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Mar 2, 2008 11:21 AM

"Hole in the wall" Chinese on Peninsula?

My roommate's looking for the sorts of neighborhood Chinese joints you could get a good -- maybe not amazing, but good -- lunch at inexpensively. We live in Foster City, so Foster City itself and San Mateo would be ideal, but places nearby might be good to know about as well. While we've been in the Bay Area for over five years now, we've just moved here from the South Bay, so neither of us knows the area too well yet.

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    1. I've been having lunch at the Hong Kong, on Ralston a half block west of the El Camino, in Belmont for a number of years. It is a true hole in the wall with excellent won ton soup. chow fun, and Hong Kong style chow mein, etc. Two of us can eat for less than $10, a real bargain.

      1. Well, Sliver Lake fits "hole in the wall", not great but has Cantonese comfort food. It is cheap but unless you can read Chinese the white board specials may be hard unless you waiter reads them to you.

        Cheap, not amazing but good comfort food.

        Also in Belmont there is Blue Sky better food a little more costly.

        1. I would recommend Little Beijing in San Mateo (B Street) (I assume they serve lunch) and Tai Wu and the "little" Mr. Fong's near the large restaurant, both in Foster City. Also Shanghai East in San Mateo (25th Avenue).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Wendy_san

            OP: you're in the middle of excellent small chinese.

            Wendy-san, do you mean Everyday Beijing? Love the joint - I went by there today - closed on monday, sadly. Hole in the wall, but they're pretty good for non-chinese speakers.

            Yo to Shanghai east.

            The other restaurant that comes up is Joy in foster city - I've eaten there only once, and the menu seems to take getting used to.

            1. re: bbulkow

              The day I posted this I found the Tai Wu by the Ranch 99 and Chipotle* and liked it. I'll have to look up some of the other ones. I admit I'm faintly intimidated by the "best if you have someone with you who speaks Chinese" descriptions of some, since neither I nor my roommate qualify, but I'll see if I can muddle through.

              *No, my handle here is not a reference to the burrito chain, just to be clear!

          2. For hole in the wall Northern Chinese, there's Happy Cafe and Sun Tung in San Mateo. I see hole in the walls as literally mom and pop type storefronts and very small places.

            HC is open for lunch. Dinner only on Wednesday nights. The best dishes are on the white board, but they're entirely in Chinese (maybe waitstaff could translate but not sure).

            Sun Tung is strictly mom and pop. Mom takes orders. Pop cooks in the kitchen. Pretty decent items are weekend brunch items like soy milk, chive box. Avoid dumplings (unless you don't mind the insides pre marinated wiht soy sauce and sesame oil), XLB.

            Some of the Chinese only specials on the wall are great, like garlic greens stir fried with marinated dried tofu. A few random menu items are good, like the bean thread noodle stir fried with minced pork (aka ants climbing rees).

            I think Wendys' rec is Everyday Beijing, which is seemingly a bit larger sized than the afforementioned, but does have that true family style vibe. Good value great portions, authentic Beijing style food that's not fancy or upscale.

            1 Reply
            1. re: K K

              Yes, sorry, I meant Everyday Beijing. For cheap eats there is also the take-out and eat-in sections at the Marina Market on Norfolk in San Mateo. There also might be some other low-cost Chinese options in that mall as well. And I did mention it before (and so did others) but I wanted to say again that the little annex of Mr. Fong's (which in Chinese I believe is called Tai Wu 2 because they own the other, bigger Tai Wu), at the Edgewater Place mall, is a pretty neat place. The time I was there to wait to get my take-out I was the only non-Asian and everyone was speaking other than English. Really didn't feel like I was anywhere near Foster City. Very small, cramped, authentic -- I felt like I could have been in some tiny joint in Hong Kong, though I've never been. :-)