Gum Kuo Restaurant, Tao Yuen Pastry, Ruby King Bakery, & Nieves Cinco de Mayo, Oakland report w/ pics
- hhc Aug 26, 2007 09:50 PM
Gum Kuo Restaurant
This place is on the lower level of the Pacific Renaisance Plaza on the Left side if you're facing the Oakland Public Library.
It's a good size place though it was busy on Sun 8/26/07 when I went for lunch.
Since I was alone, I had to share a large round table with other parties.
I got my chicken jook $4.25 (with tax $4.65) and it's really tasty. It's boiling hot though so don't be in a hurry to eat it like me. The chicken is just so sweet and juicy. How do they do that? It's a huge bowl w/ lots of chicken pieces and some green onions on top. Really tasty.
Tao Yuen Pastry, Oakland
It's supposed to be one of the better dim sum take-out places in Oakland Chinatown and went here today 8/26/07.
I ordered by speaking & pointing in English so they speak both English and Chinese.
bbq pork rice rolls (5)
shrimp rice rolls (5)
pork & chive dumplings (6)
cocktail buns (6)
Total was $21.66!! Cash Only!! Seemed like a bargain to me.
Ruby King Bakery still has buy 3 egg tarts get 1 free, total $1.50 for 4 egg tarts. Good deal, pretty good not great.
Nieves Cinco de Mayo
Ice-Cream flavors available when I went: chocolate, vanilla, mint, eggnog, corn, guava, strawberry. Under sorbets: pineapple, lime, mango. Snow cones available too: small $1.5 and Large $2
I asked for 2 samples and she (the daughter) gave me a small metal spoonful of each:
elote (corn) - good
rompompe (eggnog) - good
I then got:
chocolate & strawberry in a waffle cone. My total was $2.50.
I enjoyed the ice-cream very much though it's not too heavy on flavor, they were just so nice and I want them to make it. Hope everyone can try it!!
some pics here:
Nieves Cinco de Mayo
3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
Tao Yuen Pastry
816 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607
Ruby King Bakery Cafe
718 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607
Gum Kuo Restaurant
388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Gum Kuo was probably busier than usual because of the street festival. I was there Saturday and most of the restaurants were full at midday, including Gum Kuo. I think it's usually easier to get a table.
Napoleon Super Bakery's egg tarts are better than Ruby King's. Flakier, bigger, eggier. They are 55 cents each. i don't know about any deals, would love to hear about them. Yeah, they're the same company as the Napoleon Super Bakery in SF Chinatown (on Stockton) but I personally think the Oakland one is vastly better in terms of baked goods quality.
Thanks for the ice cream tip.
At one time Napoleon Super Bakery was considered best of its type in SF Chinatown, but either it has gone downhill or tastes have changed. I'm not keen enough on bakeries to know which is the case.
I stopped for a wu gok (taro croquette) from a table in front of Big Dish. It was big and tasty though cold so I'm wondering haow Big Dish's offerings are under optimal conditions. I didn't try anything else because I also had a skewer from Cam Huong and a double order of xiaolong bao and a bowl of xian doujiang from Shanghai on Webster...
re: Gary Soup
Well, maybe others disagree with me then, or I was there on an off day. I was at both bakeries on the same day recently and based on that I felt I preferred the Oakland one. To be honest, I never really stopped by the SF one before, because Golden Gate is right there and reliably good.
re: Gary Soup
Oh my bad. The way I read it, I thought you were speculating it might be going down or that people's tastes (like mine) had changed from what they once were. If that were the case, I wouldn't know because it was my first time there.
Too bad it's not as good as the Oakland one. SNB's dan tat is about half the price of Golden Gate's version and yet still quite good, to my tastes.
Thanks for the report and the pictures of Nieves Cinco de Mayo. I think they only have ten spaces in their serving freezer, so there are never more than ten flavors available, even though he makes more than ten different flavors.
I've been going to Tao Yuen for years and find it very reliable and reasonable. One of my favorite items is a sticky rice steamed roll...no idea what it's called. It's not wrapped in a leaf. Instead, the sticky rice is inside the same dough as a steamed bun. The difference is that this appears to be made in long log-like rolls from which you buy slices. It's sort of a funny starch on starch experience, but I'm not against a chip butty or beans on toast either (I draw the line at tinned spaghetti on toast).
That's my favorite thing at Tao Yuen too! I find their dumplings too big and greasy, and the wrappers are too thick... but I still eat them on days when I don't have much time for lunch, because they're cheap and filling (5 dumplings, plus the rice roll, and I'm stuffed).
So far, I think Delicious Food Co. has the best take out dim sum that I've tried - their dumplings are much smaller, though (I do think size tends to be inversely correlated with quality with dim sum). I tried another place today (on 8th, near Franklin) fully intending to report back, but promptly forgot the name of the place. Anyway, their dumplings are big and greasy too, so DFC is still at the top of my rankings.
I agree that Delicious Food Co. is better too. Tao Yuen is really greasy. I ordered the Har Gow and Siu mai and the sui mai tasted like I was eating a lot of fat. It mad emy stomach queasy.
DFC is not as greasy and when I go in the morning for breakfast, it's really fresh. I like to get their dried shrimp rice rolls, with 1 har gow, and 1 siu mai. That makes my complete breakfast. Or it will be the pork porridge. With fresh sweet soy milk every time!
I tend to stick w/ the steamed buns and the sticky rice (either in lotus leaf or in steamed dough)...sometimes the curry beef turnovers. I agree that the steamed dumplings are too greasy...almost like they're coated in oil. I do, however, always like the ham sui gok, which is REALLY greasy...but I like the grease in this context.
re: Melanie Wong
I bought a few items from Tao Yuen for breakfast this morning (after 2 weeks in Oakland, away from Singapore - I hankered for some "Chinese food"). The only item I thought was good was the baked char siew bun. Not as good as those you'd get in Asia, or even London Chinatown, but probably the best in Oakland.
One more... tried Big Dish today. Not as good as Delicious Foods, but better than the others. Had a leek cake that was greasy but tasted fresh, and shrimp on sugarcane that was ok. Shu mai were too greasy but har gaw were ok (bigger and less delicately flavored than the ones at Delicious Foods). I forgot to write down the address, and it's not showing up when I try to link it (I think it recently changed names), but it's on 9th, between Webster and Harrison.
Have we covered all the takeout dim sum places in Oakland Chinatown yet?
I followed this thread with interest - I have been a takeout customer for the last 10 years or so at the pace of 1+ times per week. A few notes:
1) Most of the time I have been a Sun Sing or Tao Yuen customer. Since much of the time I get takeout and bring it home for breakfast, it matters to me when they open. Sun Sing opens at 7:30am every morning. Tao Yuen opens sometime later, around 8:15.
2) The two places have many items in common, but each has some items that the other does not - I think that Tao Yuen has a much wider range - particularly steamed gao of various kinds and the turnovers.
3) For some reason, in the last two years Sun Sing has lost quite a bit of business, although I have not noticed any real decline in the quality. As a result, there is almost never a line anymore - so if the other spots like Tao Yuen and Napoleon have big lines I always go to Sun Sing. As a side note, they reorganized and cleaned up the space behind the counter about a year ago. I would also rank them ahead of Tao Yuen and Napoleon as easier to negotiate in English.
4) For limited variety but decent quality, you can't beat the price of the steamed items at Napoleon - they are 3/$1 for typical stuff (har gao etc.).