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Aug 10, 2006 10:58 PM

Dim Sum in the East Bay

My husband and I are looking for a good dim sum place in the Berkeley and nearby vicinity area. We're not terribly picky as long as the food is good, fresh, and not greasy.

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  1. Not sure about the dim sum options in Berkeley, but King Tsin on Solano Ave. (might be on the Albany part of Solano) serves dim sum.

    There is also the restaurant inside the Pacific East Mall in El Cerrito/Richmond -- short drive from Berkeley.

    Otherwise, plenty of options in Oakland/Alameda.

    1. Just head to Alameda and go to East Ocean on Webster. It's outstanding and you can't beat the prices.

      1. Saigon on Pierce St. in Richmond, just south of the I-80 Central Ave exit. Get there early, fantastic seafood selections. (Saigon refers to an area of Hong Kong, not the old name of the city in Vietnam; it's not a Vietnamese restaurant.)

        3 Replies
        1. re: kevine

          Last I heard, Saigon closed down because of a serious fire -- has it reopened? If so, good news.

          1. re: Sarah

            still boarded up, it's a no go.

          2. re: kevine

            They really need to do something about parking at that Pacific East Mall. Too many restaurants for the size of the lot! (And the stoplight isn't very well timed, either.)

            Anyway, the place near the more Southerly front door was good for take-out. I was there about two months ago, and I can't recall the name.

          3. Great water views and decent dim sum at East Ocean in Emeryville at the end of Powell street, past Trader Vics and the marina.

            1. Richmond, right next to the freeway that rings the Bay. Sorry I can't remember the name. Huge, Chinese mess hall. In a strip Mall area with a big parking lot in front. Crowded at 11:30 am. I loved the plain rice porridge for $2. And there is nothing wrong with the dim sum. Lots of choices. And if you order from the non-dim sum menu thay have a lot of interesting fresh fish choices.

              9 Replies
              1. re: niki rothman

                You mean Daimo? Do they have dim sum?

                Or are you talking about the aforementioned Saigon Seafood Harbor?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  There's also a not-very-good dim sum place inside the Pacific East Mall (Daimo is a freestanding building in the mall parking lot, and Saigon Seafood Harbor is in a separate lot next door).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    The not-very-good (very apt description) place is called Asia(n) Pearl, across from the Thai(?)knick-knack store.

                    1. re: Sarah

                      what's wrong with Asian Pearl? I have had some decent meals there this summer.

                      1. re: Sarah

                        to choctastic - no reply button to your post, so I'm here instead. Went to Asian Pearl twice for dimsum. Once in its early days and then again the day after the Saigon fire. My husband who has never met a hah gow he didn't like, did not like AP's -- not the texture, not the taste. I couldn't verify due to shrimp allergy. The chicken feet definitely had an off taste, perhaps due to some strange spicing; they also needed more cooking time. The tripe was perfect the first time and were tough and cut in huge pieces the second. Good both times were the sticky rice packets wrapped in leaves.

                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Hi RL & RL,
                      A coincidence, or actually the same person? I think it was Saigon and I would definitely go back there if in the area.

                      1. re: niki rothman

                        LOL! Definitely not the same person, although no one has ever seen us in the same place at the same time.

                        As the other posters said, you can't go back to Saigon because it's closed after their fire (to a person, everyone who hears that says "hopefully when they rebuild they'll improve the acoustics").

                        I'm interested to hear more about King Tsin. It was one of the first "northern/Mandarin" style restaurants in the East Bay, and when I first ate there almost 30 years ago, it was excellent. Then it went downhill and finally closed for a time. In the first incarnation I don't think they served dim sum -- some dumplings, of course, but not dim sum as a meal. As I said, it was a northern style restaurant, and dim sum is primarily associated with Cantonese and Hong Kong-style restaurants. So I guess I'm asking, is King Tsin still a northern style restaurant that also serves dim sum, or is it now a Cantonese/HK style restaurant?

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          King Tsin was where my parents took us kids for a splurge; I guess they tolerated children well. Now, the parents who ran it back then have retired and the kids took over. Dim sum is one of the significant changes to the menu, but there have been others. For example, "Spicy Shrimp" used to be cooked with only a very light powdering of starch, if any, and served in a very garlicky sauce. The shrimp now are breaded and the sauce, to my palate, less sophisticated (although I'm comparing teenaged memories here). When I mentioned that we liked it the old way, a gentleman at the front of the house (weekend lunchtime) said no problem, just ask.

                          By the way, if you participate in Mileage Plus "Dining Miles," King Tsin is in the program on some days. As if anyone would choose a restaurant based on such a paltry inducement. ;-)

                    3. re: niki rothman

                      Still wondering which place you're talking about.