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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.

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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.

I got:

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.
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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.

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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!!

Hrs:
10a-8p daily

CASH ONLY

Ruth's report:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434073
Rworange mention:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433965

some pics here:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow...

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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

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  1. Gary Soup RE: hhc Aug 26, 2007 10:14 PM

    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.

    1. choctastic RE: hhc Aug 26, 2007 10:21 PM

      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.

      4 Replies
      1. re: choctastic
        Gary Soup RE: choctastic Aug 26, 2007 10:57 PM

        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...

        http://flickr.com/photos/garysoup/123...

        1. re: Gary Soup
          choctastic RE: Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 07:56 AM

          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.

          1. re: choctastic
            Gary Soup RE: choctastic Aug 27, 2007 08:23 AM

            I guess I didn't express myself clearly. I meant to say that it's quite apparent that the SF Napoleon Super Bakery is not what it once was. I was agreeing with you observation, not contradicting it.

            1. re: Gary Soup
              choctastic RE: Gary Soup Aug 27, 2007 05:52 PM

              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.

      2. Ruth Lafler RE: hhc Aug 26, 2007 10:31 PM

        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.

        1. Dave MP RE: hhc Aug 26, 2007 10:40 PM

          Nice report and pictures. That ice cream looks good - pretty good deal for 2.50

          1. lexdevil RE: hhc Aug 27, 2007 11:47 AM

            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).

            11 Replies
            1. re: lexdevil
              daveena RE: lexdevil Aug 27, 2007 12:41 PM

              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.

              1. re: daveena
                DezzerSF RE: daveena Aug 27, 2007 03:13 PM

                Yeah I agree with the thick wrappers at Tao Yuen. I've found Delicious Food to be better as well. I've also tried Sum Yee at 918 Webster and didn't have much luck. I don't know if it was an off day but the siu mai literally tasted like it was 3 days old and resteamed.

                1. re: DezzerSF
                  daveena RE: DezzerSF Sep 12, 2007 12:35 PM

                  I think Sum Yee probably has the worst dim sum out of all of the Oakland Chinatown places... agree that it tastes and feels days-old.

                2. re: daveena
                  l
                  lemoncoke RE: daveena Aug 27, 2007 03:15 PM

                  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!

                  1. re: daveena
                    lexdevil RE: daveena Aug 27, 2007 04:57 PM

                    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.

                    1. re: daveena
                      Melanie Wong RE: daveena Aug 28, 2007 12:29 AM

                      I'm not a Tao Yuen fan either. Sometimes visitors from Oakland bring some over, and we end up throwing it away. Too doughy and greasy. Empty calories and undelicious.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        k
                        klyeoh RE: Melanie Wong Sep 11, 2008 08:35 PM

                        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.

                        1. re: klyeoh
                          Ruth Lafler RE: klyeoh Sep 11, 2008 10:51 PM

                          Have you had other pork buns in Oakland? Ruby King is my favorite.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            k
                            kc72 RE: Ruth Lafler Sep 12, 2008 12:29 PM

                            Liked the baked bbq pork buns from Wonder Food Bakery on 9th -- haven't had them in many yrs though

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              k
                              klyeoh RE: Ruth Lafler Sep 12, 2008 01:14 PM

                              Had Ruby King's once, but it was cold already - bought by a colleague much earlier. I got my Tao Yuen bun freshly-baked (8am in the morning) - maybe that's why it tasted better.

                        2. re: daveena
                          daveena RE: daveena Aug 28, 2007 07:30 AM

                          Link to the dim sum place on 8th near Franklin

                          -----
                          Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum
                          382 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

                      2. daveena RE: hhc Sep 12, 2007 12:41 PM

                        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?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: daveena
                          t
                          Tom Simonson RE: daveena Sep 12, 2008 11:35 AM

                          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.).

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