3 6 #o a k l a n d l o v e i t
l e f t t o r igh t: n at a n d cody G a n t z , j a k e Wat l i ng
Oakland’s Chinatown is the real deal:
You won’t find any of the typical tourist
trappings here—just authentic culture
and incredible pan-Asian cuisine
This East Oakland neighborhood
has become a
foodie hot spot and is home
to some awesome restaurants.
Two Mammas’ Vegan
Kitchen is a homey cafe that
emphasizes organic and
locally sourced ingredients.
Just down the street, Lucky
Three Seven cooks up delicious
Filipino street fare like
lumpia (meaty fried egg rolls)
and spicy chicken wings. Of
course, no visit to Fruitvale
is complete without Mexican
food. Obelisco Restaurant
serves unpretentious fare,
including a sublime pozole.
For a little more flair, go to
El Taco Zamorano, which
complements your food with
mariachi music played live or
on the jukebox. Or swing by
one of the many food trucks
that populate the surrounding
blocks. One standout
is Pipirin, which serves up
soulful beef barbacoa. Two
Mammas’ Vegan Kitchen,
com; $$. Lucky Three Seven,
2868 Fruitvale Ave., (510)
789-6343; $. Obelisco Restaurant,
restaurant.com; $. El Taco
Zamorano, (510) 536-3146;
$$. Pipirin, corner of 34th
Avenue and Farnam Street; $.
Shandong Restaurant: After more than
25 years, this family-run Oakland institution
has produced enough fat, squiggly
and wonderful noodles to stretch to the
northern province of Shandong and back.
Start with 10 plump Special Shan Dong
Dumplings, designed to dunk in
the restaurant’s savory “secret seven”
sauce. Our favorite dish is the spicy
chicken, expertly pan-fried with whole
red chilies and shaved veggies. The dry
braised green beans are also a must-try,
with bits of caramelized fermented
cabbage, ginger and a pinch of sugar.
Chinatown’s decidedly urban environment
is fascinating, with mythical murals
and open-air shops hawking their goods.
That spirit carries over to Shandong, where
the restaurant’s matriarch often holds
forth at a steamy noodle station by the entrance.
The small dining room is lined with
portable fans to keep you cool (a welcome
touch in case you add one dash too many of
the housemade chili oil or chili sauce). 328
10th St., (510) 839-2299, sd.222.to; $$
This longtime eatery specializing
in classic Cambodian cuisine
snuck into Chinatown and has
been embraced by the locals.
Both the house seafood specialties—
especially the catfish fillet
marinated in lemongrass—and
the vegetarian offerings are not
to be missed. 850 Broadway,
(510) 839-8815, themenupage.
Gourmet Delight: This redlantern
spot serves up terrific dim sum.
As the carts roll by, snag the
har cheong fan (luscious ricenoodle
rolls folded around fresh
shrimp), well-seasoned siu mai
(steamed pork dumplings) and
ham sui gok (fried rice dumplings).
701 Webster St., (510)
Spices 3: A bold and flashy
storefront sets the theme for
this brightly colored restaurant.
Classic Chinese dishes are
modernized with high-quality,
fresh ingredients. Check out the
Gangsta Casserole “Murder Style”
for a spicy kick. 369 12th St., (510)
Suchimu Crib: Shabu-shabu,
or Japanese hot pot, is a growing
craze in the foodie world, and
Suchimu Crib serves it up with
speed, efficiency, great customer
service and unforgettable flavor.
Choose between a meal and all
you can eat. 251 Ninth St., (510)
268-1688, suchimucrib.com; $$$
Tay Ho Restaurant: To get
Tay Ho’s specialty banh cuon—
hand-rolled steamed rice-
noodle rolls—be prepared to
arrive early. The traditional
North Vietnamese street food
is hard to find in America, and
Tay Ho often sells out quickly.
344 12th St., Suite B, (510) 836-
6388, tayho-oakland.com; $$
El Taco Zamorano