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Oakland Chinatown Recs

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I live in Oakland & Chinatown is not that far. I really don't know any of the restaurants. Went to one place a couple years ago, can't remember the name, that was probably recommended in the Chronicle. Real hole in the wall with very good noodles and dumplings. Are there are restaurants that are consistently good and family friendly (i.e. have at least a couple highchairs).

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  1. Chef Lau, Gold Medal, Shan Dong, Shanghai, Saigon Grill, Gum Wah, Cafe 88, Chopstick on 14th(3 for $18 menu plus easy parking)

    Peony and East Ocean (Alameda)

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    New Gold Medal
    389 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    East Ocean Seafood
    1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

    Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant
    328 10th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    Chef Lau's
    301 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    Restaurant Peony
    388 9th St Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607

    Gum Wah
    345 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    Saigon Grill
    417 7th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    7 Replies
    1. re: kc72

      And I'm guessing that Shan Dong is the place the OP tried a couple of years back.

      1. re: lexdevil

        Thanks, it is Shan Dong that I remembered, just not the name. I'll definitely need to return. Noodles on a rainy day sounded really good the other day.

        1. re: Allfrog68

          The staff at Shan Dong are real sweeties. I love to go there with my kids. The dry-fried green beans are not spicy, just salty and flavorsome, and the kids gobble them up. We also like the cubes of crunchy-on-the-outside fried tofu that come eight on a small plate with a little ginger and scallion and soy on top.

          1. re: Allfrog68

            Another item not to miss at Shan Dong is the pork and vegetable buns -- at only $1 apiece and huge (not to mention delicious), these are one of the best deals in town. In a pinch, I'll order two of them to go and -- voila! -- that's dinner.

            I would imagine that kids would love these. You eat them with your hands!

        2. re: kc72

          I second the Cafe 88 recommendation, nice fresh noodles and items from the roastery and decent, clean environment.

          I'm not a fan of Shan Dong. I think it's overrated. Quality level to me is average. If you're a big fan of starch, then you'll love the overly thick noodles and buns.

          Another reliable spot is Battambang for Cambodian food.

          1. re: singleguychef

            Ah, you got me! I am, in fact, a fiend for starches and carbs.

            That said, and as much as I love those buns, I would agree that Shan Dong's knife-cut noodle dishes are just OK, with my main criticism being that some of the sauces (like for the "spicy meat sauce" noodles) are a bit on the sweet side.

            Their dumplings, on the other hand, are quite excellent. Again, the sauce they give you to dip them in is too sweet, so we prefer to just mix our own.

            But those buns! As long as those buns exist, I will never starve to death in Oakland! (Though if I eat like six of them and then drink a bunch of water, will I meet an untimely demise, like the character in that old Gong Li movie?)

            1. re: abstractpoet

              Another carb fiend here. I always get the knife cut noodles with shredded pork and mustard greens - no sugar in that sauce, as far as I can tell.

        3. Also worth mentioning, since you specified family/kid friendly, is The Sweet Booth, inside that little courtyard where the Asian branch of the library is. Not a restaurant per se, but definitely the best bubble tea drinks I've had in the East Bay. Good smoothies and such too. Lately I've been especially enamored with their taro pearl drink.

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          Sweet Booth
          388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

          1. Little Shin Shin (Piedmont Ave) and King Yen (College Ave) are just a quick Segway ride away from Chinatown! LSS = a cut above, IMHO....

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            King Yen Restaurant
            2995 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

            Little Shin Shin
            4258 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

            2 Replies
            1. re: Munching Mark

              Original Poster asked for Chinatown recs, and who leaves Chinatown on a *segway* to Piedmont for Chinese food anyway? 12.5 mile top speed on a flat surface... it's over 20 minutes away.

              The the little gem Fortune Restaurant on Webster. Always busy, and open real late too. Lots of great seafood dishes that a cheaper than its neighbors. Had a great fresh shrimp dish there, where each shrimp is cut if half with a little sauce poured on top. They also have a consistent frog leg dish too!

              Look around and you'll see families and a lot of chinese contractors. Chinese contractors are a sign of simple good value, food and fast service in a restaurant.

              I like their chinese broccoli with preserved pork (chinese sausage), although for some reason, it often comes to me at different prices. Princess chicken is deep fried sweet spicy goodness.

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              Fortune
              940 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

              1. re: Munching Mark

                King Yen is 4 miles from Chinatown according to google maps - not even in oakland. Both have rather generic, Americanized menus and food - decently executed, but surely round-eye fare.

                For example, King Yen's banquet meal is Broccoli Beef and General's Chicken.

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                King Yen Restaurant
                2995 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

              2. Thanks for all the recs. I did a cross check on Yelp and I'll definitely be checking out a few of these w/ the kids in tow. Chinatown may never be the same.