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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.

Joy Restaurant
1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

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    1. One of my favorite dishes is the "Chive Ravioli" Yeah, it's not really a ravioli.

      1. 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.

        1 Reply
        1. 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.

        2. Thanks for the report. You got most of favorites at Joy. Only missing item is a "Crab Shell" pastry which a shredded turnip pastry with a golden pastry shell. Next time you have to have the pot stickers here, the best Taiwanese ones I have had in the Bay Area.

          8 Replies
          1. re: yimster

            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.

            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              Of all the great dishes there the pot stickers are the best I have had. They are shaped like little cigars. But have not been in many a years.

              1. 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.

              2. re: yimster

                Thanks for the recommendation on the potstickers. They are definitely on my must try list the next time I'm in the area. I'm eager to try their dinner dishes as they have quite an extensive menu.

                1. re: luckytomato

                  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.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I think they might have changed them slightly since you had them because they are not open on the ends, might be a new tweak if you haven't had them in awhile. Last time I went was about a month ago. Here are a couple of pics I found.

                    1. re: Shane Greenwood

                      The look also the same. Expect I remember them a little longer and the bottom was more brunt. I think the ends being open may well the cooking process that day had open ends. As I remember them not all were open ended.

                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                        Great pictures! It's going to tempt me to go back this weekend!

                2. 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!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PekoePeony

                    What a great blog! Your pictures are lovely! I will have to make another trek down there and try out some of the other dishes.

                  2. Went on a weekday for lunch about a week ago and was really quite impressed--easily the best of this type of food I've had since I moved back from Taiwan a couple of years ago. The favorites of our party of four:

                    1) The fried stinky tofu- exceeded my expectations!
                    2) The "lion's head" (pork meatball) soup- wow, was this tasty. Really flavorful broth, perfect texture on the meatballs, generous portion. We inhaled this dish.

                    Potstickers and scallion pancakes were great; "kao fu" (gluten) was tasty if a bit too cold. Soup dumplings were just so-so and easily the weakest dish we ordered. I'll have to go back to try the weekend brunch--especially the gua bao and the fan tuan. Would be interested in trying one of the stone pot stinky tofu casseroles too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: abstractpoet

                      Went back for the weekend brunch today and enjoyed the "gua bao", which I reported on in another thread. Among the other dishes we tried for the first time, I thought the fresh soy milk (both the sweet and salty versions) was pretty good--not fantastic, but definitely better and more authentic-tasting than what I've had in Oakland (at Shan Dong).

                      The filing for the shao bing (sesame bun) with pork was tasty, but the shao bing itself was too much like a cracker for my tastes--not bready enough. Same with the "luo buo su bing" (shredded daikon radish bun), which had the texture of a cookie--not light and flaky like it ought to be. The fan tuan was OK, but could have used more crunch--I wouldn't necessarily order this again.

                      Still, it was a tasty meal, and we finished off with an order of their excellent fried stinky tofu, which we couldn't pass up even though there already plenty of food.

                    2. My new favorite place to eat lunch before heading back to Sacramento. Love their nein go and thick noodles!

                      1. Hungry for knife shaved noodles, I visited here for the first time. Portions seemed small, but I think that's because the serving dishes are too big. The chef is from Taipei.

                        A choy with garlic sauce (A菜) : crisp and not overcooked.

                        Chunghua Road Pot stickers (中華路鍋貼) : yimster recommended these above, and they were unlike any potsticker I've eaten. The crispy part isn't part of the individual potstickers itself, but some kind of batter that adheres to each potsticker and connects them together. The ocassionally open-ended cigar shape makes it easier to dip these than regular pot-stickers and that's a good thing--- they're good by themselves, but the dipping sauce seals the deal. The batter adds crunch to the potstickers, but is too saturated with oil to taste good by itself.

                        Crispy eels with orange sauce (陳皮脆膳) there wasn't any visible orange peel or taste. It's liberally applied, but I think this is the same goopy sauce used in Chinese-American orange beef, chicken, etc. The texture of the eel was right.

                        Mu-shu hand cut noodle chow mien (木須刀削炒麵) : As I'd read beforehand, the "hand cut noodles" are actually knife shaved noodles (dao xiao mian). The noodles were a bit less dense than the rice-cake-like ones I've eaten at Darda, Sichuan Fusion, and Happy Golden Bowl. But their irregular shape and wavy sides hit the spot.The texture and flavor of the egg shreds, which absorbed enough MSG to dose a mule, contrasted well with the noodles. The knife work on the vegetables was sloppy, leaving some thick slices of carrots uncooked.

                        Next time I go there I'll have to focus on the Taiwanese specialties. (Note: something in the noodles I've assumed is MSG is giving me an insatiable thirst and gives a major boost to the egg's flavor, but their website says "NO MSG.")

                        Menu: http://5joyrestaurant.com/menu.asp
                        Translations of an older menu: http://www.robertyu.com/wikiperdido/J...