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Yuyu Za Zang aka Chef Yu's (Oakland)

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Continuing my never-ending attempt to try every Korean place in Oakland.

This is a funky cheap place with a menu that has Korean dishes on one side and Chinese dishes on the other. Note that the takeout menu's missing most of the Korean dishes.

I wasn't in the mood for zazang myun, the presumable specialty, so I got the spicy seafood soup (zam pong), pretty tasty.

From the Chinese side, got tofu with mixed vegetables (sickbed request), better than your average Chinese place in this price range, vegetables were fresh rather than frozen, came out al dente.

Huge portions, dirt cheap.

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Chef Yu's
3919 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

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  1. It is a great bowl of soup. If I recall, it had mussells in the shell along with shrimp and octopus for about $6.50.and i saw Chef Yu hand making the noodles. it is far better than the zam pong I've had at Koryo Noodle in the Koryo minimall at 44th and Telegraph which didn't have as good seafood or noodles. Also it's the Korean restaurant that's closest to the entrance to the MacArthur BART station, which is convenient.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zippo

      The mussels and octopus were pretty overcooked and verging on inedible, but they definitely gave their flavor to the broth.

      The noodles were definitely fresh.

    2. I've always been curious about that place. Do the Chinese dishes lead toward Korean-Chinese/Shandong? I think I remember hearing they did a good version of gan pong chicken. Here's a previous report on the spicy seafood soup: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46350...

      1. I’ve eaten at Chef Yu’s about a half-dozen times. The last time I was there about a year or so ago, it was Korean owned and operated. Since I’m a big fan of Koreanized Chinese food, I like to go to the noodle joint at Koryo Plaza just up the street for jjampong and gan poong seo and Chef Yu’s for zazang myun. There’s a world of difference between the jjampong offered at Korean owned places like Chef Yu and Chinese owned places like Tsing Tao on Solano Ave in Albany, most noticeably the lack of spiciness and the inclusion of sea cucumber in the Chinese restaurant versions.

        My Korean friends and I all prefer Chef Yu’s zazang myun and the Koryo noodle place’s jjampong. The gan poong seo (Deep-fried battered shrimp smothered in a red, spicy sauce) is good at either and are decidedly different versions.

        While picking up a take-out order one day at Chef Yu’s, I was gousing about the lack of parking and they told me to call ahead, honk the horn out front and they’d bring my order out to my car – what more could I ask?

        4 Replies
        1. re: samse

          I like the jjampong at Koryo as well but I haven't tried it at Chef Yu's. Koryo's mussels, shrimp, and squid are just fine though, not overcooked.

          I've tried both places' zazang myun and while I don't know how true zazang myun should taste, I preferred the sauce at Koryo because of the sweetness that seemed to balance (Americanize?) the black bean sauce. My Korean friend likes it better at Koryo as well but his only explanation was that "it's better". It also doesn't hurt that you can get both jjampong and zazang myun in the combo split bowl at Koryo.

          1. re: DezzerSF

            You can get that combo at Yuyu as well. Everyplace I've been that offers zazang myun has had a combo with zam pong.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't see it on the menu when I went.

              1. re: DezzerSF

                Don't feel bad; I always manage to miss/overlook the combo too. Until you pointed out the combo at Koryo in a previous post, I was completely in the dark.

        2. Three of us went for a Sunday lunch. At around 1pm the place was packed, we got the last table.

          We shared the zam pong, jap chae, and a pork dish from the photo menu on the back wall that turned out to be what Great China calls "double skin" (looks nothing like the photo), all great, plus the fried dumpling appetizer (wouldn't order again). I'm not sure the menu mentions it but they have Korean beer and soju.

          Pretty much everybody else in the place ordered the deep fried chicken or beef with sweet & sour sauce, have to try that next time.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I had the chicken at the Dublin/San Ramon branch and don't recommend it there.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              The tang soo yuk and boiled dumplings at the Dublin/San Ramon branch are pretty good. However, the tang soo yuk is huge, so definitely better shared between 3-4 people. Otherwise, the heavy sweet sauce can quickly become tiring.

              1. re: cvhound

                Thanks, we promised ourselves we'd order the tang soo yuk and liang jiang pi (double skins) the next go-round if we have enough people to help us eat it.

                The dumplings aren't handmade, so not that special to me. Here's my post on the Dublin location.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  How do you know the damplings aren't handmade? I got takeout from the Dublin location a few weeks ago and actually saw two Asian men in the kitchen filling and assembling huge platters of dumplings by hand!

                  1. re: cvhound

                    Just by looking at them. And the relatively low price is also an indication.

                    The thinnish skins are machine-made, not rolled out by hand the way that other K-C restaurants make them, and don't have much flavor or texture. They're the kind you can buy in the refrigerated section of the Chinese grocery store next to the wonton skins. Yes, they would be filled by hand I imagine.

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                Aaach, I'll second the no go to the Dublin one. Same name, but not the same food. The Zhaziang Myun is not as tasty and the noodles were soft/overcooked. Also the Oakland branch gives you a bowl of spicy soup most times when you order a fried rice plate or something. Dublin doesn't. If you like the zhaziang with the noodles, try it over rice w/ a fried egg!

            2. I recommend this place. They make their own noodles on site (but not hand pulled/cut).

              You're all missing out on my favorite dish there though: The Spicy Za Zang! It's NOT on the menu. But it is spicy and good.

              Here are my recent notes on YuYu, with a note on parking too:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6009...

              1. We tried that fried chicken dish (gampoongi?) the other day, it was delicious. Very vinegary and spicy, not sweet. Probably best to order with four or more people, it's a big serving and you need to eat it while it's hot.

                1. Tried a new-to-me dish, I think it's #2 on the sign on the wall, dry zazang mien. Same noodles as the usual zazang but the sauce is onions stir-fried with a little pork and mixed with a very modest amount of the black bean sauce. I like this a lot more than the regular version.