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Dec 5, 2006 05:03 AM

BC Deli - beyond banh mi

They have a really delicious steamed rice cake - it's rice flour and and coconut milk, steamed in a big slab, topped with seasoned ground pork, cilantro, and fried shallots, served with nuoc cham. At room temperature or slightly warm, it's ok, but when heated to steaming hot, it's delicious. The texture loosens to a pudding-like consistency, and it absorbs the flavors of the topping and the sauce really well.

They also have an extensive noodle soup menu (only part of it is represented by the picture menu on the wall) that I'm working my way through. They thoughtfully package the noodles separate from the broth for take out, so the noodles aren't overcooked by the time you get back. So far, I've had a basic pho (with a good anise-y broth) that wasn't earth shattering, but was pretty great for take out, and a seafood soup (with fish balls and krab) that had great thick chewy rice noodles, but a disturbing translucent orange gelatinous lump at the bottom that I think may have been the broth base.

BC Deli
818 Franklin St (bet 8th and 9th St)
Oakland, CA

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  1. Thanks, I have always wondered about the other food there. The pho always looked good. I just never have time to walk all the way there and sit and eat.

    1. Bot Chien Tieu Chau - (#15 on the take out menu)- fried rice flour cake with scrambled egg in Chowzhou style. I think it's the same rice flour cake I described above, but panfried until it's super-dark and crispy on the outside, puddinglike on the inside. Fried with scrambled eggs (scrambled hard and brown, which I don't usually like, but works with this dish) and some sweetish pickled vegetable. Looks ugly, tastes great.

      Banh Xeo - (#1 on the take out menu) - rice flour crepe with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, herbs - probably wasn't the best choice for take out, as the bean sprouts gave off a lot of water and soaked the bottom of the crepe, and the top of the crepe was a little more tough than crispy. Flavor was great though. Chicken was a little bland and overcooked, but shrimp was well cooked. And they pack an entire garden of herbs, along a couple of large leaves of romaine, in a separate bag.

      3 Replies
      1. re: daveena

        Thanks for posting this follow-up, daveena. Sounds like taro rice cakes, judging from the color, love that Teochew dish and will have to try it there.

        1. re: daveena

          I thought taro makes things a little purple-brown? These cakes are pure, chalky white, but pan-fried to a dark brown on the outside.

          Dish of the day:
          Bun Tam Bi Nuoc Dua (#25 on the take out menu) - shredded pork & coconut over big vermicelli. This was quite delicious. Along with the pork, toasted coconut, and rice vermicelli, there's fried shallot, and a judicious amount of mint and scallion. Bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot,and more herbs are off to the side, and it comes with a small container of warm coconut milk, as well as a container of nuoc cham. This dish would actually travel quite well, if you had to go more than a few blocks.
          Oh, the phone # for take out is 510-286-9978.

          1. re: daveena

            Is the coconut milk an additional dipping sauce or do you mix it to taste with the nuoc cham? Or drink it? Whatever, this sounds like my kind of lunch ~

        2. I think you're supposed to mix it, and the nuoc cham, into the noodles, to taste... and if you're not, well, it tasted pretty good when I did it...

          (oops - this is in response to foodfan's post - can't figure out how to cancel this one and repost it appropriately...)

          1. Had the Bun Bo Hue yesterday - light, cinnamon-y beef broth (with a bit of MSG, I'm afraid), a few thin slices of beef, a pig knuckle, and a few cubes of pork blood. I really like the noodles they use - round rice noodles about the thickness of thin spaghetti. Cilantro and scallion in the bowl, rau ram (I think) with bean sprouts, jalapeno, and lemon on the side.

            For a while, they weren't making the shredded pork and coconut over big vermicelli (#25) that I love, but it's back, and it was very, very good today. So was the rice cake with scrambled egg.

            4 Replies
            1. re: daveena


              B C Deli Sandwiches
              818 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

              1. re: daveena

                Thanks for the recommendation, Daveena. Am in Oakland again on business - will love to try the steamed rice cake at BC Deli.

                BTW, this is off topic, but just had a great masala dosa dinner at Pasan Madras in Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, this evening - just wondering what you thought of the place.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  Hey klyeoh - welcome back!

                  The steamed rice cake is in a pan sitting on top of the other steam table pans, near the window - they'll cut a few slabs off it when you order. I don't think it's on the sit-down menu. I think it's supposed to be eaten room temperature, but I like it heated up.

                  I liked the branch of Pasand in the South Bay, but there was a major scandal involving the owners (the Yelp reviews go into a bit of detail on this) and I haven't been to the one in the East Bay. If the East Bay branches correlate with their South Bay brethren, Udupi Palace might be better (I actually haven't been to any of the South Indian places in the East Bay! I'm saving up my ghee allowance for a trip to Komala Vilas in Sunnyvale


                  While you're here, see if you can get in a meal at Camino, which just opened in Oakland

                  1. re: daveena

                    Omigod! Thanks for letting me know about the Pasand/Lakireddy scandal - that's 7 years ago, have the ownership changed hands? Still, I thought the food's pretty authentic - I'm still going back for the upuma (one of my fave dishes in the whole wide world).

                    Will check out Camino one of this evenings - thanks for the heads-up.

            2. Daveena, I'm flying back to Singapore this evening. Been in Oakland for the past 2 weeks but was so busy I didn't have time to check out BC Deli - until this afternoon! Traipsed over for the steamed rice cake which you recommended. You were right - it was delicious! I'm hooked!!