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Oct 24, 2012 10:28 PM

How To Order Chinese Take-out at, e.g., Shan Dong in Oakland

It seems that every time I go into Shan Dong alone to order take-out, my brain freezes. I do fine when I'm with a group and we're all sitting at a table with menus in front of us.

For example, I ALWAYS forget which dishes are sweet and always order at least 2 of them. I did this last Sunday night when we were coming home from visiting friends in Mt. View.

I know that I want a savory pork dish and a dish with greens or green beans and meat. My ordering, however, does not reflect these wants. It's as if I decide that I want mashed potatoes, rice, and noodles with a side of bread.

Sometimes I do okay when I look at their menu at home before setting out.

Does anybody have any suggestions for a varied meal of take-out dishes at Shan Dong? Or anywhere else around Oakland Chinatown.

Thanks in advance,


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  1. If the problem is brain freezes and forgetfulness, how does supplying a list of take-out dishes help you?

    1. Maybe sit down with the menu at home and make a list you can keep in the car?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ruth, I the only person with menus in the car. Oakjoan should not copy me she better that. She should make a list and check it twice on what to get and keep it with you.

      2. But why order from Shan Dong when you have a myriad of pretty good (OK not excellent) Cantonese restaurants in the area, each with its signature dishes?

        7 Replies
        1. re: vincentlo

          Any in particular that you'd suggest?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I knew you would ask this question right when I posted that, Melanie. I guess we should all spread our opinions/knowledge/wisdom: ;-)

            Beef stew (but ask for extra tendon which is always excellent) at New Gold Medal (bonus: open very late with lots of Oakland cops frequenting).

            Steamed live striped bass for only $10 (ask for less oil and soy sauce) at Legendary Palace, the best Cantonese restaurant in Oakland Chinatown; order from their affordable choose-your-own-entrees family dinner menu, which features some creative dishes.

            $2 personal-size Cantonese double-boiled soup and $7-8 personal-size clay pot rice cooked from scratch (add an egg!) at Best Taste.

            Amazing shrimp-only dumplings (not wontons!) from Ying Kee Noodle House (unfortunately not available frozen, ask for big pea shoots in the broth for less than $2 extra).

            8th Street Café. Where to start? They have the best roast duck in Oakland Chinatown. Many folks gather there for their afternoon happy hour roast duck with lai fun (noodles) for less than $4. One of the very few places in the whole Bay Area that offer soy sauce yellow feather chicken (about $15 each I think). And I love their 1-person hot pot which is always very fun for my solo self; I usually sneak in my own alcohol, high-end veggies, and organic brown egg but that's a foodie speaking here. ;-)

            Fresh mango pudding (get multiple orders to go) at 8th St Cafe (opens very late)

            1. re: vincentlo

              Gotta get as much intell from you as I can, Vincent, while we have your attention during no mai gai month!

              Haven't been to Legendary Palace for ages . . . the steamed bass is a good incentive. And I need to try 8th Street Cafe some day. Seriously, you bring your own egg with you?

              1. re: vincentlo

                Think Peony's Friday special is the soy sauce yellow feather chicken for $13.

                1. re: vincentlo

                  I meant Cafe 88, not 8th St Cafe, in my second-to-last paragraph above.

                  Yes I do bring my own organic brown egg when I go to Best Taste for their personal-size clay pot rice or Cafe 88 for their personal-size hot pot. Just for peace of mind when dealing with raw or runny eggs.

                  1. re: vincentlo

                    Ah, I was going to say: 8th St. Cafe, based on the one meal I ate there, anyway, seems to me to be one of the worst restaurants in Chinatown. Cafe 88 is great.

                    1. re: abstractpoet

                      8th St Cafe could well be the worst restaurant in Oakland China, in terms of food, decor, and service, But with a ridiculously inexpensive and extensive Happy Hour menu (3-6 PM, 10PM-1AM) featuring noodles and porridge for $2.75(!), they probably don't care about reviews since they are always packed with sit-in and takeout customers. But please try their takeout mango pudding at $1.48+tax! They claim it's "fresh." Not sure what that means. Better than the renditions at most dim sum places.

            2. I love Shan Dong and since my partner is vegetarian, we often order vegetarian...but these are some of our favorite:

              -of course we always get the vegetarian chow mein w/the hand-cut noodles or the sesame noodles...any noodles as long as they're hand cut!

              -spicy eggplant (there are two eggplant dishes and one is sweet), and to be sure we always ask for the one that's not sweet but spicy. i'm not the biggest eggplant fan but that dish is SO good

              since you're looking for greens + meat, I'd also suggest to just let them do some of the ordering for you. tell them you don't want sweet since you tend to veer that way accidentally, and you want the freshest vegetables they have and tell them the protein you have. we often order that way- just telling them what we're in the mood for and they either help point us on the menu or improvise and it's worked just fine!

              1. Well, there must be an "app" for that --say where you can flag items on a menu to remember the next time (and if not, I'll reserve the copyright :-)).

                Now, if you also frequently misplace or forget you smartphone (if you have one), then maybe this is not the relevant site you should be querying.

                (Even with a smartphone I always keep takeout menues in my car.)