menu (Gramps was clearly a chowhound ahead of his time). Then he started taking us to a place called the Golden Eagle. The New China is long gone, as I believe is Golden Eagle (it was next to the Golden Peacock on Webster).

      But in the great Chinese food revolution of the late '70s, my family stopped going to Oakland Chinatown (forsaking it for the new "northern" Chinese places in Berkeley), and aside from dim sum I've only eaten a handful of meals there in the last 25 years.

      Where do we start?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I started trying to make my lunches more interesting by going to a different resturant once a week for lunch in Chinatown.(One that I have never been to before) I did recently get sidetracked to one Mexican resturant and a BBQ, but both were new to me.

        1. re: Gatun

          That's a good start, but one person eating lunch doesn't really have much of a chance to explore the menu. Also, sometimes restaurant food can be striking different between lunch and dinner.

          Maybe if you find one that particularly strikes your fancy you can arrange a chowhound dinner so we can check it out more fully.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Its something I have been doing for years in many different countries, and have started here. I don't have the oppurtunity to do dinners. As far as scouting a chinese resturant out...its the food I eat the least of so I would not be the one to ask for a chowhound dinner.

            The last oakland chowhound lunch,there were three of us, and I don't see anymore interest in this weeks lunch, a bit disappointing.

            1. re: Gatun

              "The last oakland chowhound lunch,there were three of us, and I don't see anymore interest in this weeks lunch, a bit disappointing."

              There are (I think) four on for Hyang Won tomorrow, with one new face. Not a huge group, but at least we won't need reservations...

              What seems optimal -- again, this might just be me -- would be some sort of web page with a listing of "proposed lunches": meeting location and time, restaurant, possibly links to reviews, min/max numbers of people. People could sign up. If they provide email addresses as well (optional) they could be notified the day before if the minimum hasn't been met.

              It's one of those things on my todo list. Along with fifty others, and little free time in sight. Sigh...

              1. re: Marc Wallace

                I saw a review of the Hyang Won - link below. It's Korean restaurant.


          2. re: Gatun

            The idea of trying a different Chinatown restaurant once a week is a good one... but Ruth's point about it being difficult to judge from just one meal is good, too.

            I'd love to have a sort of casual system: people meeting at some location every Wednesday for lunch, whoever shows up then goes as a group either to a new suggested place, or they wander around and try someplace new.

            The only problem is that it would really bite to arrive, wait around, and have nobody else appear...

            How many people would be interested in such a system, and think they would probably come at least 1/2 of the time? So long as at least eight people will say 'aye', it might be worth a shot.

            1. re: Marc Wallace
              Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

              This would work for me. The casualness is good. I don't usually know what city I'm having lunch in until that morning. Keep us posted.

              On 9th Street, I like King Wah, as good beef chow fun as I've had in the East Bay. Got that "hot wok" taste. right next door, Pho Hoa Binh has the second-best tasty, clean broth I've ever had, after Pho Ao Sen.

              In the early 70s, our whole group household would go en masse for the chicken salad at the "Golden Beagle".

              1. re: Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

                To go to a chinese restaurant, it is better with more people. That way, you can sample more dishes. Some time ago at a chowhound dinner, we sampled like 20 dishes. It was quite a blast.

                Maybe one of you guys/gals who works in that area near Oakland Chinatown can post a chowhound gathering- pick a place that has potential(some might not look pretty but has a heck of delicous food).

                Also an idea to spot a fellow chowhound is to wear the Chowhound T-shirt (hmmmmm that's what it's for). Then right away, you got a dining/lunch companion.

                1. re: Han Lukito

                  I bought a couple of chow buttons that I keep with me. Great for when you're meeting someone you don't know what they look like -- or even spying fellow hounds while dining out.

                  While not as noticable as a T-Shirt, they never have to go in the wash and you can wear them everywhere.


        2. Pho Hoa Lao II (3?3 10th) was bad.

          I went there on one of my "try a new place every day this week!" weeks, dragging two officemates along. This was so traumatic that the others stopped coming with me to new places (and I gave up on that week).

          The pho was very greasy, and the beef wasn't terribly well trimmed. Only a small amount of the side veggies came with it. One person ordered the pork chop over rice (one of the few non-soups) and thought it was almost edible.

          1. I've had dim sum at Tin's Teahouse a few times, and thought it was pretty good (and as a Chinese SF native, believe me, I've had a fair amount of dim sum in my life.) Tasty, and not too greasy.

            Any other opinions?

            It's at 701 Webster. There's a tiny tiny parking lot around back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: katie young

              I agree that Tin's Tea House is good for dim sum. Actually, that's what I did for lunch today... nice assortment, freshly made.

              It's one of the few dim sum places where I feel comfortable, even though I only speak English. Had a lot of trouble the times we've gone to Peony or Jade Villa without a native speaker. (at Jade Villa last time, "what's in that?" would invariably get the answer "pork", which was also invariably wrong...)

            2. s
              Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

              I love this idea, but I wonder if it might work better as an early dinner--say 5:30 or 6--instead of, or in addition to, lunch. That might allow a little more leisurely pace, little less pressure to get back to that hot monitor. Cocktails, too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

                Why not take a lead and organize it ?

                1. re: Han Lukito

                  If it for dinner and depending on the date I would attend. I think that one of the place you said was bad serve a dish that I have not had anywhere else. We drive all the way to Oakland to have it. Ying Kee serves a " fish skin" won ton. I do not know how it is made, but it is the thinnest smoothest won ton skin I have ever tasted. The rest of the cook is nothing special, but passable and cheap.