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Need Chinese or Asian lunch rec's near new job in West Berkeley

I just started a new job in West Berkeley very close to Berkeley Bowl West. So for the last month I got lunch almost everyday there and have gotten (gasp!) kind of tired of the food there. I know there is Emeryville Public Market that isn't too far... But I am wondering if there are places nearby (that isn't near campus - too hard to park) that would approximate my old lunchtime regular spots in San Mateo like Shanghai East, Little Shanghai, Noodle Shop (Mao's Home Cooking), Silver House, Sun's Chinese, and Yummy World. Specifically, I want a Chinese spot with good lunch specials that isn't of the "orange chicken" variety and noodle soups. Pho or ramen or a soondubu place would be good too. Please help! Thanks.

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Berkeley Bowl West
920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

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  1. Slim pickings nearby for Chinese food. There's great soondobu at Pyung Chang.

    You might want to remove the auto-links to the San Mateo restaurants.

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    Pyung Chang Tofu House
    4701 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Robert and Melanie,
      Thanks for the rec for Pyung Chang. I went today for lunch and got the pan fried sole and soondubu combo for $12.99. Way too much food for one person - two large sole fillets with ample banchan. The real star was the soondubu. Probably one of the best I've ever had. It was luscious, almost creamy, and very flavourful. Will be back to try the other things like the samgyetang and other flavours of jigaes.

      1. re: vliang

        Glad to have the update, need to get back there soon.

        If you should be interested in beef soup, check out Seoul Gom Tang. I've not been to the Oakland location, only the one in Santa Clara.

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        Seoul Gom Tang
        3801 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I can't compare the two, but the Oakland one's gomtang is good.

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          Seoul Gom Tang
          3801 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            It's not the same owners for the Santa Clara & Oakland locations. I like them both, but I think the Oakland spot generally has fresher / tastier kimchi.

      2. If I were in your shoes, I'd be exploring the Korean and Korean-Chinese places in Oakland's Temescal area. Maybe a 10 minute drive and easy to park (free). I've loved every meal at Pyung Chang Tofu House, though it's been a while since my last time there. Hit it for soon dubu or cold noodles.

        Two months ago I dropped into Sura for a quick lunch. It offers three or so lunch specials for $6.75 on weekdays, changing by day of the week. Started with a small bowl of porridge and six panchan (and I was offered refills). Oden, garlicky tomatoes, vegetable fritter, Napa kimchi, jap chae, and seaweed-scallion kimchi.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        I tried the bbq chicken (leg meat), which was juicy, if a bit shy on the seasoning. I was happy to have a choice of brown rice, studded with legumes, or white rice. I took more than half home with me, the portion was so huge.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Sura makes its own infusions of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry for flavoring cocktails. I didn't indulge this time, but maybe for a dinner visit.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

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        Sura
        4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Pyung Chang Tofu House
        4701 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        4 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Great idea. I wasn't sure how far away Temescal would be as I'm not familiar with the area.

          1. re: vliang

            While I feel the dim sum is better at Saigon Seafood Harbor or Asian Pearl in Richmond, Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood is much closer to you in Emeryville. I believe it has some lunch special rice plates too.

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            Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant
            3150 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

            Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood
            3199 Powell St, Emeryville, CA 94608

            Asian Pearl
            3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks for great rec on Sura. Went today with a co-worker and ordered a spicy chicken BBQ lunch special of the day and a grilled octupus lunch special. A whole table full of food and banchans. Super tasty and well prepared for $10/ea with tip. Can't beat that. They have quite an extensive lunchtime menu that I am looking to try out.

            1. re: vliang

              Yay, thanks for the report back. I'll have to remember that Wednesday is grilled octopus lunch special day. :-)

              That's a target-rich neighborhood so I'm glad you found your way there. The other great thing is that the Korean bbq places almost all have air-con, so that's where you want to be once the weather gets warmer.

          3. If you're driving, head over to Pacific East Mall or China Village

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            Pacific East
            3288 Pierce St # M126, Richmond, CA

            7 Replies
            1. re: kc72

              There are a bunch of restaurants in the Pacific East mall, also Daimo in the parking lot and Saigon (HK Chinese) just down the block. The freeway southbound can get pretty backed up around Albany, though.

              There are a bunch of Vietnamese places in El Cerrito. Banh Mi Ba Le is the only one I can vouch for.

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              Banh Mi Ba Le
              10174 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

              Daimo Chinese Restaurant
              3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

              China Village
              1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant
              3150 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Huong Tra, but I guess it's Richmond.

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                Huong Tra
                12221 San Pablo Ave Ste 8, Richmond, CA 94805

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Here's the Pacific East Mall directory, could be out of date

                  http://www.pacificeastmall.net/list_e...

                  Sichuan Fusion, last I went in August 2009, looks to be still around. It's a good place, provided that you can handle spicy. They have limited non spicy options, and even those the chef feels the need to splash additional white pepper :-). Feels like a nice table cloth semi upscale Sichuan place, and based on my visit, the waiters sounded like they were from Taiwan (at least I noted no shorthand characters on the menu then).

                  VH Noodle House would be a good standy to the pho joint inside. Looks like there's also a Korean BBQ/tofu kind of place but it might be better to just head over to the strip of Korean restaurants in Oakland.

                  I don't think Macau Cafe is there anymore.

                  Ten Ren is still there, and always a pleasure to grab an iced honey green tea, where it still tastes like Taiwan (unlike the other branches....)

                  1. re: K K

                    Macau Cafe is now some place called 100% Sweet Cafe

                    1. re: kc72

                      100% Sweet Cafe.Teppan Japanese, Italian Pasta. Chinese and various sweet things.

                    2. re: K K

                      I like the fish siu mai at Hong Kong Snack House, though everybody else seems to go for the egg puffs.

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                      Hong Kong Snack House
                      3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA

                      1. re: K K

                        skip that Korean place and head to Oakland, as KK suggests. food there is pretty bland.

                  2. Wondering if anyone has had the Chinese food at Oaks in Emeryville lately. Card rooms and gaming places often have more than decent Chinese eats.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/427788

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                    Oaks Kitchen
                    4099 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608

                    1. The Crispy Fry in the Public Market does really well with Chow Fun actually better than many of the places in China town. Can't vouch for any other of their items though.

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                      Crispy Fry
                      5800 Shellmound St, Emeryville, CA