Joy Restaurant report [Foster City]
I finally had the chance to make the solo journey down to Joy Restaurant in the middle of nowhere Foster City and was so glad I did. Not knowing the hours of operation, I got there at 10:15am, only to find out that the restaurant does not open until 11am. Good thing that the restaurant is next to a walking path along the water where I whiled away my time in the sunshine reading a book.
The restaurant is nice and clean and quite spacious. I was the first person in. Their menu is quite extensive, I grabbed a copy of it and will try to scan the menu pages when I get the chance. I don't have the menu with me so I'll have to add the actual menu names to the items I ordered when I get home. My server was super nice and helped me with some of the Chinese names of the dishes once I told him that I could speak but not read Mandarin.
I ordered enough food to feed an army it seemed, starting off with my much looked forward to stinky tofu (Joy offers stinky tofu in several variations, from the fried variety to a steamed version, and a steamed version in a clay pot, I opted for my tried and true fried version), fun tun (which consists of a fried Chinese doughnut, shredded pork jerky and dried daikon radish bits wrapped with sticky rice), oyster noodles, green onion pancakes and a spicy dish with pigs blood, tofu and intestines.
The restaurant did an excellent with its frying on this day. The green onion pancakes were excellent, nice and crisp, without any grease. The stinky tofu was to die for. The outside was fried crisp, the inside was nice and soft, and again, there was no hint of greasiness at all, the flavor was good, not overly strong. The pickles that accompanied the stinky tofu were just ok. The fun tun was good, although I would of preferred a bit of sugar in there to offset the savory aspects of the pork jerkey and the radish. The pork blood and intestine dish came in a small chafing dish bubbling hot. It was spicy and quite tasty, with the blood, intestines and tofu mixed in with green onion. It would have gone great with a bowl of rice. The oyster noodles came last. I got the impression it was made to order. There were a few large sized oysters and pieces of intestine. The noodles were quite mild in flavor, I had to spike it with a healthy dash of white pepper.
I was totally stuffed at the end of the meal, total including tip was $37, and I had a bunch of leftovers to take home.
A nearby table had special ordered an eight treasure stuffed duck, it looked quite good and was served with the man tou like bread sometimes served with Peking duck. They also had other interesting looking dishes brought to their table.
I am hoping that there will be a Chowdown there in the near future so I can sample more of their dishes.
1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404
Ahh the oyster noodles sadly didn't look quite the same as Ay Chung/Ocean Harbor Cafe (both unfortunately out of business), but thanks for trying it out. At least the condiments look authentic enough.
In addition the pepper the key ingredient to enhancing a great oyster noodle (if the noodle is good to begin with) is black vinegar.
Here's Robert Yu's translation of the menu (and phoentic/pronounciation) based on the old menu
I personally enjoy
- hot soymilk (it's a lot nicer than China Bee in San Mateo or even Su Hong Palo Alto) - weekend only.
- jua bing (shredded pancake) this is like roti murtabak without the meat. Way better than green onion pancake I think in terms of texture (this is on the regular menu)
two other weekend only items on the pink piece of paper inside the menu are
- taiwan style stir fried rice noodle (tai si tsao mi fen). A very nice rendition, around $7 to $8 a plate. Tastes even better with a dash of chili sauce (available at every table)
- baked shredded daikon bun (with sesame seeds on top). Not bad but I would not order this again, considering the version you can get at Kingdom of Dumpling in SF or their retail store (frozen to go) is way better (luo bor si bing)
Joy's beef noodle soup is really good. Tasted some accents of tomato in the broth, along with some spices that gave it a bit of a kick. You can choose regular non knife shave noodles. Regular menu item.
Potstickers (zhong hua lu guo tieh) - some of the best I've had that are Taiwanese style. Great dipping sauce.
Even something standard like their mu shu stir fried noodles, is done very well.
re: K K
Thanks for the recommendations. The oyster noodles was decent, they had enough of the black vinegar flavoring for my taste. Nice big oysters too. If you're a fan of chili sauce, the one they provide is pretty good.
I'll have to try the potstickers next time, since it seems like it is getting great reviews from everyone.
We've been a few times and those pot stickers are the best. About 6 inches long and made to order. They take about 10 minutes so they almost always come out well after we are into the other dishes. They have a nice ginger flavor.
Also the lions head and hand cut noodles are fantastic there.
re: Shane Greenwood
Joy's in house seasoned pot sticker dipping sauce also makes the experiences a lot more enJOYable, namely soy sauce, vinegar, garlic being the usual suspects (plus a few other things I couldn't immediately identify). The edges of the pot stickers are crispy golden brown (but not burnt), almost as sensational as the "burnt" crispy rice from Cantonese rice clay pots.
Oh, yeah, haven't had the potstickers for a while, but I'll mention that they're the kind that are shaped kind of like a cigar, and open on the ends. They're fried with a little bit of slurry that turns brown and crisp and makes them all stick together. I haven't had better in the area.
Thanks for the post! It's great to hear that Joy is still doing well after all these years. There was a chowdown there a couple years ago; if you decide to go again, you may be interested in the report:
I also posted photos/comments from the chowdown on my blog:
Looking forward to reading more of your reports!