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Portuguese in Easy Bay?

I've heard rumors that there is a Portuguese neighborhood of sorts in Oakland's Fruitvale, but can't find any info on this. I know there's quite a bit of Portugal in the San Jose area, but anything in the East Bay? (Looking to *matar saudade* for this summer's sardinhas, piri-piri, pasteis de nata e porto...Or any variation on the Portuguese diaspora.)

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  1. There are a lot of Portugese in San Leandro, but the one guy who opened a restaurant moved back years ago.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Wow, Robert. There's a major Portuguese store in San Leandro and it is still open. I called just to check it wasn't an old reference on the web.

      LUSO MERCADO DELICATESSEN

      15100 EAST 14TH STREET
      94578 SAN LEANDRO

      http://www.findarticles.com/p/article...

      http://www.marga.org/food/blog/archiv...

      And I thought I had found all the Portuguese food in the area. Thanks for asking the question Sarahann. I never would have thought to look in the Oakland area.

      1. re: rworange

        I'll have to check that out.

        While you're down there, check out Mangal's Market at E 14th and Thornton. Samoan and other South Pacific specialties I haven't seen elsewhere.

    2. Sadly, there's very little here in the East Bay. You can get some basic Portuguese ingredients (piri-piri, bacalhau, linguiça, various cheeses, and many kinds of vinho do porto) at the Spanish Table on San Pablo in Berkeley, if you're wanting to make Portuguese food at home. They've also got some basic summer comfort foods like Sumol that help a bit with the saudades (including ananás -- my fave).

      I've heard rumors about a Portuguese bakery in Hayward where you can actually get pasteis de nata, but haven't made it down there to check it out. You could try contacting UPEC in San Leandro or some other East Bay Portuguese organization to see if they have any advice. www.upec.org

      Please report back and let us know what you find!

      1. Interesting question. In this link, there is a mention of an old Portuguese neighborhood in Oakland called Jingletown (near Mary Help of Christians Church, East 9th St. and 26th Ave.)

        It says ...

        "By the 1910s the neighborhood had a strong Portuguese community, anchored by Mary Help of Christians Church. In recent decades the close-knit neighborhood has organized for rezoning and community improvements."

        http://www.oaklandheritage.org/2005_w...

        I don't know how much remains. I'll have to take a drive up that way and check it out. There's a Jingletown blog and you might ask there if anything Portuguese remains. It says ...

        "It is rumored that Jingletown got its' name in the 1930's when the predominantly poor Portuguese population would walk the streets in their Zoot Suits with hands in pockets jingling the little change that they had after they got paid for picking cotton."

        http://jingletownoakland.blogspot.com/

        Yeah, this is why I like Chowhound so much. Besides eating deliciously it often leads to so many interesting things.

        The only Portuguese business I know of is on International, but I've never checked it out or even know if they sell retail

        Moniz Portuguese Sausage
        510 261-4940
        1924 International Blvd
        Oakland, CA 94606

        As mentioned, in the East Bay, Spanish Table is your best bet.

        In Hayward, there is Hiser bakery which has some good pasteis de nata and a few other groceries.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        You could also check out Crossroads World Market in Hayward which has foods from various European countries. Never looked at it in terms of Portuguese food.

        However, Portuguese food central is that stretch in San Jose off the Alum Rock Road exit.

        1. I believe most of the Oakland Portuguese neighborhood (where my grandfather grew up) is long gone, even though its descendants are still around.

          Re: Moniz Portuguese Sausage, my family's been getting our linguiça there for years. Good stuff.

          rworange, thank you so much for the tip about Luso Mercado! I had no idea it existed. I'll go there this weekend. Hiser Bakery in Hayward is the one I'd heard about. How are the pasteis de nata? Do they taste like the real thing or is it like trying to find good French croissants in Berkeley?

          Now if I could just find some arroz doce, my weekend would be complete...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kitchen Imp

            La Salette in Sonoma usually has arroz doce on the dessert menu. Here's rw's description, scan down -

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks for finding the link, Melanie. I just love that arroz doce at La Salette.

              I had a good one at Portuguese Bakery in Santa Clara, but not as good as La Salette.

              Maybe the store in San Leandro has it as it says it it a deli.

              I don't know much about authentic. I just got interested in Portuguese a little over a year ago when I got a flyer in the mail about a Portuguese market in Rodeo ... and, well ... I get a little compulsive about things.

              I think they are good and at a special Portuguese dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewery, they served Hiser Bakery's pastéis de nata and the Portuguese people there were very pleased.

              My favorite though are from Popular Bakery. I also favor their quejidas too. However, Hiser is a close second. Using the Berkeley croissant comparison, to me, Popular is the Masse's of pasteis de nata while Hiser is the La Farine. Both fine products though.

              Here's my old Portuguese recap if you are unfamiliar with the San Jose Portuguese stores.

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              I'll stop by and give Moniz a try. Thanks again. Looking forward to reports about the San Leandro market.

          2. hello, I suppose you know about 9 Islands Bakery in Rohnert Park already, not in the East Bay of course, but no farther to go (depending on traffic and starting point)than San Jose/Santa Clara. I don't know how they're 'supposed' to be like, but we like their pasteis and get an assortment when we're in the vicinity on 101. cheers

            1. I found this post to be interesting and rather sad. I 'm Portuguese and was born in Oakland. Lived there for the first 10 years. I was not aware so many Portuguese have left Oakland. Wonder where they all went to. Hayward San Leandro / San Lorenzo and Castro Valley still have thriving Portiguese communities.

              Plenty of Portuguese places in Santa Clara.
              I miss the "old days" when East Oakland had a thriving community. On any given day fresh lingusia, eggs, rabitt, chicken, home made wine, just picked produce arrived on our doorstep. Every Tuesday the fish monger would slowly drive thru the street calling out "Fish- Fresh Fish"
              I can almost smell the yeast rising from the homemade sweetbread.

              Regards,
              Fifi