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Great Dumplings/Dim Sum in/near San Jose's Chinatown or the Rosicrucian Museum?

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My partner and I are planning a day trip to San Jose, to go to the Rosicrucian museum and also to check out Chinatown. Can anyone suggest the best place to find dumplings/dim sum in those areas? Also would love to find some baked char siu bao at a great bakery to take home with us. Thanks!

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  1. Where's the Chinatown in San Jose? Do you mean Milpitas? If so, I really adore the thick-skinned northern-China style dumplings at Nutrition House in Milpitas in the same mall as the Ranch 99, next door to the hotpot place tucked in the corner. They don't do dim sum though, so might want to check out Mayflower or ABC Seafood for that.

    If you don't mind takeout style dim sum, I'd also recommend New Hwong Kok in Milpitas.

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    New Hwong Kok
    1705 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035

    Nutrition House
    496 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035

    99 Ranch
    4299 Rosewood Dr, Pleasanton, CA 94588

    1. I don't think San Jose has a Chinatown. I suggest you check out the all-Vietnamese malls and their food courts instead, that's something you won't find elsewhere in the Bay Area.

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      Grand Century Shopping Mall
      1001 Story Rd, San Jose, CA

      Lion Tully
      1710 Tully Rd, San Jose, CA

      1. As with most of the historic Chinatowns in California cities excepting San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, there is very left to show today of San Jose's. San Jose's Chinatown was located just west of where San Jose State University is today. Actually, San Jose is a little bit ahead of most of the other ghost Chinatowns in that there are a few remnants still showing, as there is a small concentration of Chinese and Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants still existing around Second and San Salvador. However I wouldn't consider these destination locations from a culinary point of view, though there may be historical interest. As far as the city limits of San Jose, the closest thing to a Chinatown would be the shopping centers at Hotstetter and Lundy. For an aggregation of top notch Chinese food, your better choices would be in Milpitas, or the Cupertino Village Shopping Center in nearby Cupertino.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Chandackl, the location you give for Ghost Chinatown SJ makes a lot of sense. I agree that it's definitely not a place to go. Milpitas or Cupertino are where to go.

          Oh yeah... Tong Dumpling Pot is also super good for Chinese dumplings! I love their squash dumplings and will buy a big bag of them when they have them (I think they are seasonal).

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Nice history lesson. Location makes sense. I do remember reading about it...like many Chinatowns in California it was burnt to the ground during the anti-Chinese era. Seems the south had lynching and such and the old school Californian racist just burned down towns.

          2. Hi DarkRose, There isn't a Chinatown in SJ (as the history was explained so nicely) now. There is a Japantown, but no real Chinatown. Interestingly, Cupertino, at SJ's west edge, has a thriving Asian community. ABC out in Milpitas is good, but the best dim sum is in Cupertino at Joy Luck Palace, Wolfe Road in a shopping center there, across from Valco. You can get off 280 onto Wolfe Road and it's nearby. Their dim sum is spectacular.

            Also, after you finish at the Joy Luck Palace, if you follow Wolfe Rd. south to Stevens Creek Road a few blocks, and make a right turn, go west just a bit, and you'll see an Asian shopping center (hidden a tiny bit) across from the Marie Callender's. In that shopping center is The Marina, an excellent source of all Asian foods. The Marina's seafood section is great. Everything is alive, including Dungeness and Blue crabs, lobsters, huge Monterey Spot prawns, and lots of fish (sometimes frogs and turtles, too). It's a good place to get fresh clams, including the giant ones when they have them. The lobsters can be 5-6 lbs., and they are priced very reasonably. They will clean the fish for you and cook it on the spot, if you like. You kind of dig in like everyone else there and throw your stuff into a bag. The guys there weigh it up, and you're ready. I always pick out my own lobsters from the tank, and also use the net to get my Monterey Spot prawns. Those are really funny! The minute you have them in a net, they play dead, and you think you got a dead one, but as soon as you slide them in the bag, they go crazy.

            At the Marina, here's some more good news: you get a 10% rebate when you check out, and you can redeem that in their hot deli where there is Peking duck, roast pork, and all kinds of Chinese treats, some of which I am clueless about. The store has great produce, good meats and poultry, and everything you'd ever need to whip up your own dishes. The Marina is a wild place. You'll love it. It's always a ritual with us: go to the Joy Luck Palace and then pick up some fresh seafood at The Marina.

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            Joy Luck
            327 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

            Marie Callender's
            18599 Sutter Blvd, Morgan Hill, CA 95037

            1. Wow, well, this is quite embarrassing! I was positive a friend of mine told me there was still an active Chinatown in San Jose, but maybe she meant Milpitas and was referring to the greater SJ area...

              Thanks so much for the history lesson too and not just pointing and laughing ;-) My partner and I want to get to know the greater SJ area better, as we're considering it as a final destination when we're ready to buy a house, so a trip to Milpitas would work for lunch. I'll report back with where we decide to try!

              1 Reply
              1. re: DarkRose

                I agree that Joy Luck in Cupertino can be very good, but occassionally the selection is limited. (note that Joy Luck has a nice table cloth restaurant and also a very casual cafe around the corner) I believe Dynasty Seafood Restaurant (aprox 1/2 mile further S on Wolfe Rd from Joy Luck is slightly better (but I do like both, and go to both quite often).

                Tong Dumpling Pot is a little futher S and their specialty is dumplings (place is small & it is not a full dim sum place). If I am in the mood for boiled dumpling or potstickers, I go here. I have not found any other restaurant where it is worth ordering.

                btw, AVOID the Ranch 99 Grocery (in same shopping mall with Joy Luck) Dim Sum!

                also btw, not Chinese, but the Falafel Drive-in is about 1 mile away from the Rosicrucian Museum. Very casual but really good falafels, onion rings and fresh banana shakes! The lunch time line can get long, but it moves quick.

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                Falafel Drive-in
                2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128