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Chinese Oakland

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There has been ample discussion on chowhound, here, and other food sites about dim sum. Does anybody have a recommendation for the best place to have a moderately priced chinese dinner in Oakland's chinatown? (Especially with one's 60 and 70-something parents along) Their favorate place seems to be Little Shin Shin on Piedmont avenue. I'd like to expand their horizons towards chinatown. Has anybody tried Legendary Palace for dinner perchance?

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Welcome to eGullet, Willbear! I posed your question to a friend who lives in Oakland. His response follows.

"King Wah on 9th St is good, cheap, basic Cantonese fare. Sun Hong Kong on 8th is a bit more contemporary, as you would guess from the name.

If they're going to Piedmont Ave, then King Yen is a good Schezwan place, but not overly spicey. I had Little Shin Shin a few weeks ago and it was pretty good.

A little more expensive by cheap Chinese standards is the Silver Dragon on Webster, an institition, at least in my family. Next door at the Golden Peacock wasn't bad either, the one time I tried it.

Then there's always Shan Dong on 10th, the dumpling place we tried. I haven't had much of their other food though."

Hope this helps. :smile:


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New Oakland Seafood Reataurant on 10th. Nice, clean, simple and very good. Try the Westlake Rock Cod soup and get some live shrimp or a geoduck, two ways.

Tin's Tea House on 7th and Webster. My fave. Ask the nice lady to translate the specials menu.

Chef Lau's on 8th and Harrison. Try the shrimp two ways.

Gold Medal on 8th has great roast chicken and an extensive and interesting $5.00 menu.

Legendary Palace on 7th and Franklin is great but not cheap.

Bay Fung Tong on 19th and Franklin isn't quite in Chinatown but it's awesome. House special tofu, salt and pepper anything, surf clams, and more.

Any one of these is way better than Little Shin Shin in my book. I really like Oakland Chinatown. I've eaten and shopped better there than in SF.

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Thank you both!

I remember having many childhood birthdays at the Silver Dragon growing up, as well as at the now defunct, Lantern on Webster.

The only food note i can think to offer is that i just had some of the best asparagus in years, found at the Trader Joes in Alameda. My food tastes and wallet are both very modest, since i am once again at 33yo a student. So hopefully I can provide some less rarified perspective here :o)

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Maybe you will join us for our next eGullet walking tour of Chinatown???? Last time we had dim sum at Tin's.


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Yes I'd enjoy the next walking tour very much. I'm a very finicky eater and wish to get over that. I'm sure Chinatown would be a very valuable experience for me.

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The night before last I went with my parents (both retired seniors whose favorite places to eat are Chevy's and Crogan's) to Legendary Palace for dinner. First we had driven through the Webster street tube to Alameda to go to Chevy's, but found it to be mobbed with an Alameda Chamber of Commerce event. So we drove back over to Oakland and decided to try Legendary Palace for the first time.

The restaurant is very attractive with such nice touches as clean tablecloths and nice looking lavendar cloth napkins. The staff all looked very orderly in their uniforms and were very professional and helpful. One very funny touch was the array of junk deposited along a countertop (bar?) including a bubbling fountain like the ones i used to see on sale in the junk/souvenir shops along Canal Street in NYC, and an older TV set with rabbit ears. I noticed that nothing was done to gussy up the appearance of the live seafood tanks in the back corner. I suppose their utilitarian appearance matches their utilitarian function. Most of my previous experience with Chinese restaurants has been in basically chinese american places like Little Shin Shin on Piedmont Ave, the Silver Dragon in chinatown, Hunan Pan in the West Village (NYC) and Joe's Shanghai in NYC's chinatown. So I had never before been in a restaurant that had tank after immaculate-looking, bubbling, tank of live sea creatures. I have deffinitely never been in a restaurant before with such an exotic menu. And neither have my parents.

I'm a notoriously finicky eater. My parents' idea of exotic is the chicken salad at Le Cheval, or anything that would have not appeared in a 60's era Betty Crocker Cookbook. My dad began convulsing in nervous and somewhat hysterical giggling when he opened the menu and saw items listed with Frog and Duck Feet listed as ingredients. So we missed an opportunity to sample something entirely new and ordered the tamest items we could find on the menu. We got potstickers, chicken sesame salad, General Tso's (they spelled it differently) Chicken, and Sweet and Sour Pork (dad's favorite).

All the dishes were made with great care and presented beautifully. They all tasted good, especially the chicken sesame salad and the General Tso's Chicken. The salad was very very lightly dressed in sesame oil, and was very light and pleasant tasting. The sweet and sour pork was a bit too ketchup-ey. The Silver Dragon's rendition is better. But still the freshness of the ingredients was worth noting, in every dish we had. Far more interesting than what was being served to us was what was being delivered to surrounding tables. Two tables near us were served an item that came to the table in wooden model boats. Inside on top of a green garnish of some kind of leaves (if memory serves me) were thin pieces of off-white flesh. I asked our server what they were and he brought me a menu and pointed to the Geoduck Oysters. However I couldn't see any shells in the boats. Another thing to note is that the boats were served at the end of the meals. Could the contents have been some kind of dessert?

It's also worth noting that we were only one of two non-asian families eating there that night. The restaurant was full of mostly large asian families and smaller parties of older asian men and women. Oh and it was not expensive. The total bill was $36 and change.

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First of all I went there went there went there. ( jkjkjk what happened to you? with such a great recommendation you should post more often) My experience was highlighted by the food and hightened by the gracious help by "Joe" the nephew of the owner. From the time I called to make a reservation Joe was helpful, friendly, genuinely interested in my desires. The day before coming I called to find out if they could accomodate a vegan who was to attend. He asked, and came back with a hearty yes, no problem. There were 5 of us. We started with a soup, crab and corn. Clean and fresh. I liked it better with the addition of soy sauce. Then the real treats came out. There was crispy chicken with garlic. It was delicious. The chicken was moist and the flavor went through every bite. The outside had some crushed nuts that enhanced the complex flavors. The Geoduck clam was served two ways. Sashimi which was incredibly fresh, (alive a few minutes earlier) delicately flavored naturally. Sweet and scrumptious. Reminded me of some of the greatest giant clam I have had at the likes of Sushi Nozawa. The other way was cooked salt style. The bites were extremely tender with just the right amount of crunch. The salt brought out the flavor which seemed to never end. The Queen clam was unbelievable. Sweet and tender, plenty large enough and yet I coudn't get enough. Prawns with honey walnut, wow! I would not have thought I would like this but was I wrong. The flavors worked in perfect harmony with eachother. None taking over my tastes. The prawns were cooked perfectly, juicy and tender and definitly not overcooked. The vegetarian fried rice was beautiful in its clarity of cooking, not gumpy or heavy. The flavors of the veg's were delicious and really tasty. You wouldn't think a rice dish should command so many words. The desert was both interesting and delicious. The mango custard with a heavy milk poured over it was just the right amount of sweetness was delicious. The Frog's Oil double boiled in young coconut was interesting. It had unusual textures from the pleasant, jello like to the sweetness of the coconut. I think I will have to develop a taste for this one. Nice but too interesting? I have to report that the service was incredibly attentive and at the same time genuine. They kept changing the plates so that the flavors wouldn't mix. They brought water without ever having to be asked. This is not the way I am used to in a chinese restaurant. I applaud them. This is a Chinese restaurant you have to go to. I suggest you bring your own wine if you want wine. They graciously allowed me to do that. Next time I am going to order in advance the suckling pig. I am sure they will do a spectacular job of it. Go GO GO! Thanks willbear and jkjkjk :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

" Food and Wine Fanatic"

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I have been shpping Oakland Chinatwon for 20+ years both for Chinese and Thai ingeients.

We often shop the Friday Farmer's Market there and pick up some great produce. Caution tese farmers sell fruit to nearby markets as well and prices are lower at the markets for fresh fruit! :rolleyes:

We often pop into Le Cheval for the Claypot for lunch and split it. It is a large portion. If you really want a big treat their Vietnamese Beef 7+ ways is quite a meal!

Walking tour of Cjinatown? If you need help on ID ingredients and stores let me know. I specialize in Thai cuisine and have traveled to Asia and India, etc, 30+ times. We usually spend a month in Nov/Dec. exploring various areas of Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, etc.

Mary-Anne, foodie in Alamo :biggrin::rolleyes:

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Are these picks still the best for Chinese in Oakland or the east bay? I'll be staying downtown at the Marriot, but I'll have a car. I'd especially like Szechuan.

Edited by kiliki (log)

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Are these picks still the best for Chinese in Oakland or the east bay?


My picks for best Cantonese seafood and dim sum in the east bay are:

- Pearl Village

- Saigon Harbor

- Daimo (no dim sum)

They are all in the same mall (Saigon Harbor is right next to that mall) in Richmond, off Central exit on I-80. Only 10 minutes or so from Oakland.

I don't want the hassle of trying to find parking in Oakland.

Hong Kong East Ocean (Emeryville, even closer to Oakland) is also good if you like a view of the bay while dining.

These restaurants are Cantonese specialties, not Sichuan. Though they probably make some Sichuan dishes.

For Sichuan dishes, you can go to San Francisco Richmond district. Along Clement around 6th Ave and 8th, there are Spice I, Spice II (and I heard there is a Spice III???). There is also another Sichuan one on Geary neart the same neighborhood. Haven't tried it though.

I have tried Spice I. I would say the taste is pretty good. The only thing I am not happy about is they give you chicken elbow joints for "Sichuan Chili Chicken".

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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They are all in the same mall (Saigon Harbor is right next to that mall) in Richmond, off Central exit on I-80.

Hi hzrt8w, those are indeed known as good sources for dim-sum. I will add (since you did not mention it) that they are part of a relatively recent "Ranch 99" chain mall development (several of which, many of them older than that one, exist around the Bay Area). Also, what is now (full name) Saigon Seafood Harbor was previously much longer known, for decades, as a venerable independent east-bay restaurant, the White Knight. (Some people still refer to the site as the White Knight.)

Don't slight Oakland's Chinatown! Frankly I'm surprised not to see more about it recently in this thread. The district is right downtown, it specializes in tea houses (i.e., dim sum), and has probably more variety, and demonstrably much more history, than the Richmond / El Cerrito Ranch-99 complex, which also is a few cities away from Oakland. The Chinatown area is roughly bounded by Broadway, Webster, 7th, and 12th. Legendary Palace (7th and Franklin) is considered by some experts, who have compared them repeatedly, to surpass anything around the particular Ranch 99 complex mentioned here.

Of course your tastes may vary. But there's much more to Oakland's Chinatown than just questions of parking (possibly moot anyway depending on time of week, or how close you are staying).

[Edited for a spelling error]

Edited by MaxH (log)

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