Input on Chinese Food 101 Itinerary
I solicited suggestions from folks in the fall, and I've finally started settling on an itinerary for my one week class (April 2-6). Please chime in with warnings and suggestions. If you think there are better places to go, or places where we're more likely to get someone willing to talk w/ the kids about the food still need a good Hunan candidate. I wouldn't mind making a pit stop for some Salt Baked chicken along the way. Current plan is to move South to North.
R & G Lounge
Lam Hoa Thuan
Spices! 3 (focusing on Taiwanese stuff)
Lily's House (chosen over others at least in part because of Lily's enthusiasm about talking to the kids)
As yet unknown Hunan offering.
- The original comment has been removed
I'd be tempted to drop one of the HK/Cantonese places and add in a hot pot place like Zone 88.
How about a HK cafe-style place that serves drinks and snacks for one lunch -- there are a couple in Oakland Chinatown (Shooting Star, Yummy Guide)? Maybe not traditional cuisine, but reflective of the current food trends in parts of Asia.
I generally prefer Great Eastern's BBQ plate to R&G's though I have more other types of favorites at the latter. And, I'd suggest Joy in Foster City for Taiwanese, and you can take the kids for a beach walk afterwards. Lily's House is a great choice.
After more thought and input from everyone, I'm thinking of the following itinerary. There are times where I have not chosen the best exemplar of a regional cuisine, simply because the one I chose made travel easier, was less likely to be a zoo during the lunch hour, etc.
Monday, starting in the South:
Great Eastern (SF) for BBQ and seafood
Lam Hoa Thuan (SF)
Tuesday, continuing in the South:
Spices! 3 (Oakland) for stinky tofu
Legendary Palace (Oakland) for dim sum
Wednesday, starting to move around a bit:
Henry's Hunan (SF) for smoked ham, shredded beef
Ton Kiang (SF) for salt baked chicken, pork belly w/ preserved greens
Asian Restaurant Chifa Peruano (SF)
Thursday, heading East & West:
China Village (Albany)
Lily's House (Lafayette)
Friday, heading North:
Lu Lai Garden (Milpitas)--not really northern, but I thought it would be nice to look at the influence of Buddhism on food at the same time we check out Islamic food.
Great China (Berkeley) for Peking duck and double skin
So...I would appreciate more input. Especially on the following:
1. Is there a better Hunan option in SF (or Oakland/Berkeley)?
2. Any not to be missed dishes at the places listed? Keep in mind that we're focusing on regional cooking, so it would be better not to confuse things by having a Sichuan dish at Ton Kiang, where our focus will be Hakka.
3. Any dishes that should be missed?
4. Beyond stinky tofu, what would you recommend as typically Taiwanese at Spices! 3?
5. Should I try to squeeze in a hot pot interlude? If so, where and on which day?
6. Most important of all, can anyone help me with this? http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381098 Sorry to make you click on the link, but my original mention of it was removed (for being off topic, I suspect). So please look at my link to the media board.
Thank you for your help!
re: Melanie Wong
The package of lamb I saw was maybe around 20 rolled thin strips of lamb meat. I don't remember the price, and I can't guess the weight. If their dumpling prices are any guide, their food is maybe 25% cheaper than the equivalent in a restaurant, so it's no bargain. But, man, I've never tasted dumplings as good as the pork-chive dumplings from there. I'm savoring my large purchase and haven't yet tried the chicken-cabbage, the pork-shrimp-chive, or the lamb-carrot-onion (he promised there's a touch of cumin in there when I asked) dumplings, or the pork wontons.
re: david kaplan
You are probably right. The sign in the front window (I think it said "Now serving....") made me wonder if they had a dining room for hot pot hidden away in the back. And their website has a picture of two people sitting at a chimney-style hot pot in a restaurant. Wishful thinking, I suppose.
I'm answering your question #4.
I've not been to Spices 3, but go to 1 & 2 frequently and I hear the menus are more or less the same. For some recommended Taiwanese dishes (they are VERY typical of TPE street food)
- beef noodle soup
- pork chop rice
Also, for a sampler hot pot that's not per head... try the bandit lamb hot pot.