Oakland: Tongan Kitchen - Otai, roasted pig, faikakai, lolo, lo'l feke and Philly cheese steaks
Tongan Kitchen shares the same room as The Bay Cafe. It is the steam table to the right.
The best time to go, it seems, is on the weekend when the mom is in the kitchen. They have roast pig and these desserts
Faikakai - tapioca covered in a sweet coconut glaze $3
Bananza - battered fried bananas drizzeled with lolo (sweet coconut glaze) $2.50
Pineapple custard pie - mini pie $2.50
Fried tongan dough with coconut pineapple ice cream $1
The prices are excellent, the portions filling and the food is surprisingly tasty for steam table ...maybe better than 80% of the steam table food of various cuisines in the Bay Area
I skipped the raw fish lo'l ika. it was in a container with coconut milk. The menu also has lol'l feke - fresh octopus cooked in special coconut sauce.
The otai was excellent and highly recommended According to wiki "It is a blend of water, coconut milk and any variety of pulped tropical fruit such as coconut, watermelon, mango and pineapple
This was more pineapple-based. There wasn't any watermelon in it. It was like a pineapple aqua fresca with a mix of crushed pineapple and coconut at the bottom.
I went for the blowout $10 meal which was a choice of 3 mains and two sides.
They had a lamb dish which they let me try. It was nice with a little curry flavor to it. Since I had a tasted of that, I decided to go for some other choices.
The pork with veggies such as zuchinni was really good. Huge pieces of fatty (in a good way) roast pork in a lightly spicy vegetable mixture that had summer squash, onions, tiny hot green pepper rings (too small for jalaepenos) and dried bird chilis.
The roast beef was excellent. HUGE strips with a salty outer crust were meaty, beefy and flavorful. This is hearty meat. I could see some old English king like Henry the Eighth belling up to the table and happily downing a plate of this.
There was some sort of patty wrapped in bitter greens. inside was chopped pork. It was really tasty.
The taro chunks in coconut mik were huge ... HUGE. They were actually quite good reminding me in texture of a boiled Yukon gold potato. Two whole, large plaintains in coconut milk completed the meal.
They also had a fish in coconut selection, but that was gone when I got there.
This site has some Tongan recipes in English and Tongan(?). I am guessing the plaitains were Vai siaine. That patty could have been lamb since the recipe sounds like what I ate Lu Sipi. It might have been wrapped in talo leaves for all I know.
I have no clue what the Philly cheese steak is all about.
Oddly enough I know a little about Tongan food. My supervisor at my first job in the Bay Area was Tongan and many of her family worked at the same office. This food compared favorably to what they brought to pot lucks.
One yelper bitched about the woman serving the meal as not being smily. Some Tongan people are very reserved and this woman reminded me of some of my long ago coworkers. She sort of warmed up when I told her about my supervisor. She does the cooking during the week and on the weekends her mom comes in to help.
Quite a few Tongan people stopped by for take out. This is a take out place. It is a bare bones donut shop type of decor.
Go for the food ... for something different ... not the ambiance or service ... you'll do fine.
Thanks to owent for the heads up. Of course I couldn't resist something as exotic and different as this.
Located on MacArthur sort of near Fruitvale. It is across the street from Loard's Ice Cream.
2818 Macarthur Blvd
(between Coolidge Ave & Georgia St)
Oakland, CA 94602
Daily: 11 am - 8 pm
There are about four tables, but it is shabby donut shop decor. One thing I don't think I was clear about is that the restaurant they share the space with, The Bay Cafe, has nothing to do with Tongan Kitchen. I think the cafe just is renting the space for the steam table to Tongan Kitchen.
Bay Cafe has a simple menu of a few breakfast dishes, sandwiches, pizza and quesadillas. The lady at the counter was from some specific region in China since a customer was chatting with her about it. You can practically eat around the world at this one location.
Hmmm ... someone was looking for hashbrowns and basic breakfast in Oakland. I should post there about the cafe part of this joint. Two slices of French Toast are $3.50 and a Denver omelet with hash browns and toast is $4.99
rworange, thanks for the report! I was bummed to find that the Tongan place in East Palo Alto had closed (their squid in coconut milk was a real find), so I'm happy to hear there's at least one other option in the Bay Area.
If anybody knows of other Tongan eateries, let's hear it!