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Jan 3, 2010 04:20 PM

Oakland Kosher Food - Malawach, Green's chocolate babka and 700 bottles of Kosher wine on the wall

The sign outside says "Fresh Meats & Poultry + NY Deli" The sidewalk signboard had a number of specials
- Chicken soup with matzoh
- Chicken Schnitzel w/fries
- Grilled Shoulder Lamb Chops

Inside there is zero ambiance. The little tables huddle between the packed grocery shelves and freezer case, one table taken up by loaves of Greens (of NY) rugulah, chocolate babka and cinnamon babka.

Order at the counter with a small deli case to the left and a fresh meat counter to the right.

I've never heard of a malawach, so I ordered that. According to Wiki it is "is a staple of the Jews of Yemen. Malawach resembles a thick pancake, and it consists of hundreds of thin layers of puff pastry. It is usually fried."

This is a pretty close photo of what I had which included crushed tomato and sliced egg. It was supposed to have hot sauce, but they forgot it.

It was a little oily like a latke can sometimes get oily. The good news is it seems the crushed tomatoes were made from scratch. The bad news is the crushed tomatoes were made from winter tomatoes. They were pink, like the color of red summer ripeness had faded from their memory ... if tomatoes have a memory.

It was ok, and I'd probably try this elsewhere since supposedly they have all sorts of different toppings ... one description of a malawach drizzled with honey sounded good. A little more about Israeli Yemeni breads including malawah

Holy Land had Malawach on the menu, so maybe I'll get over there finally and do a comparison.

Most of the bread seems to be from Metropolis Bakery. At the front of the store is a large Kosher wine selection. The website says prices range from $3.99 p/bottle to $129.99 p/bottle.

Yelp has some very good photos of the store. According to the few yelp reviews, the time this store shines is during the Jewish holidays where the selection increases. I think I might also be interested in dropping by on a Friday to see what they have.

Seriously there are brands I've never seen before locally such as J & J cream cheese, Ungers herring in wine (industrial size), Miller's cheese, Au hot dogs, Aarat hot dogs, a few other brands of Kosher hot dogs, etc. There was a bottle of shav that I haven't seen before other.

I bought a container of Healthy Temptations strawberry yogurt. It was fine, but unless I really, really needed very Kosher yogurt, I couldn't justify paying the $1.50 price. There were a few other brands of yogurt I've never seen.

Most Yelpers say the meat is very good, but pricy. They have organic meat available as well.

The online deli menu only lists half of the menu. There are other items such as hummus bowls with a choice of pita, hot mushrooms, hot garbanzos or shwarma or biscuit cake with strawberries

According to the site their thing is catering "Our catering division caters from the simplest to the gourmet. OKF has catered throughout the world and this year we will be catering in Berlin for over 500 guests. OKF catered an all Chinese menu with authentic sauces on boat for a Bar Mitzvah for 200 guests.. They say they are the preferred kosher caterer for the Moscone Center

The catering menu part of the site is a bit odd. Depending on what link is clicked, different menus appear. A Kosher Chinese buffet is in there.

Under strict Rabbinical Supervision by the Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California

Oakland Kosher Foods
3419 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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  1. How was the customer service you received?

    1 Reply
    1. re: milklady

      LIke the ambiance.

      However, one guy was sick and trying to go home and the other didn't speak much English. I'd be more worried about the guy with the cold if I haven't caught every single thing going around this year. Some yelpers complain about bad service but others say it is good.

    2. Malawach seems to me like the same exact thing as a Malabar paratha. They make them at Holy Land.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Yes, very similar to a Malabar paratha - which makes sense given that Malawach is Yemeni, and Malabar parathas are the breads of Malabar Muslims, who came over to Kerala originally from the Middle East, and make an effort to preserve the foods and culture of their homeland.

        1. re: mielemaiale

          Thanks for the explanation, I always wondered what the connection was.

      2. Thanks for the great, newsy, detail-rich report. "the crushed tomatoes were made from winter tomatoes. They were pink, like the color of red summer ripeness had faded from their memory ... if tomatoes have a memory." Their tomatoes may be anemic, but your own style is beefing up rather nicely, I must say.

        Two things:

        Parking issues?

        And sausage? Kosher sausage that has any real flavor has been a big issue in the Bay Area (any artisanal sausage seems to have pork casing, blah blah blah) to the point that at least two large shuls on the Peninsula head south to LA to buy their hot links, Moroccan red-hots etc. in the Fairfax/Pico stretch in LA before their summer picnics. I would make a special trip out of my way if this place had decent (read: set-your-hair-on-fire) kosher linguica, hot links, etc ....

        Thanks again K. Nice work.

        Sushi Monster

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sushi Monster

          I don't hang out in that area often. It was Sunday, the last day of a holiday weekend and I found a parking spot right in front. Don't know if there are any lots. There's a Trader Joe's a few blocks away so I imagine there's some parking there.

          I was a bit overwhelmed by all the brands and foods I had not seen before. I don't think I saw sausages in the case. You might give them a call. Don't see sausages on the website, but most of what they have isn't on the website.

          1. re: rworange

            For what it's worth, the Website link in the places database is wrong. It points to and should point to

            Does anyone know how to fix this?

            1. re: Euonymous

              Thanks for the heads up.

              Either someone else fixed this or it is something on your side. I looked at the record and tried the link. Just for my own info so I know this isn't some programming bug on Chow's side, did anyone fix this?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Thanks, Robert. Is this something I can learn how to do myself, or does one need to be a moderator?

                  1. re: Euonymous

                    If you would like to be able to edit Restaurants & Bars listings, please reply to this thread:

        2. I've shopped there once and had their catering a few times. Their matzo ball soup was amazing, as good as my late, beloved Jewish grandmothers'. It literaly brought tears to my eyes, it was that good. Thanks for the report.

          1. did you happen to go on a Friday? I went in once and saw their challah but couldnt figure out where it came from. My guess was Grand Bakery, but couldnt tell.

            1 Reply
            1. re: majordanby

              No. I went on a Sunday ... after Mass. I think I saw the word "Grand" on the bread shelf, but on Sunday there was no challah and only loaves from Metropolis.